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Cancer: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We've made great progress since President Nixon declared war on cancer 30 years ago, but can the war be won?

Summing It All Up

"President Richard Nixon declared war against cancer about 30 years ago, and we were woefully lacking in biology of cancer and how it worked, we thought it was one disease, and I think only in the last five years that we are starting to understand that the biology of tumors are quite different," City of Hope's Morgan says. "It turned out to be a lot more complicated than we thought, but we are heading to a much broader understanding of biology.

"I'd have to give us a C-plus/B-minus in treating advanced cancer because we still have to use a lot of toxic treatments to obtain good results and we still don't have anything to cure cancer, but we are clearly improving," he says. "For new agent development, we get a B-plus, and for understanding the biology of cancer, we also get a B-plus, "he says. "For screening, we get a B because we have good screening tools for colon, breast, and our effort is clearly an A, but we could use more funding for prevention."

However, "we haven't received an A in anything except in certain types of cancer," he says.

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Reviewed on August 17, 2005

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