John Seffrin, MD, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society, was in Syracuse this weekend to speak at Upstate Medical University commencements, and Monday he stopped into the HealthLink on Air studio.
“We’ve truly come a long way,” he said, explaining that these days two out of three Americans who develop cancer survive on a long-term basis.
To help the number of survivors continue to rise, Seffrin said more advocates are needed.
“We can finish the fight against cancer in this century if we do the right things,” he said. “To do the right things, we have to have people speak up and say ‘we need more money for research,’ ‘we need to insure that people are protected from second-hand smoke,’ and ‘we need to make sure that if someone has cancer, they get the care they need.’
“That’s why the new Upstate Cancer Center is so important,” he continued. “It is not hyperbole to say when the cancer center opens in July, more lives are going to be saved. People will not die who otherwise would die if they did not have access to that facility. People will have access to some of the latest technology and some of the greatest scientists and clinicians available in the world.”
The American Cancer Society celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. Seffrin said his dream is to finish the cancer fight in this century. He said we are saving 400 more lives from cancer per day than were saved in 1991, but he believes we can save 1,000 lives a day by increasing research, implementing public policies and improving access to medical care. “That would be a public health victory, the likes of which the world has never seen.”