The respected medical journal Lancet has taken a retrospective look at the past century and found that despite incredible advances in the field of medicine, some common issues persist. Problems identified in 1911 that strike a familiar chord today include the quest to understand and eventually cure cancer, an economic depression and it's negative effect on healthcare delivery and the plight of African nations. Challenges faced in first world countries included the impacts of illicit drug addiction, occupational health and workers' compensation issues, the need for better education of doctors, and the continued prevalence of curable and preventable diseases.
Perhaps things weren't so different for our ancestors after all. You can read more at http://www.gizmag.com/journal-compares-medical-issues-heading-into-1911-and-2011/17491/