World Cancer Day
World Cancer Day: Celebrating Progress and Advancing the Fight
02.04.14 | By Josephine Martin
Today, on World Cancer Day, we celebrate the remarkable progress that’s been made in the fight against a devastating disease that has touched all of us. The fact that there has been a 20 percent decrease in the cancer death rate since its peak in 1991 is encouraging news, but more than one million people are diagnosed with cancer in the United States every year and we need to keep working to turn more of these patients into survivors.
Fortunately, there are more than 3,000 drugs in development for cancer around the world today. Of those, about 80 percent are for medicines that have the potential to be first-in-class treatments, offering hope to patients with unmet needs.
It is vital to understand that the research and innovation surrounding cancer – including drugs in development – happen through incremental scientific steps rather than giant leaps. Just look at the survival rate among children with cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the rate has increased from less than 50 percent before the 1970s to 80 percent today – made possible through the numerous cancer medicines developed over the last few decades that have built upon our growing knowledge of the disease. This knowledge, in turn, will help us continue to refine and develop new pediatric cancer treatments in the years to come.
In addition to the innovative vaccines and therapies that our member companies are dedicated to discovering, there is another key player in the fight against cancer – each one of us.
According to a new World Health Organization report, half of all cancers are preventable and could be avoided if individuals subscribe to current medical knowledge. It goes to show that we can also help one another in the fight against cancer by addressing lifestyle factors, including smoking, diet and exercise, as well as following screening (e.g. mammograms and colonoscopies) and vaccination (e.g. cervical and liver cancer) recommendations.
We encourage you to learn more about World Cancer Day and share your thoughts with us.