Topics » Health   Dec. 22, 2011

If It's Not a War on Cancer, What Is It?

A Tide?

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Photo: Tim Graham/Getty Images

A Wildfire?A Tide?A Fight for Peace?Our Moonshot Moment?A Battle With Love?A Team Sport?A Multi-Fronted War?

A Tide?

Elizabeth Blackburn, UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics and former president of the American Association for Cancer Research: "The idea of cancer as a tide really captures the thought that cancer is a huge, looming thing that's only going to become more prevalent in our aging population. And with a tide, there's this idea that there's a definitive moment when it turns. With cancer, we need to help that along and find ways to help turn the tide by preventing some of these cancers as well as treat the ones that have already shown up. A 'tide' also captures the idea that in a broad way, we're really starting to see another major turning point -- a big revolution in terms of now being able to treat cancer in a very informed, personalized way. That's never been true until really recently. So the tide of cancer is advancing, but these kinds of treatments are allowing us to turn that back from the much more toxic methods used in the past."

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Photo Essay