Cancer is a disease of uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells, also called a malignant growth or tumor. In 1971,1 President Richard Nixon declared war on cancer, signing the National Cancer Act. His goal was to make a national commitment to finding a cure, after which Fort Detrick was converted to a cancer research center and renamed the Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center. Since then a number of chemotherapeutic and surgical treatments have been developed in an effort to treat cancer. In 1991, mortality rates from cancer began to decline, falling 0.5% per year from 1990 to 1995. In 1998, a major clinical trial reported neoadjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer allowed women with large tumors to undergo a lumpectomy instead of a full mastectomy. The goal was to shrink the tumor using chemotherapy, so a smaller portion of the breast could be surgically removed.
Chemotherapy has been one of the primary treatments used in cancer. The objective has been to destroy the cancer cells so that it does not come back. However, chemo — technically a poison — travels throughout your entire body and affects every single cell, unlike radiation or surgical treatments which target precise locations.