Topics » Health   Dec. 22, 2011

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

A Wildfire?

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Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/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 Wildfire?

Many of the nation's top oncology experts feel the "War on Cancer" metaphor has grown outdated and overused. Here are some of their ideas for a new framework. Dr. Ralph deVere White, director of the UC Davis Cancer Center in Sacramento, says: "I think we should look at this like a wildfire. The first thing you do in a wildfire is contain it and then you go to put it out. At the moment, we're in the containment phase. We're increasing the standard of living for those with cancer, decreasing infections. But the numbers of people who still develop and die from cancer remain staggering. Often, if you don't maintain your water tankers and occasionally bring more in, it could start to break your lines of defense. We now know more about cancer than in the past 19 centuries. We need to increase our efforts to make sure we are maintaining containment and at the same time try to learn more about the fire so we can put it out."

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