It might seem to many like one of those issues that might never have a chance of being solved. It’s the subject of worldwide attention, yet it’s still a threat, fatal and otherwise, to huge swathes of our population. Estimates have gone from saying that 1 in 5 people will be diagnosed with cancer in their life to 1 in 2. As rates of the disease are on the rise, what’s the latest progress medicine has to offer in the fight against cancer?

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Better understanding of carcinogens

This might be one of the ways we’re seeing the most obvious progression in understanding cancer. We are newly discovering new sources of carcinogens every day. As people become more aware, it promotes alternative lifestyle habits that can play a big role in reducing our risk of getting the diagnosis. When carcinogens include everything from charred meats to wood dust, it might seem hard to live a life avoiding them. But healthier living, including less reliance on processed foods, can make a huge difference.

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Better drug trials

Beyond removal of tumors and radio/chemotherapy, drugs are our main weapon in fighting cancer and they are constantly being developed. Nowadays, evolving practices like preclinical molecular imaging improve drug trials by making it a lot easier to see the reactions of our body to new drugs. This can help us not only measure effectiveness but is playing a crucial role in one of the most important fights in cancer treatment right now. It helps us better spot and fix resistance to those drugs.

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The weapons our bodies need

While we’re looking for ways to circumvent our body’s resistance to cancer treating drugs, we’re also beginning to understand that it might be perhaps the very best means we have of curing cancer for good. Immunotherapy is a field of study in treatment that has garnered a lot of attention recently. It’s the means by which we improve our body’s immunity, teaching it to target cancer as it would any viral disease. Already, we’ve seen successful tests like the treatment at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center that completely eradicated any signs of lymphoma in a patient’s body.

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The growing awareness

This is the part of the fight that everyone should be involved in. Cancer awareness isn’t just knowing about the dangers, but it’s also helping people spot and catch the symptoms earlier, which almost always means they have a better chance of treating it and making a full recovery. From self-examination tips for men and women to raising awareness of the many research centers that can use financial support, efforts to improve our understanding of the fight against cancer is crucial. Social media, wide-spread volunteering events, donations, wearing your support in ribbons, and simply talking all play a role.

1 in 2 might be a very scary figure, but we’re seeing progress in fields all around the treatment of cancer. From more sophisticated research to new forms of treatment and even growing awareness. We are turning the tide in the fight against cancer.