Fighting the Good Fight: 5 Major Cancer Research Milestones
National Cancer Survivor’s Day is an annual event, observed the first Sunday in June. This day seeks to celebrate those who have beat cancer, inspire those who are fighting cancer, support families with loved ones who have been diagnosed, and an opportunity to reach out to the community. Whether you have battled cancer yourself, are a medical professional, or have a loved one who has passed from cancer, there is a way for you to participate in this special day.
Cancer is a terrible disease but science has come a long way in its treatment and cures. We are celebrating National Cancer Survivor’s Day by reflecting on the five greatest advances in cancer research, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (source)
29th Annual National Cancer Survivor’s Day June 5, 2016
5 greatest advances in cancer research
Chemotherapy Cures Hodgkin Lymphoma (1965)
Before 1965 cancer was mostly treated with surgery or radiation and chemotherapy was thought to do more harm than good. But in 1965 Dr. DeVita, Jr. and his colleagues at the National Institute of Health developed combination chemotherapies that increased remission rates in patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma from 0 to 80%. Today, Hodgkin lymphoma cure rates are as high as 90%.
Vaccine Approved To Prevent Cervical Cancer (2006)
In 2006, just 10 years ago, the FDA approved a vaccine that helps protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine was the first ever to protect against a cancer and works by building immunity against the STD human papillomavirus (HPV). Research has shown that infection from HPV can cause other cancers including cervical, vaginal, and penile. The vaccine was first approved for use on young women, but is now recommended for young men too. Today, cervical cancer is considered one of the most preventable cancers, in large part to the vaccines.
Targeted Drug Transforms Treatment For Rare Leukemia (2001)
Imatinib was approved by the FDA in 2001 to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare form of leukemia. The introduction of imatinib gave hope to patients suffering from CML. The typical patient had a three-to-five year life expectancy. Imatinib has turned the short survival rate into a manageable, chronic long-term. Since its introduction, imatinib has also proven to be effective against other cancers.
New Treatment Cures Men With Testicular Cancer (1977)
In 1977, Dr. Lawrence Einhorn and his colleagues reported that a using new chemotherapy regimen, named PVB, resulted in complete remission for 75% of men who were diagnosed with aggressive testicular cancer. Previous chemotherapy treatments helped only 5% of the time. PVB also gave unheard of five-year survival rates of 64%. Before this breakthrough, 90% percent of men who were diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer died within a year. Now, more than 90% of men with the disease are cured. (source)
Powerful Anti-Nausea Drugs Alleviate Major Side Effect of Cancer Treatment (1991)
Cancer treatments are notorious for causing harsh side effects, including severe nausea. In 1991 an anti-nausea drug known as Zofran was approved by the FDA. The drug helps reduce vomiting in patients who had undergone cisplatin chemotherapy. Similar drugs were approved shortly after, allowing chemotherapy patients to receive treatment in an outpatient setting and less disruption to their regular routines. (source)
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