Dan Banik and Jarle Breivik explore the surge in cancer incidence driven by an aging population and the imperative for a fresh perspective in addressing the problem.
The overarching objective of cancer research, championed by organizations like the US National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, is to "end cancer as we know it". While this statement may suggest a future with less cancer, the stark reality unfolds quite differently. My guest argues that modern medicine is not in the process of ending cancer; rather, we are accelerating the problem. Globally, the number of new cases each year is estimated to increase from 18 million in 2020 to 28 million in 2040. Cancer is intrinsically related to aging, and the incidence increases exponentially from the age of 50. Accordingly, the better we get at treating the disease and postponing death, the more cancer there will be in the population.
Jarle Breivik (MD, PhD, EdD) is professor and head of the Department of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Oslo. He is on a mission to change the scientific discourse and the public perception of cancer. In his new book Making Sense of Cancer: From Its Evolutionary Origin to Its Societal Impact and the Ultimate Solution, Jarle discusses how aging, cancer, and death are essential elements of what it means to be human. Eradicating these elements would signify not just the conclusion of cancer but the potential demise of humanity itself. He is internationally recognized for his research on the evolutionary dynamics of cancer, and his thought-provoking analyses in PNAS, EMBO Reports, Scientific American, Wired Magazine, and the New York Times have stimulated a profound international debate about the understanding of cancer and cancer research. @jarlebreivik, Linkedin
Professor Dan Banik (@danbanik @GlobalDevPod)
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