Monday, February 12, 2007

Will there ever be a cure for cancer? Excusing the syntax in the title of this blog post, the writer seems to think there might be.

When considering the question of cancer, it seems to me that there are basically two things to think about. I do know that when the human body is working properly we usually don’t get cancer. When the body’s defenses break down, as when we age, then we get more cancers. If we could find some way to boost those defenses, then we would have fewer cancers.

But sometimes we are attacked by something to which we have no defense, something like the human papillomavirus (HPV). It doesn’t matter how healthy we are, if HPV strikes us it is very likely that we will get sick. Some vaccines can prevent things like HPV, and perhaps some targeted therapies can eliminate some cancers as well.

Now that I think about it, there are other things that increase our risk of cancer. Some of our lifestyle – perhaps obesity, as an example – increases our risk. Then there are things in the environment, manmade toxins that give us cancer or increase our risk.

When you start thinking about all the different ways you can get cancer, it is easy to become discouraged. There’s no way we can cover them all here. People write entire books on subjects like these.

So will there ever be a cure for cancer? I don’t know, but I am very hopeful that there will someday be a cure for most cancers and that people will live longer, healthier lives.

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