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Can cancer be cured?

Many cancers can be cured these days. More than 7 out of 10 children are cured of cancer. Testicular cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, and many cases of leukaemia can all be cured in adults with current treatments. Most skin cancers are cured with surgery. And many cases of thyroid cancer and cancer of the larynx (voice box) are cured with radiotherapy.

Many other types of cancer are also cured if they are found early enough – for example, three quarters (75%) of breast cancers found at an early stage. Of course, there is still a long way to go before we can cure most cancers. The difficulty is that different cancers are caused by different things, so there isn't one strategy that can prevent them. They also respond to different treatments so no one treatment can cure them all.

There is a lot of research going on into all types of cancer to try and cure more people. Cancer researchers work on developing new and more effective surgery techniques, radiotherapy and chemotherapy drugs all the time. Biological therapies such as cancer vaccines, monoclonal antibodies and gene therapies are all active areas of research. Researchers are developing anti angiogenic drugs that can stop cancers from growing the blood vessels that they need. Research is also looking into developing cost effective ways of screening for the different common cancers so they can be diagnosed early enough to be cured.

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Updated: 17 April 2013