Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Making Inroads against Cancer

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commentary: Making Inroads against Cancer

Article excerpt

For the second-straight year, the number of cancer deaths in the U.S. has dropped. From 2003 to 2004, cancer deaths fell by 3,014. That figure is considerably larger than the previous year's decline of 369. Although the dips still pale in comparison with the number of cancer deaths - 553,888 in 2004 - they represent the first decline in the 70-plus years that we have records.

Coming back-to-back, these numbers suggest that the declines are not mere statistical anomalies. This could signal the beginning of a wonderful trend.

It has taken tremendous effort and ingenuity to achieve these relatively small gains. Yet it's worth looking at what has fueled these changes - and how work in Oklahoma may help continue this trend.

Statistically, much of the decrease comes from improved detection and treatment of breast, colorectal and prostate cancers. These gains are a direct result of advances brought about by basic biomedical research.

The incidence of breast cancer, which had been rising steadily for decades, has reached a plateau. One of the primary drivers here has been early detection and intervention against this cancer that strikes one in eight women and claims 40,000 lives in the U.S. each year.

This past September, a new breast cancer risk assessment test - known as OncoVue - became available in selected clinics in Oklahoma and around the country.

InterGenetics, an Oklahoma-based biotech company, developed the test based on discoveries made at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation by Eldon Jupe and Linda Thompson. The product of 13 years of research and tests involving 8,000 women, OncoVue is the first genetic-based cancer risk test relevant to all women.

Through a simple testing process - swish some mouthwash, then spit it into a tube - women can learn their odds of developing breast cancer over their lifetime. Those who find they are at higher risk can explore an ever-growing catalog of options that will improve the odds of early diagnosis and successful intervention. …

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