Progress brings hope, and the signs of progress are everywhere. We are embarking on an ambitious expansion of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer in Orange, the opening of a forward-looking telemedicine training center in the Health Sciences complex in Irvine, and many new education and research buildings on the UC Irvine campus.
However, buildings are but a symbol of the people who fill them. The number of UC Irvine faculty and staff dedicated to eliminating, preventing and curing cancer continues to grow. Their main goal is to understand the biological basis of cancer, to discover ways to prevent its development, to identify and assess those at highest risk, to diagnose the disease in its earliest stage, and to cure malignancies when they occur.
Our faculty members have had national and international impact in such areas as breast and colon cancer research. They also have been highly successful in attracting research funding.
People sometimes question whether we are really making progress if more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer. Indeed, it may seem as if many cancers have increased, what with our aging population (a major risk factor), earlier diagnoses of cancer and widespread screening.
In fact, we are seeing impressive improvements in survival rates for breast, colorectal, prostate and melanoma cancers.
But are these successes enough? Ultimately, progress comes down to the diagnosis, treatment and survivorship of each patient.
This is the calling of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center: to provide comfort, compassion and, optimistically, a cure during one of the most difficult times of our patients' lives, as they bear the burden of the words, "You have cancer."
Our success depends on the optimism, inspired innovation and enormous dedication of the members, staff, friends and donors of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
We thank you for your perseverance, hard work, generous donations and thoughtful advice.
Richard A. Van Etten, MD, PhD
Director, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center