Introduction: Hard to beat cancers: when can we expect progress?


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Herbie Newell
Northern Institute for Cancer Research, University of Newcastle, UK

Abstract

Although there have been significant advances in the management of many forms of cancer and mortality rates for cancer overall are dropping, despite an increase in the incidence of the disease driven largely by greater longevity, progress has not been universal.  Amongst the fifteen most common cancers three stand out as being diseases that have remained stubbornly resistant to improvements in management, i.e. lung, oesophageal and pancreatic cancer: the 2nd, 9th and 11th most common forms of malignancy, respectively. Reflecting the poor prognosis of patients with these forms of cancer, annual incidence and mortality rates are similar.  Furthermore, with the exception of lung cancer deaths in males where smoking cessation is having a significant impact, mortality rates have changed little over the past 10 years.  Indeed, deaths from pancreatic cancer in women have increased by 11% over the period 1998-2007.  This symposium will hear from 3 world-leaders in clinical and translational research who have dedicated their careers to improving the outlook of patients with these hard to beat cancers.