TED Conversations

Paul Ewald

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Will medical advances against cancer mainly help people in wealthy countries or can they help all of the world's people?

Treatment of cancer patient in the United States costs about $200,000 per year. If such treatment is the best way to control cancer it will be a privilege for the wealthy and the well-insured. Is the future fight against cancer going to divide the haves and have nots?

To some extent yes, but not as much as the expenditures in wealthy countries might indicate. As it turns out, the most effective methods for controlling cancer have been relatively inexpensive interventions that can be used globally. And if we are clear-headed and far-sighted we should be able to enhance this aspect of the fight against cancer in the future.

This viewpoint is developed more fully in the TED ebook, "Controlling Cancer" by Paul W. Ewald and Holly A. Swain Ewald.

This Live Conversation will begin on Jan. 17, 2012 at 2PM EST/ 11AM PST


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  • Jan 17 2012: I agree that prevention needs to be the focus, not expensive interventions. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies seem to run the world, and preventions don't make money and are sometimes tedious. "Get more sleep, eat well, exercise, de-stress" are not glamorous solutions to the cancer problem.

    We need the brightest minds in the world to actually focus on causes. Cancer cannot exist except in a hypoxic environment.

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