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What It Takes to Get a Cancer Doctor to Say ‘Cured’

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War on Cancer: Why Some Doctors Are Using the Word 'Cure'

Some patients with advanced cancer and their doctors are tentatively whispering a word they hadn’t dared to utter before: “cure.”

Cancer remains a death sentence for millions every year, causing one in every seven deaths around the globe. Over the years the wily disease has outsmarted the medical world’s best attempts to rein it in with an uncanny ability to evolve and mutate, adapting to whatever new drugs are thrown its way. Yet a new degree of optimism is emerging in labs and hospitals around the globe as researchers coax the immune system to hunt down malignant cells or suppress cancer’s defense mechanisms.