The Importance of Cancer Research Essay

A number of deaths from cancer continue to increase each year. Cancer is a disease has touched every family at least once. It is a disease that can kill you in a matter of years or months. There are several different types of cancer, some of which both men and women can be diagnosed with and some of which only one sex can actually be diagnosed with. Today researchers are finding more and more advances into what causes cancer. Cancer research remains the most important scientific work today. Without cancer research, the disease would kill far more people than it does today.

Research enables people to know as much as possible about the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. Cancer usually comes from the formation of a tumor. Tumors form in the body when cells are produced unnecessarily. That is to say, that new cells are formed when they are not needed, and they group together to form a tumor. The tumor can be benign, which means that it is non-cancerous, or it can be malignant, which means that it is cancerous. If cells break away from a malignant tumor, they will enter the bloodstream, and spread throughout the body, damaging other parts of the body.

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Cancer research milestones date back to the 1940’s. In 1947, Dr. Sidney Farber discovered a successful form of chemotherapy when he was able to achieve remission in childhood leukemia. This was a milestone in cancer research because chemotherapy is still one of the main forms of treatment used today to battle cancer. After over half a decade, chemotherapy is still an essential part of cancer treatment. Some doctors believe it is almost time for targeted therapies like gene therapy and cancer vaccines to be perfected and replace chemotherapy as the main form of cancer treatment.

Cancer screening research is just as important as discovering drugs that can effectively kill cancer cells. If precancerous cells can be detected cancer will never have the opportunity to take over organs. The first cancer screening breakthrough came in the 1950’s when George Papanicolaou discovered the pap tests which he created could detect cervical cancer. From the moment Papanicolaou discovered cervical cancer could be detected early on by his pap test, cervical cancer cases decreased anywhere from 75%-90% from then to current day.

More drugs and diagnostic tests were created in the 2000’s and they will continue to be researched. The percentages of mortality rates and cancer cases continue to decline, slowly. Five year survival rates are also improving. More and more children who make it five years past diagnosis are going on to live full lives. If the trend continues and breakthroughs continue to be made in cancer research, cancer will no longer be looked at as a death sentence. The hard work of doctors and researchers are leading toward cancer being a treatable and beatable disease.