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In 1961 John F. Kennedy pledged to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Nine years later, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Ten years later, Richard Nixon echoed this pledge by declaring a 'war' on cancer. More than 30 years later, however, cancer remains one of the largest causes of death worldwide, with around 1 in 3 developing the disease. Curing cancer is not 'rocket science', but the question is, why has cancer proved to be harder to tackle than the moon landings turned out to be? Cancer research is a major economic activity. There are constant improvements in treatment techniques that result in better cure rates and increased quality and quantity of life for those with the disease, yet stories of breakthroughs in a cure for cancer are often in the media. In this Very Short Introduction Nick James, founder of the CancerHelp UK website, examines the trends in diagnosis and treatment of the disease, as well as its economic consequences. Asking what cancer is and what causes it,
Oxford University Press
May 26, 2011
About the author
Nick James is Professor of Clinical Oncology at the University of Birmingham. He has a long standing interest in communication of information to patients and founded the CancerHelp UK website in 1994 (www.cancerhelp.org.uk), now one of the largest patient websites in the world and the winner of many awards. He has written numerous research papers as well as a large number of contributions to multi-author text books and key review articles.