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What makes cancer cure so elusive?

What exactly is cancer and the its root causes? Why is modern science not able to find a cure? We find more and more of this generation dying of cancer and the only thing medicine can offer if at all is palliative care.

Why is a cure so elusive?
Have we failed to understand the root cause?
Have we been so irresponsible to lead a life conducive to this disease?
Have we failed to notice something so very evident?
Have we failed to collaborate amongst cross functional groups who can put their minds together and find a solution?



Closing Statement from STV V

Thank you to all of you and especially to TED which has enabled people from multiple geographies and disciplines to talk about a subject! We have Kevin Tinholt (Biotech - Netherlands) , Krisztián Pintér ( software programmer, Hungary) , Yale Wang ( Environmentalist and Social worker from Canada ), David Juan ( MD from US) , Peter Lindsay ( Physics - Austrailia) talk about this topic..

I have summed up the inputs from all of you below! Its nice to hear that atleast some types of cancer are curable! I hope more will follow and the Government support for these increase. I hope we find a cure soon!

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  • Apr 5 2012: Cancer cells always exist in a human body, and our natural ability to fight cancer is part of the immune system, compromised by such things as carcinogens, sleep deprivation, etc. We hear about new advances almost every week, yet most don't get any press attention because they are always preliminary. Asprin, for example, was recently found to have anti-cancer properties, but doctors do not recommend taking Asprin just to lower your cancer risk! There are also drugs available, derived from such plants as the vinca seed (leukemia) and the yew tree (a compound that reduces most cancers), that are being incorporated into regimens such as chemotherapy. Yet most of those treatments have horrible side effects.

    There are many theories concerning the origins of cancer. These include glycolysis of oxygen-deprived cells through the Warburg effect, the trophoblast, rising incidence related to better healthcare and more old-age diseases due to higher life expectancy, processes related to stem cells, viral mechanisms, bodily energy, and a natural consequence of aging and teleromeres, seeing that 1/5 of people who die from natural causes do so from cancer. There are both genetic and environmental factors, as well as random ones, and the process of hormesis such that people who are routinely exposed to low radiation levels, for examples, suffer less severe health effects over time.

    There are potentially many venues of research, but it has evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry focused largely on the promotion of pharmaceuticals often carrying deleterious toxic compounds. Attacking just the cancer and not the rest of the body is typically highly inefficient. This of course has led to accusations of profit-mongering and a charge by often-discredited natropathic 'experts' that big agencies are covering up natural cures that are already capable of curing cancer--nothing has been proven for certain.
    • Apr 14 2012: Thank you so much for the detailed reply. The root cause of the elusiveness seems he business sadly though.

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