Health Matters

Research Continues To Drive Advances Against Cancer


(NAPSI)—It may seem surprising but there’s actually good news in the fight against cancer.

According to the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) annual Cancer Progress Report, this year alone saw 27 new cancer treatments—the highest number ever reported in the Cancer Progress Report; a record high number of U.S. cancer survivors—more than 16.9 million; and the benefit of increasing federal investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Among the new treatments are:

1. The first molecularly targeted therapeutic approved for treating cancers with a specific genetic biomarker regardless of the type of cancer; and

2. The first immunotherapeutic for use in the treatment of breast cancer.

For example, 63-year-old Keith Taggart had salivary gland cancer and was told surgery could no longer help. He was offered a clinical trial testing a new targeted treatment. After he took a single larotrectinib (Vitrakvi) pill twice a day for four weeks, CT scans showed that all but one tumor had gone and the one left had shrunk by 65 percent. Over time, it continued to shrink, and has been undetectable for about 2 years.

Then there’s 72-year-old Eva Joseph. She was in a clinical trial testing an immunotherapy and chemotherapy combination as a treatment for patients with stage 4 triple-negative breast cancer. She says “this new immunotherapy is providing hope for people who thought they had no chance to live, and it only came about because of cancer research and the hard work and money that supported it.”

“Over the past few decades, a surge in scientific discovery and technological innovation has allowed us to make unparalleled progress against cancer,” explains Dr. Elaine Mardis, President of AACR. “Robust annual increases in federal funding for medical research will pave the way for the next major breakthroughs that will transform patient care.”

The report also emphasizes, however, that despite this extraordinary progress against cancer, the disease continues to pose enormous public health challenges:

• The number of new cancer cases in the United States is predicted to rise to more than 2.3 million in 2040.

• The number of high-school and middle-school students using e-cigarettes, has jumped 78 percent and 49 percent from 2017 to 2018, respectively.

• Obesity is responsible for about 8 percent of cancer cases among U.S. adults age 30 and older, and its prevalence is rising.

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