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Understanding Cancer
Prevention, Detection, Treatment, Control

John E. Niederhuber, M.D.

John E. Niederhuber, M.D.
Photo courtesy of NIH/NCI

NCI: 70 Years of Excellence in Cancer Research

Welcome to this special section on cancer research and treatment.

August 5 of this year marks the 70th anniversary of the National Cancer Institute Act. This landmark legislation led to the creation of what has become the world's preeminent cancer research organization, the National Cancer Institute (NCI).

Our nation has made great progress in reducing the burden of cancer since that date and since the later passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971. For example, consider this statistic, reported in February 2006: Fewer people died of cancer in the United States in 2003 than in 2002. This was the first decrease in cancer deaths since 1930, the year our country began compiling statistics on the disease's toll. In January 2007, a second decrease in cancer deaths was reported, with fewer people dying of the disease in 2004 than in 2003.

Today's continuing progress against cancer is the result of enhanced prevention strategies, earlier detection, and better treatment — much of it made possible by years of dedicated research here at NCI as well as research funded by NCI at hospitals, universities, and clinical centers throughout the United States and around the world. While we have much more to learn about this complex disease, our increased understanding of cancer at the genetic, molecular, and cellular levels is opening up enormous opportunities to interrupt the initiation and development of the disease.

As you will read in the following pages, there are tremendous efforts being made to prevent and treat all forms of cancer, and there is good news to report concerning survivorship rates now and in the future. We hope that you find the information in this special section useful, and that you will visit the NCI Web site ( and MedlinePlus ( for even more cancer research information.

John E. Niederhuber, M.D.
Director, National Cancer Institute

Read More "Understanding Cancer" Articles
Understanding Cancer / Cancer Today / Survivability and Hope / Sam Donaldson: Tips From a Cancer Survivor

Spring 2007 Issue: Volume 2 Number 2 Page 4