On the news of King Charles III' cancer diagnosis, oncologists stress that a cancer diagnosis does not equal a death sentence.
The American Cancer Society says we could see a record 2 million new cancer casesin the U.S. this year. But while incidences of many types of common cancer are on the rise, cancer deaths are trending downward.
The biggest thing that oncologists stress is that many cancer patients today can go through treatment and either end up cancer-free, or put into remission for a very long period of time.
There are still some big questions regarding King Charles's cancer diagnosis: Which kind of cancer? Where was it found? What stage? What we do know is that the king is resting at home after a morning outpatient treatment. We also know that the cancer in question is not prostate cancer.
Scripps News spoke with retired radiological oncologist Dr. Arthur Hamberger, who has had six different types of cancers over his life.
"Metastatic disease is not necessarily a death sentence ... it's something that people can live with for sometimes a very long time. Generally, it's the best place to pick it up when it's localized. Second best would be if there is lymph node involvement, but not extensive lymph node involvement," said Hamberger.
"Way more patients are cured of cancer than die of cancer, but by severalfold. We've never had more success treating cancer than we do today. Cancer deaths are definitely decreasing," said Dr. Christopher George, oncologist at Northwestern Medicine.
For treatments, there are three main categories: radiation, chemo and surgery. But there have been many advancements within those categories. For example, there's a newer type of proton radiation which research shows is more precise, and harms less healthy tissue. Patients undergo treatments that are more intense, but for a shorter total duration of treatment time.
More awareness, as well as more advancements in imaging and screening, have also helped doctors detect more cancers early, which U.S. cancer deaths are going down.
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