Pathway To
A World Free From Cancer

We’ve seen the impact of medical innovation on life and prosperity in the United States. Looking back and moving forward, we see that since 1970, the number of people surviving cancer has increased by nearly 400% to 14 million in 2013. If we continue to embrace personalized medicine, there will be at least 18 million cancer survivors in 2020 and 23 million in 2030.

Cancer Survivorship Will Continue To Surge

Graph showing the increasing number of cancer survivors and the projection for the future.

Reference 1

The Impact of Medical Innovation Worldwide

Worldwide Potential

Increasing life-years saved in other countries at the same pace as in the U.S. we can add 64 million life-years to the global economy between now and 2040.

As in the United States, medical innovation worldwide has been a leading source of increased life expectancy and population growth. The medical progress in America and Europe has spread rapidly to other nations. Even though tuberculosis and other infectious diseases still kill and cripple too many, the leading cause of death outside of Western countries is actually cancer. As illustrated below, death rates from cancer are declining globally; it is imperative that we sustain and accelerate innovation.

Graph showing the potential to improve lives worldwide in the fight against cancer.

Reference 2

Cancer Innovation:
Growing The Global Economy

Countries that were hit hard by the AIDS crisis have rebounded. In many African nations, HIV reduced life expectancy and economic growth. Today, with HIV under greater control, these countries are growing rapidly.

In the future, cancer innovation will be a powerful source of prosperity worldwide. Reducing the $895 billion a year cost associated with cancer, offers a significant opportunity to close the inequality gap and drive economic growth.

The Worldwide Cost Of Cancer

Chart showing cancer as the leading cause of death worldwide

Reference 3

Cutting life-years lost to cancer by 40% will save $360 billion each year. Indeed, because targeted treatments reduce spending on other types of care, countries with a growing cancer survivor population won't have to invest as much in the construction of new hospitals and employment of healthcare workers. Rather than spending time and energy seeking treatment and being sick, people can live longer and enjoy a better quality of life. In order to achieve this radical change worldwide, we must invest in the adoption of personalized medicine.

Personalized Cancer Medicine:
Engine Of Progress And Prosperity

Personalized medicine reduces the cost and time of treatment when compared to the old model of one size fits all. It minimizes trial-and-error therapies that are costly and less effective and often reduces patients' exposure to unnecessary and even dangerous drugs. These targeted approaches can lead to better outcomes and outright cures. As illustrated below, survival rates that used to be measured in months can now be measured in years.

The Impact Of Personalized Medicine

Chart showing the impact of personalized medicine on various cancers.

Reference 4

Rebooting Medical Innovation:
The Rise Of The Consumer

Power To The Patient

As Dr. Eric Topol writes, "Here is the most important part of the rebooting of medicine. It is time for a jailbreak; it is time for the rise of the consumers to drive the future of medicine. It is their DNA, their medical data, their cell phones and their own health at stake. We need to see the end of medical paternalism, the 'doctor knows best' attitude that has long characterized the interactions between physicians and patients."

Scientists are finding new genetic pathways faster than ever. In order to develop targeted medicines for them, we must increase investment and innovation.

The barriers to maintaining the pace of discovery are, in part, scientific, but mostly they were constructed years ago. We are using 20th-century approaches and organizations to investigate and evaluate 21st-century medicine. To achieve a World Free From Cancer, we must change how we develop, approve, and access life-saving innovations.

In short, we need to change how we approach everything.

Value Of Innovation Initiatives

In the spirit of patient empowerment, we propose 6 changes in how we discover and develop cancer medicines and how people with cancer should be treated. They are based on the pioneering work of oncologists and are supported by advocacy groups such as The Black Swan Initiative created by the International Myeloma Foundation and Dr. Brian Durie.

Our plan flows from one clear and very simple idea: People with cancer should have faster access to new medicines and have more control over their care.

  1. Put patients in charge of cancer research
  2. Replace one-size-fits-all research with personalized studies
  3. Cut targeted cancer drug development time from 10 years to 2 years
  4. Require health plans to pay for personalized medicine
  5. Create charter cancer communities that focus on the value of care
  6. Ignite the World Free From Cancer movement!

Create A World Free From Cancer

We can all share in creating a World Free From Cancer by demanding change in how we develop and practice medicine. Our current approach has sustained longer and greater prosperity, but it is outdated and often reactionary.

It is our mission and our moment to remake medicine. It is both our choice and our challenge. It is time to cast off our old ways and create a World Free From Cancer.

  • 1. Cancer Treatment and Survivorship Facts and Figures 2012-2013. Available at
  • 2. Soerjomataram I, et al Global burden of cancer in 2005: a systematic analysis of disability-adjusted life-years in 12 world regions.
    Lancet 2012; 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60919-2.
  • 3. Soerjomataram I, et al Global burden of cancer in 2008: a systematic analysis of disability-adjusted life-years in 12 world regions.
    Lancet 2012; 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60919-2.
  • 4. Munoz, J. & Kurzrock, R. (2012) Targeted therapy in rare cancers—adopting the orphans Nat. Rev. Clin. Oncol. doi:10.1038/nrclinonc.2012.160

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