Is technology helping reduce cancer? It seems to be yes.
Cancer is death rate down is down 23% in 21 years. That link goes into great deal about how cancer is currently affecting the population. While cancer is reducing, in some populations is in increasing. It also hits certain ethnic groups like Blacks harder than whites.
Cancer has had at least 40 targeted medicines developed for it, and more new classes of drugs. It is remarkable the improvements on the quality of life and other benefits that has been achieved.
I remember growing up in the 80’s when someone had cancer it was a quick death sentence. As I got older, the improvements in cancer detection and treatment slowly got better. For example, getting an MRI in the 80’s was very, very expensive. It had just been developed in the 70’s, and was very new technology for most hospitals. When someone I knew got cancer they had to go to the state capital because that was the only place with an MRI machine and treatment.
Now MRI’s seem to be on every street corner and clinic. They are still expensive machines, but they have enabled early treatment and probably saved millions of lives. It is estimated that there are 60 million MRI scans each year. Since MRI has been operating since the late 70’s, no exact numbers for this could be found by myself.
As a comparison as a child I had a problem and in the 70’s, the best the doctor could do at that small local hospital was take an X-ray. I remember it so clearly. The loud hum of the machines, the cold table and the awful drink I had to drink so my insides would show up better. It was primitive. I saw my photo and it didn’t look like anything useful for all that expense and trouble.
I was able to see the results of an MRI scan a decade later and I was just amazed at what I could see. I could see details that I never imagined possible. That was something that a doctor could benefit from. It was clear to me that no matter the cost, X-rays should die and MRI was the way of the future.
So the combination of technology and medicine is helping people to live longer with cancer, and have a better quality of life. What a wonderful use of technology!