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A Letter from the Dean

A major part of our mission at Geisel is to address the world's health problems through research and discovery. Over the years, our innovative and interdisciplinary research programs have been credited with uncovering the underlying mechanisms of disease, developing new and more effective therapeutic strategies, and improving the systems of care in which those therapies are provided to patients.

In this issue of Dartmouth Medicine, we feature our efforts to address cancer, which is one of the world's most devastating health challenges. Sadly, it is expected there will be 1.7 million new cancer cases in the U.S. this year, and that the lifetime probability for developing cancer in men is 1 in 2 and for women is 1 in 3. Nearly every family will experience the physical, emotional, and economic challenges of a cancer diagnosis. Despite these daunting statistics, optimism is buoyed by recent trends showing that the overall incidence of cancer has leveled from its peak in the early '90s, and since around 2005 is showing signs of declining. Moreover, survival rates for some of the most common cancers (breast, colorectal, prostate) have demonstrated marked improvement since the '70s.

Geisel and Dartmouth-Hitchcock proudly contribute to the quest of eradicating cancer through our support of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC), a joint-program that bridges our two institutions. The NCCC is home to our innovative cancer research and patient care programs, and it is designated by the National Cancer Institute as one of only 49 comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. This designation reflects the breadth of activities supported by our cancer center including scientific leadership, shared research resources, and research programs that span the full spectrum of cancer including basic, clinical, and population science.

In this issue, we also introduce you to Dr. Steven Leach, the new director of the NCCC, who talks about what attracted him to Dartmouth and to his new role, as well as his vision for enhancing our cancer center. He brings a wealth of experience as a world class cancer researcher, surgeon, and administrator, and I am excited to have him join our faculty.

You will also read about some of the exciting research being done by members of the NCCC that relates to improving cancer treatments. For example, Dr. Todd Miller discusses his innovative work to develop new approaches to treat breast cancer.
Dr. Greg Tsongalis summarizes his ongoing work to expand the use of technological solutions for early cancer detection in remote areas of the globe. These stories highlight the impactful research and improvements to patient care underway in
the Cancer Center.

We are fortunate to have a community that supports the collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians. This combination is a powerful force to attract world class faculty and to drive impactful improvements in cancer care.

Duane Compton, PhD
Dean, Geisel School of Medicine

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Geisel School of Medicine at DartmouthDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical CenterWhite River Junction VAMCNorris Cotton Cancer CenterDartmouth College