A couple of weeks ago, basketball coaches across the Big Ten Conference made a fashion statement of sorts. They donned snazzy sneakers on the hardwood, even though many of them were wearing suits and ties, to take part in Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide campaign that annually draws public attention to advocacy and fundraising efforts around this severe disease.
Claiming more than half a million lives per year, cancer is the second-leading cause of death in the United States, right behind heart disease. More people die from some form of cancer than the next three causes (chronic respiratory diseases, stroke and various accidents) combined.
Every Big Ten school has doctors and students doing research into the causes and potential cures of cancer. Those efforts are now part of a coordinated system of research known as the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium.