20th Anniversary: 1993 vs. 2013
It’s safe to say that not much is the same from 1993 to 2013. I remember how rare it was to see a car phone and now we are surprised when someone doesn’t own a smartphone. The field of cancer- prevention, research, treatment– is no exception.
For example, in 1993 the NIH Act of Revitalization mandated that women and minority groups must be a part of all federally funded clinical trials with few exceptions. Think about what cancer research was like when women and minorities were severely underrepresented in studies, and then the impact that this had on what we know about cancer.
With cancer, we often hear of the 5 year survival rate. Since 1993, the 5-year cancer survival rate for all cancers has increased significantly. This has a lot to do with the fact that more cancers are diagnosed in early stages where they are generally most treatable.
Speaking of treatment- Targeted therapies that block the growth or spread of cancer by interfering with a specific molecule is the direction of cancer treatment in 2013. In 1993 this was conceptual. Now, at least 50 targeted therapies have been approved for in-cancer therapies or are being tested. Precision (molecularly-based) treatment is becoming the norm in 2013.
As a non-science person, this next piece of information is something that I’m really excited about. The number of Board Certified oncologists in the USA has nearly increased by 50% since 1993. These are doctors specifically trained to treat cancer. Here’s a big shout-out to all of those kids in science class!
Finally, in our look at 1993 vs. 2013, I’m going to give a little tug at your heart. Today, the majority of children with cancer survive. Check out this great graph from St. Jude Children’s Hospital and see the current survival rates of children with cancer. I think we are making great progress!
It’s great to see how far we have come in the past 20 years- in The V Foundation’s lifetime. Here’s to the next 20 years!
Information for this post was taken from the NCI, NIH, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.