Cancer as a social dysfunction—why cancer research needs new thinking

Robert Axelrod, Kenneth J. Pienta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The incidence and mortality for many cancers continue to rise. As such, critical action is needed on many fronts to reshape how a society thinks, discusses, and fights cancer especially as the population grows and ages. Cancer can be described as a broken social contract that requires different conceptual frameworks such as game theory. To this end, it is our hope that this perspective will catalyze a discussion to rethink the way we approach, communicate, and fund cancer research; thinking of cancer as a broken social contract is only one example. Importantly, this endeavor will require infusion of ideas from other fields such as physics, computational medicine, complexity science, agent-based modeling, sociology, and ecology, all of which have the capacity to drive new insights into cancer biology and clinical medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1346-1347
Number of pages2
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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