The number of aged patients in the world population is increasing at a rapid rate, and the number of such individuals developing malignant disease will almost certainly increase concomitantly until effective means of prevention and/or cure are available. If effective prevention of one or more of the relatively common causes of death (e.g., atherosclerosis, automobile accidents) occurs, a sharp rise in the incidence of malignant disease may be anticipated.
Surgery and irradiation therapy of malignant disease is approaching the optimum obtainable by these means. Approximately one of three patients with cancer may now be expected to live five years. Very little more can reasonably be expected from newer refinements and modifications of surgical techniques. Irradiation from cobalt and two million-electron volt sources have provided but small additional benefits. Palliative therapy with these modalities is also well recognized. This, together with attention to nutrition, antibiotics, and transfusions, is increasing the survival