Cancer affects many people. Cancer is not limited by gender, age, or ethnicity and has no physical barriers within the body. Cancer can be defined as a disease in which a group of abnormal cells grows uncontrollably by disregarding the normal rules of cell division. Normal cells are constantly subject to signals that dictate whether the cell should divide, differentiate into another cell, or die. Cancer cells develop a degree of autonomy from these signals, resulting in uncontrolled growth and proliferation. If this proliferation is allowed to continue and spread, the result can be fatal. In fact, a majority of cancer-related deaths are due to tumor spreading, a process called metastasis.
Although many advances in cancer treatment have been made in recent decades, numerous challenges remain before the goal of providing the best possible outcome for all patients diagnosed with cancer can be achieved. Research on the treatment of cancer is fundamental to improving outcomes for patients affected by the disease. These efforts include the development of more effective and less toxic treatments, such as targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and cancer vaccines, as well as the improvement of therapies that have existed for decades, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.