Cancer is a disease of accumulating genetic copy-paste errors; a Russian roulette of cell division subject to an ever-expanding list of environmental vectors. If given enough time, or a long enough lifespan, everyone will develop a malignancy. In the time it takes you to read this white paper, 20 people in the United States (U.S.) will receive a cancer diagnosis. By the end of the year, 1.6 million more people will have joined them, requiring immediate support from the healthcare ecosystem and forever self-identifying as cancer patients. Despite groundbreaking advancements and our best collective effort, a quarter of annual U.S. deaths will be caused by cancer, topping the list of mortality causes in 22 states. The overwhelming odds are that these statistics will eventually claim our families and friends. Their journeys will become our own, and the entirety of cancer’s emotional and financial burden will be shouldered as a society.
In a sense, we are all cancer patients.