On a recent campaign stop, presidential hopeful Joe Biden promised that he would cure cancer if elected president. The remark, Biden’s well-known commitment to cancer research notwithstanding, has some oncology experts cringing, LiveScience reports.
While speaking in Ottumwa, Iowa, earlier this month, Biden said: “I promise you if I’m elected president, you’re going to see the single most important thing that changes America. We’re gonna cure cancer.” The statement was met with a roaring cheer from the crowd—but some cancer experts doubt the candidate will deliver on that promise.
As Deanna Attai, MD, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of California, Los Angeles was quick to point out, cancer is more than one disease and is likely not going to have a singular, easily attainable cure. In fact, there are more than 100 different kinds of cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and each must be screened for and treated differently.
“Are we going to open the news one day and hear that cancer has been cured? No,” said Attai in a recent interview, noting that some types of cancer may never be cured. “Progress in treating cancer is incremental. We shouldn’t be putting an artificial timeline on a cure.”
That said, Biden has made major strides over the past year to show his commitment to curing cancer, no matter how long it takes. Earlier this month, the Biden Cancer Initiative announced that nine health care innovators are joining forces to create the Oncology Clinical Trials Information Commons (OTIC), a platform for sharing clinical trial information that aims to pave the way for improved patient matching.
Experts say cancer’s impact may be further reduced by allocating more money to cancer research, developing programs that provide health care to underserved communities, increasing public health spending and boosting prevention efforts.