A Radically Simple Idea Will Let Us Catch Cancer Before It’s Cancer

A Radically Simple Idea Will Let Us Catch Cancer Before It’s Cancer

By zeroing in on the first signs of disease, scientists are inventing a whole new way to fight cancer.

Backchannel, 2016

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening


Science and medicine writer Kat McGowan provides a hope-inspiring insight into cancer prevention research. She reminds readers that 50% of cancer deaths would be avoidable with a healthier lifestyle, but she doesn’t labor the point. Her explanations of how the immune system tries to combat cancer, how cancer cells respond and various ways doctors might intervene are clear and easy to understand. The news is positive, but McGowan tempers it with a reminder that all medical science takes time. getAbstract recommends this report to anyone with an interest in cancer prevention.


Heart disease has been the biggest killer in the United States for most of the last 100 years. As the death rates from heart disease and stroke have declined, cancer deaths remain steady. Cancer will soon be the United States’ number one health concern.

One way to prevent deaths is early intervention. By the time a tumor has grown to a detectable size, it can mutate to evade drugs. It would be easier to stop abnormal cells before they become cancerous, when they are more responsive to treatment. Around 50% of cancer deaths are preventable, but until more...

About the Author

Kat McGowan is a journalist and editor focused on medicine and science.

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