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    50 Years of Milestones in the Fight Against Cancer

    Today people can live for years with some forms of cancer; other forms of cancer can be cured.
    WebMD Feature
    Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

    For every milestone in cancer research, there are countless men and women to thank. Through their creativity and dogged determination, people have hope in preventing, living with, even curing some forms of cancer.

    Here are just a few of the milestones in the war on cancer, and some of the researchers who made them:

    Recommended Related to Prostate Cancer

    Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Prevention

    There is no evidence that you can prevent prostate cancer. But you may be able to lower your risk. A diet that helps maintain a healthy weight may reduce your risk for prostatecancer. The American Cancer Society recommends: Limiting high-fat foods Cutting back on red meats, especially processed meats such as hot dogs, bologna, and certain lunch meats Eating at least 2-1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables each day Healthy food choices also include bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and beans...

    Read the Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Prevention article > >

    Study shows first link between smoking and lung cancer.

    Researcher finds that the male hormone testosterone and the female hormone estrogen drive the growth of prostate and breast cancers, respectively. Research receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1966. Learn more about the causes of
    prostate and breast cancer.

    Scientist develops
    5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a chemotherapy drug used to treat many cancers. It is a first-line treatment for colon cancer.

    Scientist discovers growth factors; substances that can help tumors grow. Research wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986.

    Cancer Prevention Study I begins. Study will eventually be the first to link cigarette smoking to early death from lung cancer.

    American Cancer Society advocates widespread use of the
    Pap smear . This simple test results in more than a 70% decrease in deaths from cervical and uterine cancers.


    Judah Folkman, MD, of Harvard University discovers that tumors create a network of blood vessels to bring them oxygen so they can grow. He calls this process angiogenesis.

    Henry Lynch, MD, describes the first
    hereditary cancer family syndrome .

    Surgeon General announces that cigarette smoking is definitely linked to cancer.

    The first cancer-causing gene, or oncogene, is discovered.

    Also during the '70s:
    A handful of forward-thinking surgeons say that
    simple mastectomy -- removal of only the breast itself -- is just as effective as a radical mastectomy.

    Surgeons begin studying lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy as an alternative to radical mastectomy.

    Among those visionary breast cancer researchers: Bernard Fisher, MD, director of the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, and Umberto Veronesi, MD, researcher with the European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy. Both launched long-term studies of these techniques.

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