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New Horizons In Cancer Treatments

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This content has been reviewed by the National Cancer Institute for accuracy and completeness.

While significant progress has been made in treating cancer since 1971 when President Nixon declared a "war on cancer," it still remains the second leading cause of death among Americans and may overtake cardiac deaths by 2010.

Number of Cases:

More than 1.2 million Americans develop cancer each year, with a new cancer diagnosed every 30 seconds in the United States. Since 1990, nearly 15 million new cancer cases have been diagnosed, excluding most carcinoma in situ (non-invasive cancer) and basal and squamous cell skin cancers.


Based on estimates of the National Institutes of Health, overall costs for cancer in the year 2000 were $180.2 billion: $60 billion for direct medical costs (total of all health expenditures); $15 billion for indirect morbidity costs (cost of lost productivity due to illness); and $105.2 billion for indirect mortality costs (cost of lost productivity due to premature death). This represents about 10 percent of the total amount spent on disease treatment in the United States.


The major modes of treatment for cancer remain, as they were in 1971 - surgery, radiation and non-targeted chemotherapy.

Yet, in the past fifteen years significant technology breakthroughs have enabled a rapid increase in understanding cancer at the molecular level. This is leading to many new approaches to treatment.


Several of the more promising treatment approaches are described here:

Personalized Medicine
Recently Diagnosed
Cancer 101




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