The New Yorker reports on the progress of our war on cancer, which has lasted more than thirty years. The question is whether we've been fighting cancer the right way. "If you had demanded that the N.I.H. solve the problem of polio not through independent research, but by means of a centrally directed program... you would get the very best iron lungs in the world... but you wouldn't get the vaccine that eradicated polio," the New Yorker quotes a former National Cancer Institute director. New discoveries are often touted as miracles without ever causing significant drops in mortality rates. Though knowledge about cancer has been increasing, the American mythology of cancer is running into the realities of federally run programs.
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