Originally published February 4, 2018

by Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO

Each year on World Cancer Day, an initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control, leading organizations from around the world and ASCO join together in a global campaign to raise awareness of cancer.

In a very simple sense, the problem of cancer is fundamental to the existence of humans.

This assertion is based on biology—the structure and function of genes and their interactions with our environment over the course of a lifetime. It is fair to say that for all eternity we will have to confront the possibility of malignancy and the need for effective treatment.

On the other hand, the advances in treatment and prevention we have made over the past century (a virtual blink of the eye in the history of humankind) suggest that the decades and centuries ahead will see unimaginable and dramatic changes in the meaning and implication of malignancies for individuals and for society. As science advances, no longer must a diagnosis of cancer be a life-changing event. Of course, there are already cancers that are rightly seen that way, but for too many this remains a dream.

Hence, on World Cancer Day 2018, the third year under the “We Can, I Can” theme, we are reminded that we can’t simply wait for the better future when there is so much to do right now.

Read more in ASCO Connection, which has also featured the following perspectives from ASCO leaders on World Cancer Day: