The National Cancer Institute is part of the National Institute of Health (NIH) directed by Harold Varmus, MD. The primary focus of the NCI is to coordinate the National Cancer Program, which conducts and supports research, training, health information and dissemination of information with respect to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, rehabilitation from cancer, and the continuing care of cancer patients along with the families of cancer patients. The most common cancer types are Bladder, Breast, Colon, Rectal, Kidney, Lung, Leukemia, Melanoma, Thyroid, Prostate and Pancreatic. Cancer has touched our lives in one way or another, through the diagnosis of a friend or loved one therefore, to the lay person it really does not matter what type or how common; in my opinion, what matters is treatment and support once the diagnosis has been made.
The types of treatment are Chemotherapy therapy, Radiation therapy and “other” therapies which is anything that does not fall into the Chemotherapy or Radiation therapy bucket, your Oncologist can explain the treatments and will development a treatment plan for you. Another opportunity is a clinical trial. Clinical Trials are human research studies that follow a pre-defined protocol with pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria with regard to who can participate. Participating in a clinical trial is a personal decision but it should be an informed decision, your Oncologist can provide you with an overview of the clinical trial, help determine if its right for you and most importantly outline the positives, as well as the negatives. Visit my website at http://www.kgdavisconsulting.com click on the “links” tab found at the top of the homepage, you will see the link to cancer.gov and clinical trials.gov; both websites will provide you with a wealth of information as you begin your journey.
We have made great strides in cancer prevention and thus, screening. For example, the continuing development of interventions such as drugs or vaccines, life style modification particularly curbing tobacco use, early detection, and the removal of precancerous lesions identified through screening. Some screening which may be standard of medical care are Mammogram, Colonoscopy/sigmoidoscopy, fecal occult blood test (FOBT), Pap Smear test, low-dose helical computed tomography (CT) and preventive vaccines for certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV)
The NCI submits a budget directly to the President who in turn submits it to Congress after his review; this budget process is unique to the NCI, other NIH institutes and centers follow the standard process which is to submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). It will be interesting to see the budget proposal for the NCI this year given the deep cuts being requested. You can obtain additional NCI budget information at http://obt.cancer.gov/financial/factbook.htm
I have barely scratched the surface with regard to the NCI and the status of treatment and prevention; there is so much to digest regarding research. Go to http://www.cancer.gov to find out more