In the last five years we have seen a remarkable change in the way researchers discuss cancer and the way that we are all striving for its end. While there has been slow and steady progress against the disease since the war on cancer was declared in 1971, the conversation has now shifted from aims to means, discussing the very real possibility of turning cancer into a chronic disease, rather than a deadly one. This means that one day soon, you might manage your cancer just as you monitor diabetes or high blood pressure.
As we have unraveled the genetic traits and triggers for cancer, we have begun to hope that this might one day be a reality. We have found similarities in the way cancers are constructed and in the way they propagate; major advances have been made in pinpointing the mechanics of metastasis and identifying why one person develops cancer when another does not.
Today, recent developments allowing us to turn the immune system into a cancer-fighting machine suggests real possibilities for controlling cancer. Our ability to compare genetic data from more and more cancer sufferers and from the population at large means that we are getting better and faster at knowing how to identify disease early and know who needs screening when.
These developments show real promise. And while we have always hoped that we would see a day when cancer was defeated, the science we fund with your contributions now promises real gains in the ways we catch, contain and finally conquer cancer.