There is no more exciting time to be a part of cancer medicine and prevention than now. We are now beginning to see the pay off from decades of dedicated work against cancer. Over the past three years, despite the growth and aging of our population, the total number of cancer deaths has declined for the first time.
Still, for far too many people, more than a million a year, cancer remains a very real threat to health, happiness, and to life itself. And, when we consider how many of us have a family member or close friend with some form of cancer, it is clear that the collection of diseases we call cancer touches everyone.
So, while there is much we have accomplished, there is yet more we need to do. I truly believe, that with the continued support from the state and other donors, the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center will shape the future that will ultimately see us conquer cancer.
While cancer is now recognized as a genetic disease, investigators also realize that most of the gene mutations that lead to cancer are acquired, not inherited. As a result, this provides many opportunities for prevention through behavioral and environmental modifications to derail cancer initiation. Many of the most common cancers are caused by environmental and behavioral factors that are known and potentially alterable. Among these things are HPV infection, inflammation, poor diet, and smoking.
Collaborations with our many partners throughout Maryland have allowed us to educate our citizens about cancer prevention and detection. Our goal is not only to teach people about cancer screening services, but to guide and support them as they put what they’ve learned into place.