Research shows that up to 50% of cancer cases and 50% of cancer deaths are preventable.
It is tempting to be disappointed in the advances in cancer treatments and cures (“Watch the Hype: Cancer Treatment Still Has Far to Go,” Review, March 19). Scientific breakthroughs can never happen fast enough or frequently enough when lives are on the line. But we have made significant advances by discovering the power of cancer prevention and early detection.
Research shows that up to 50% of cancer cases and 50% of cancer deaths are preventable. Melvin Konner names the vaccine for human papillomavirus the “biggest recent advance” because it can prevent most cases of cervical cancers. Further research into the HPV vaccine shows that it can also prevent at least five other types of cancer. In addition, we’ve discovered that most liver cancers are caused by hepatitis B or C. There’s a vaccine available for hepatitis B, as well as screening and treatment for hepatitis C. By preventing or treating these viruses, we can stop 80% to 95% of liver cancer cases from occurring.