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Care to Click: The cancer blog

The Cancer Moonshot - Not such a moonshot after all!

Cancer MoonshotWith just a few short days left in 2016, what better time to reflect? Families and individuals are gearing up for the new year and many use this time to navigate how they will “better” themselves come January 1. Americans have created a culture that is constantly seeking improvement - whether that’s expressed in self improvement or in taking on the seemingly impossible feat, to cure cancer. In instilling this culture, we have fostered advancements that previous generations couldn’t have predicted. America has berthed an impressive list of accomplishments this year but one of its most profound is the Cancer Moonshot.
Nearly one year ago today, President Barack Obama announced the establishment of the Cancer Moonshot; whose goal at inception was to create therapies available to more patients while improving our ability to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage. With 2017 right around the corner it’s time to celebrate the Cancer Moonshot’s milestones and impact.
One of the Cancer Moonshot’s most notable advancements is the mainstreamed accessibility to clinical trials and the availability of their outcomes and information. More patients and doctors have access to information about these progressive treatments so they can make informed decisions about future cancer patients’ treatment plans. These advances have been particularly valuable within rare cancer communities. Since rare cancers affect so few individuals their respective treatment plans can vary drastically. Treatments are often pioneered on case by case bases which is why giving access to the medical information surrounding them is absolutely paramount to creating cures.
The rare cancer mesothelioma is a prime example of a niche within the rare disease community that has already directly benefited from this initiative. Mesothelioma is typically found within the lungs and is caused by exposure to asbestos. This is a peculiar cancer because it has a latency period that can last upwards of ten years after exposure. Mesothelioma typically affects a very small amount of individuals in the US; usually 2,000 - 3,000 are diagnosed annually. With such a small sample size the data collected in every clinical trial is crucial to advances toward a cure. A mesothelioma prognosis typically yields no more than a few months to live even coupled with aggressive treatment. Fortunately, the Cancer Moonshot facilitated the introduction of three new FDA approved drugs in clinical trials which have showed significant signs of hope. This is only one example of the potential we have with this initiative.
Vice President Joe Biden created the Cancer Moonshot with one goal in mind - cure cancer. Whether that is found through data sharing or in an alternative way the Cancer Moonshot will continue to revolutionize the medical industry. When reflecting on 2016 everyone should find solace in the fact that the culture we have instilled will be the fuel this initiative needs to succeed.
The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance strives to raise awareness for the rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, mesothelioma.  Coupled with their awareness efforts, they are fighting to get asbestos completely banned in the United States. To learn more about mesothelioma and the Alliance, click here.
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