Campbell said he cannot get through a week of his life without being asked why a cure has not been found.
“I think people ask this question because physicians in oncology have been really lax in our job of really communicating well to people about what we can do, what we need to do and in sharing what progress has been made,” he said. “We also need to define what the goal is. Yes we all want a cure, but cancer is not just one disease, it is many different diseases.”
There probably will not be one big cure, but instead multiple ones, he said, and there have been “huge” improvements in survival rates.
“In 1970 the survival rates for cancer were about 50/50,” he said. “If you were diagnosed today, your survival rate would be close to 70 percent. It is probably better because that’s based on data from five years ago.”
Improvement is credited to progress in diagnosing cancer at earlier stages and advancements in cancer treatment.
Relay organizers said a large portion of the money raised from the two-day fundraiser will go toward cancer research and patient services.
The event, held at the Cooperstown Dreams Park, is an overnight celebration where team members take turns walking around a track “relay” style.
Other happenings Friday night included a survivors’ dinner, haircutting to benefit Pantene Beautiful Lengths to give real hair wigs to women fighting cancer, a fight back ceremony and a luminaria ceremony to celebrate survivorship and memories of loved ones lost to cancer.