Total U.S. Cancer Rates Down for the First Time

Access to affordable, quality health care is another necessary step forward in moving us to our goal of reducing the risk and burden of cancer. Too many people in this country don't have that access, and the American Cancer Society recognizes that we need to make access to health care a nationwide priority if we are going to be successful in our journey.

We need to continue and expand our investment in cancer research, to continue our efforts to understand how cancer cells work and what we can do to exploit their weaknesses and improve our treatments.

And, lest we forget, we have a lot to do to improve the support we provide our patients throughout the cancer experience, especially for those who need comfort and care as they approach the end of their personal journeys.

At this time of the year, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, there is one overarching thought that I believe summarizes the successes reflected in this report and the successes we hope to achieve in the future:

This Thursday, hundreds of thousands of people will be sitting down with their families and friends to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. They are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, friends and colleagues who would not have been with us for the celebration were it not for the progress we have made in the fight against cancer. Some of them may not even be aware how special they are, and that is the greatest blessing of all.

It doesn't get much better than that.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Len Lichtenfeld is deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. You can view the full blog by clicking here.

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