Cancer’s Week in the Spotlight

Cancer has been in the news a lot this week. We learned that two pop-culture artists – David Bowie and Alan Rickman – lost their battles with cancer. It’s a stark contrast to the news we heard last month about President Jimmy Carter, who has had a positive treatment response to his melanoma, according to news reports.

As MRA’s founder, Debra Black, and President and CEO-Elect, Robin Davisson, penned in USA Today recently, the number of new treatments available for patients like Mr. Carter has grown rapidly in the last few years. And therapies that have been pioneered in melanoma are showing benefit for many other types of cancer. But there is no time for complacency.

While we don’t know details about the cancers that took the lives of Bowie and Rickman, their deaths underscore the breadth and devastation of this disease. They also highlight the need to focus our resources and collective efforts to address cancer.

But even factoring in optimistic expectations, experts agree that we are nowhere near curing or conquering this disease for all patients. The ongoing need for research is still extremely compelling. – Debra Black and Robin Davisson, in USA Today

On Tuesday, in the State of the Union address, President Obama announced a new initiative to coordinate national efforts to fight cancer. Vice President Biden, who lost his son to cancer last year, will spearhead the effort, Moonshot Initiative to Cure Cancer, which he explains on Medium.

While the goals are lofty and there won’t be one cure-all for cancer, many organizations have come out in support of this effort, including the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. As President Obama said in his State of the Union Speech: “For the loved ones we’ve all lost, for the family we can still save, let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all.”

 

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