Building on this year’s report related to patients in the United States, even more work is needed to accelerate the pace of progress worldwide.
—Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP
Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, President of ASCO, commented recently on the Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, co-authored by the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
Significant Advances Against Difficult Cancers
“Our mission at ASCO is to conquer cancer and the Annual Report to the Nation demonstrates the progress we are making. The continuing decrease in overall cancer death rates is a clear indicator that our societal investments are paying off, in particular for those patients with cancers that have been traditionally most challenging to treat, such as lung cancer.
These improvements in lung cancer survival specifically can be attributed to better supportive care and new drugs, some based on exciting advances in molecular biology made possible by the research infrastructure we have built and supported over the years. The successful translation of these findings into clinically relevant treatments has been possible only because of decades of clinical trials that led to significant advances in targeted therapies in lung and a number of other cancers. At the same time, the availability of effective screening options for those at high risk for developing lung cancer may yield even greater reductions in mortality—by finding more patients with early stage, curable disease—in the coming years.”
Prevention A Key to Future Progress
Even better than treatment is prevention when possible. As we approach the 50th anniversary of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health, we are reminded that tobacco control remains the most important tool to further decrease global lung cancer and overall cancer mortality rates. However, increasingly we must focus on other effective prevention strategies, including, for example, vaccination against some viral infections and energy balance, as obesity-associated cancers represent a growing challenge. Building on this year’s report related to patients in the United States, even more work is needed to accelerate the pace of progress worldwide.” ■