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Nelson Mandela: A life in pictures
Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) — Deaths from cancer have dropped by more than a million in the past two decades, driven by science that opened new ways to prevent, detect and treat the disease, according to a report by researchers. An aging population could change that trend.
Almost 14 million people alive in the U.S. today are cancer survivors, according to the American Association for Cancer Research’s Cancer Progress Report 2013. The AACR, the world’s largest cancer research organization, also warns that continued funding for research is crucial as worldwide rates of cancer are expected to rise to 22.2 million patients in 2030 from 12.8 million in 2008, they said.
“There’s going to be an increasing number of cancers because the population is aging,” said Giuseppe Giaccone, an associate director for clinical research at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, in a Sept. 16 telephone interview. “There really should be continued support for research in cancer. This is the only way you can get continued results in the future. To do this kind of research is expensive but there’s no other way.”
Cancer is the No. 2 killer in the U.S. behind cardiovascular disease. This year, more than 580,000 people are expected to die and another 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with the disease, the authors said. The majority of those diagnosed with the disease are ages 55 and older.
Investments in cancer research have resulted in cutting the rate of many of the more than 200 types of cancers and better quality of life and longer lives for people whose malignancies can’t be prevented or cured, the authors wrote. For instance, survival rates for breast cancer for women and acute lymphocytic leukemia for children have increased to 90 percent or more since the mid-1970s, they said.
The National Cancer Institute, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is one of many federal agencies that fund cancer research along with state and local governments, voluntary organizations, private institutes and corporations.
The agency’s fiscal-year 2013 budget was $4.8 billion, down $293 million from fiscal-year 2012 mainly on U.S. spending cuts called sequestration, according to its website. In fiscal year 2012, the latest year data is available, the cancer institute spent about $5 billion on cancer research. Cancers of the breast, colon, lung and prostate garnered the most funding, the agency said.
Giaccone said over the past two to three decades the most advances have been in prevention and early diagnosis of cancer, particularly disease of the cervix, breast and colon. More recently, research has shown that imaging scans of the lungs may help detect lung cancer earlier, he said.
Better studies are needed to understand how to more accurately use screening tools to target those most at-risk for disease to help reduce overdiagnosis and overtreatment, the report said.
Many cancers are preventable. More than half of all cancers occur because of preventable causes including obesity, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and exposure to ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds or direct sunlight. More studies are needed to better understand ways to help people change their lifestyle, the report said.
“One person will die of cancer every minute of every day this year. This is unacceptable,” said Charles Sawyers, president of the Philadelphia-based AACR and chairman of the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program at Memorial Sloan- Kettering Cancer Center in New York, in a statement. “If we are to accelerate the pace of progress toward our goal, we must continue to pursue a comprehensive understanding of the biology of cancer. This will only be possible if we make funding for cancer research and biomedical science a national priority.”
Between September 2012 and August 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved 11 new drugs to treat a variety of malignancies, including GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Tafinlar and Mekinist for skin cancer, Bayer AG and Algeta ASA’s Xofigo for advanced prostate cancer, Roche Holding AG and ImmunoGen Inc.’s breast cancer therapy Kadcyla and Pfizer Inc.’s Bosulif for leukemia. The agency also allowed new uses for previously approved cancer drugs, including Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s cancer treatment Stivarga for a rare type of stomach tumor.
Three new imaging technologies were also approved over that time period, the paper said.
“Basic research remains very important,” Giaccone said. “You need money to do that. There’s still a lot to learn.”
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Nelson Mandela and his wife Winnie in this undated file picture.
Mandela is accompanied by his former wife Winnie, moments after his release from prison February 11, 1990 after serving 27 years in jail. (Reuters)
In this February, 1990 photo, shortly after his release from 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela, gives the black power salute to the 120,000 supporters packing Soccer City stadium in Soweto, near Johannesburg. (AP Photo)
Nelson Mandela showed his passport in February 19, 1990, shortly after his release from prison. The South African government authorized an application for himself and his wife Winnie - (Juda Ngwenya / Reuters)
In this July 27, 1991 photo, Cuban President Fidel Castro, and Nelson Mandela gesture during the celebration of the "Day of the Revolution" in Matanzas, Cuba. (AP Photo)
In this July 4, 1993 photo, President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela listen during Fourth of July ceremonies in Philadelphia during which Clinton presented the Philadelphia Liberty Medal to the African National Congress president and South African President F.W. de Klerk. (AP Photo/Greg Gibson)
President of the African National Congress Nelson Mandela acknowledges cheers from the crowd as he prepares to unveil the ANC's official election platform in 1994. (AP Photo/David Brauchli)
African National Congress (ANC) leader Nelson Mandela greeted residents of Mmabatho in March 1994, during a visit after the nominal homeland came under South African control following the ousting of the former President Lucas Mangope. (Reuters/Howard Burditt)
South African President Nelson Mandela smiles with actor Sidney Poitier at a press conference in Cape Town in 1996. Poitier played Mandela in the film "One Man, One Vote" (AP Photo / Sasa Kralj)
South African President Nelson Mandela waves to crowds as he sits next to Queen Elizabeth II in a an open carriage on the way to Buckingham Palace.(AP/Louisa Buller)
Chairman of the Constitutional Assembly Cyril Ramaphosa, left, holds up a copy of the country's constitution which was signed by President Nelson Mandela, in December 1996. (AP Photo / Adil Bradlow / POOL)
Nelson Mandela at a news conference in Johannesburg in February 2000. (AP Photo / Denis Farrell)
South African rugby captain Francois Pienaar, right, received the Rugby World Cup trophy from President Nelson Mandela also wearing a South African rugby shirt, after South Africa defeated New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup , in 1995. (AP Photo / Ross Setford)