We are much further along now than we used to be. Nowadays, a lot of cancers can be cured if caught early. (Early detection is key, so as well as doing further research into curing cancer, we need to inform people about the risks and about the necessity of having regular check-ups).
The main problem is that most things that harm or kill cancer cells will also harm or kill regular body cells, which is why most cancer treatments are quite harmful and dangerous. But I think we are getting better at controlling the side effects.
All cancers are different though, so rather than finding a universal cure, I think it’s more likely that each type of cancer will be treated with specific means. I think that it is totally possible to achieve this, but there is still a long, long way to go.
One day I hope so, I’m not sure there will be one pill or injection that will cure all cancers (although that is the holy grail). It is more likely that there will be a range of medicines designed to cure different types of cancer.
The difficulty is that cancer cells are made from our own body’s cells so the immune system doesn’t recognise them as being foreign or damaged. The cancer cells have had their DNA altered making them divide uncontrollably. The cancer cells squeeze out the normal cells and take over them and so the organs stop functioning properly (that’s why it takes so long for a cancer to kill someone).
There are various leads that scientists are following to try to cure cancer (I don’t know all of them) from fixing the DNA, to targeting and killing the cancer cells with drugs, to finding a difference in the cancer cells that the immune system can recognises as being different (so it can attack the cancer cells).
At the moment cancer is treated with surgery to remove the main tumour followed by chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy to “mop up” any remaining cancer cells. Radiotherapy uses radiation to damage and kill the cancer cells. Chemotherapy uses very strong medicines to do the same. The problem with both these methods is trying to get the radiation or medicines to target only the cancer cells and not the normal cells because, as I said at the beginning, the cancer cells are our own body cells. Once this is cracked, this will open the flood gates to cancer cures. I’m sure of it.