|OK, I’m lost. Are we winning the war on cancer, or aren’t we? It was President Richard Nixon who declared “war on cancer” in 1971, the year I returned home from Vietnam. I believe that 43 years later it is time for cancer organizations to come clean on the results of this “war”.
Because many of these organizations provide little more than fundraiser opportunities, who in the world is going to be truthful with we, the people when we ask if we are winning or losing this war?
Aren’t their paychecks at stake? In my opinion, if the war is being lost, most all need to lock their doors and go home. I was offended when I saw one of my favorite male vocalists, Josh Groban, seeking donations (begging for money) for The American Cancer Society (ACS) on TV recently. However, he is like most Americans who feel that we are duty bound to assist large fundraising organizations like ACS to find a cure. To overcome dismal statistics, they seek well-known celebrities who are asked to raise yet more money, and I know that they believe they are helping. To me, however, this is a fairly transparent tactic, and apparently, it is working.
Tucked into the magazine holder on an airplane I flew on a few years ago was an Indian Readers Digest Magazine that was apparently left by an earlier traveler. In it, a startling article entitled Winning The War on Breast Cancer was published. The statistics were compelling and seemed to indicate that soon, breast cancer would be a thing of the past. There have been quite a few “We’re winning the war on breast cancer” articles published in the past few years. Of course, with billions of raised dollars to invest, hyperbole exists in the halls of breast cancer research. Are we really winning the war on breast cancer? I don’t think you’ll ever convince the 100 grandmothers, mothers, aunts, daughters or sisters that are either diagnosed or die every day in America from breast cancer that we are winning this war. Just like the paid celebrities, our robotic press just keeps telling us that everything is going to be fine if we just have a few more dollars to “invest” in the war against breast cancer. Of course, this is nonsense.
Since declaring war on cancer, money and new drugs haven’t gotten us anywhere, but even young grocery store clerks have been taught how to make us feel guilty if we aren’t giving money for the fight against cancer.
Welcome to 2013, the year that will deal, I believe, with the subject of breast cancer more openly and honestly. We haven’t won the war and we know that. Despite this failure, fundraising organizations that purport to be concerned about “the cure” continue in business. One day, I suspect, we will wise up and know that these organizations exist, to a large extent, to raise funds for the powerful pharmaceutical industry, as though they needed more money. Recently, researchers in Bend, OR and Seattle, WA., have discovered that the incidence of metastatic breast cancer is actually on the rise in younger women. Winning the war? Advanced stage breast cancer is now afflicting women aged 25 to 39. Amazingly, a short time ago, studies showed that this age group might forego annual mammograms because their risk of breast cancer is significantly less than older women. This abysmal breast cancer news is simply the tip of the iceberg, and I predict that the cancer industry will soon begin seeking help from the lay public rather than continuing to use statisticians to make it appear like the war on cancer is being won. In lieu of begging for cash, I believe begging for help may soon begin. And women aren’t the only one’s statisticians and researchers are keeping in the dark. To put it mildly, our PSA “man test” doesn’t work. Unfortunately, I feel like the right hand of medicine has no idea what the left hand is doing… especially when it is gloved.
I recently spoke at a health symposium here in Texas. One of my slides dealt with stated facts, rather than the hype that we so often see in medical reporting today.
More than 1,000,000 women may have been unnecessarily treated and diagnosed using mammography.
“More than 1,000,000 men have been overdiagnosed and treated for prostate cancer.”
Until we “Know The Cause” of cancer, the war will never be won, and you and I know that. We know that knowledge will ultimately prevail. Until such time as knowledge begins to surface, the promise of new drugs, better cancer imaging, and earlier detection continues to instill hope and make headlines. Please learn to see that for what it is. Why, do you suppose, these young women are getting advanced stages of breast cancer? Let’s separate the facts from the marketing hype and see if perhaps we can figure this out without one dime of donator or pharmaceutical company money.