The earliest known instance of cancer in humans was recorded in fossils dating back nearly 2 million years. Three thousand years ago, ancient Egyptians made references to cancer, and even carcinoma, a specific type of cancer, was mentioned in Ancient Greece. Despite knowing about and researching cancer for thousands upon thousands of years, there is still no Cancer Cure. The reason why is complicated.
First and foremost, cancer isn’t just one disease- it’s a family of related diseases, making treating and eradicating it very difficult. Adding to that level of difficulty is the fact everyone has cancer cells in their bodies at all times and our immune systems recognize them as our own cells. It’s only when there is an overgrowth that the immune system gets overwhelmed.
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Since cancer cells contain mostly our own DNA, the body can be tricked into feeding and growing them. The differences in the types of growth also make treatment difficult- each type of cancer has its own specific course of treatment. Therefore, curing cancer would have to mean a major breakthrough in modern medicine that could identify and treat all cancers the same way.
One of the biggest breakthroughs in cancer diagnosis has been DNA detection, and as this technique is refined and honed, detecting cancer will get easier and will be able to be done sooner. Some day blood tests will be able to detect cancer growth before it becomes symptomatic, and early treatment will be easier and more effective.
Vaccines are being developed to prevent certain types of cancer, and already the cervical cancer vaccine has prevented numerous cancer cases. Other emerging treatments include immunotherapy and targeted therapies. These treatments have the possibility of treating the cancer in a way that is gentler to the patient.
Until these new treatments are perfected, there are some lifestyle changes that can enhance your health and lead to fewer instances of cancer. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is thought to impede cancer growth, and being healthy before getting a diagnosis increases your chances of survival. Less than 15% of cancers are purely hereditary, so many are lifestyle based. Eating healthier, exercising, and avoiding known carcinogens can go a long way toward your ultimate survival until we have a Cancer Cure.
Learn more about there isn’t a cure for cancer from this infographic. Who knows- maybe a cure is on the horizon!