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Conquering cancer

More people will be getting cancer, increasing to an estimated 2.3 million diagnosed cancers per year by 2030, an outcome that appears inevitable given the country's aging population. Largely dismissed is the notion there will be a magic bullet "cure for cancer." Instead, physicians will continue to more effectively attack cancer in various ways to address its various forms, with treatments tailored to individual situations.

The result of continued medical advances will be more cancers remediated and lives extended, even as the numbers rise. Other advances are leading to earlier detection and a better understanding of risk factors that increase the chances of getting cancer.

Perhaps the best news locally is the increased access patients in southeastern Connecticut will have to expert doctors in the field and to the latest treatment options and new medications.

On Wednesday Lawrence + Memorial Hospital celebrated the ceremonial opening of its new Cancer Center in Waterford. L+M will operate the center in collaboration with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, since 1947 a world leader in cancer research and treatment. The new center formally opens for business Oct. 1.

Dana-Farber oncologists, offering diagnostic and treatment services, sub-specialties, second-opinion services, genetic counseling and the opportunity to partake in promising experimental treatments, will staff the center.

It is a remarkable achievement for New London's community hospital. Even as the $34.5 million, 48,000-square-foot center opens the fundraising continues. This effort well deserves the public's support.

Meanwhile, The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich this week announced its own plans to improve access to advanced cancer care. Hartford HealthCare, which recently added Backus to its network, is collaborating with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Another giant in the field of cancer treatment and research, Sloan-Kettering was founded 125 years ago.

According to Backus officials, the arrangement means that patients at the Norwich hospital will have access to Sloan-Kettering's cutting-edge treatments, research and clinical trials through Backus. Hospital oncologists will have the opportunity to consult with Sloan-Kettering colleagues on diagnoses and treatment options.

No one ever wants to hear a diagnosis of cancer, but there is some sense of security in knowing that the treatment options right here in our small section of the world are about to improve dramatically.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.


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