The deadline is 2020, but the outcome is far from clear. In some instances, we seem to be going backward. For instance, the target for cervical cancer screening is 93% of those who should be screened. In 2008, it was 84.4%. In 2010, it was 83.9%.
Good news: Overall death rates for all childhood and adolescent cancers declined by more than 50% since 1975. Bad news: Survivors are vulnerable to a host of problems as they get older. For instance, some who’ve overcome Hodgkin’s lymphoma have an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
The key is measuring chemotherapy agents’ efficacy based on aptosis — cell death — as reflected by cells’ changing optical density. A new test produces a report that shows the sensitivity of tumor cells to therapy. The technology may allow individually selected older therapies to become the therapies of the future.