October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center

A report by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) details decades in progress against cancer since the National Cancer Act became law in 1971, launching the National Cancer Institute and the “War on Cancer.”

The report laid out some of the progress researchers have achieved against cancer over the last 40 years. Key areas include:

–    The discovery of more than 290 genes related to cancer, its growth, and what happens when the body’s ability to repair damaged cells goes off course, possibly leading to tumor growth.

–    Early detection through routine screening has helped increase the survival rate for many cancers. Screening recommendations have helped push the five-year survival rate to above 90% for cervical, breast, and prostate cancers, when they are detected early.

–    Improvements and advances in chemotherapy have driven up survival rates of other cancers, including lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and testicular cancers.

–    Advances in genetics have given rise to an entirely new class of cancer drugs that can go after tumors while sparing surrounding healthy cells.

–    Genetic testing has given doctors and patients more tools in understanding cancer risks.

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