Bird Flu Fears Overshadow Positive Health News in 2005

Posted on December 26, 2005

Fears about a possible pandemic from bird flu causing tens or hundreds of million of deaths overshadowed some of the positive health news in 2005. An MSNBC article about this subject includes some of the positive health news from 2005.
Amid the flu fears there actually was a lot of good news this year. Cancer overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death among Americans 85 and under. Why is that good, you ask? Because deaths from both are falling, it's just that those from heart disease have fallen more dramatically.

Two vaccines proved effective against human papilloma virus, or HPV, the leading cause of cervical cancer, a big killer around the world.

New-generation cancer drugs like Avastin and Herceptin, which more precisely target the disease and leave healthy cells alone, also scored big victories in studies on lung and breast cancer patients respectively, notes the American Society of Clinical Oncology in its first annual report on cancer progress.

Five years ago, these drugs were in the "hope" stage but now are in wide use, said Dr. Roy Herbst, a lung cancer expert at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
There was also the recent breakthrough about cancer cells using envoys and landing pads to spread tumors to new organs. But bird flu fears overshadow everything because of the huge potential involved with this threat. Recent news stories like the one about H5N1 possibly becoming resistant to Tamiflu aren't helping to ease bird flu fears.

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