The Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) telethon is tonight, and the hour-long TV event promises to offer a mix of inspiring cancer survivors and celebrities like Jon Hamm and Kristen Wiig hailing the accomplishments of the eight-year-old fundraising outfit, which has hauled in $370 million for oncology research so far. There's little doubt that cancer research benefits from such high-profile efforts to bring in more funding. SU2C-supported researchers, for example, had a hand in the recent FDA approvals of Pfizer's Ibrance (palbociclib) to treat breast cancer and Celgene's Abraxane (paclitaxel) plus gemcitabine to treat pancreatic cancer. But there's a flipside to more cancer patients surviving the disease—and it's one that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) says deserves more scrutiny.
First, the good news: The NCI predicts that the number of cancer survivors in the U.S. will jump from 15.5 million to 26.1 million by 2040, fueled in part by the graying of the Baby Boomer population, but also by the growth of new, more effective treatments, according to a study published in a recent edition of the American Association for Cancer Research journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.