Cancer Awareness Scam

I am a big fan of football.  NFL, NCAA, high school, arena….I love football.  The past several weeks I have been watching the teams in the NFL wearing the pink equipment in support of the Susan G. Komen foundation.  This is a nice thought….and little else.

From the NFL’s webpage, discussing the “Crucial Catch” program:

The NFL, its clubs, players and the NFL Players Association are proud to support the fight against breast cancer. Our campaign, “A Crucial Catch”, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older. Throughout October, NFL games will feature players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, on-field pink ribbon stencils, special game balls and pink coins – all to help raise awareness for this important campaign. All apparel worn at games by players and coaches, along with special game balls and pink coins will be auctioned off at NFL Auction (www.NFL.com/auction), with proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society and team charities. This is an issue that has directly touched the lives of so many in the NFL family, and we are committed to helping make a difference in breast cancer prevention.

Source

I understand the need for screening.  I have a wife and a mother, and want them to be screened as well.  Problem is, I think that Americans are painfully aware of the need for screening, and for the need for diligence in dealing with cancer.  I do not know a single person who has not lost someone they love to cancer, with most having several relatives and perhaps a child hood friend (I had a classmate that succumbed to leukemia after nearly a decade of struggle, while we were in high school).

What America does need, however, is treatment.  Granted, the majority of people can receive treatment if they push hard enough and are willing to fill out hours of paperwork, even if they have no money.  The problem here is, how many people can complete these steps, especially when dealing with the psychological impact of being told that they have a disease that will kill them, and are often given a window of survival from which to count down their last days?

And treatment is where my mind has been today.  During my lunch hour at work I attended a weekly meeting of a group that I participate with (the only group I affiliate with, due to my desire to not carry group affiliations).  At this meeting a local physician had some office staff there to speak on some business related topics.  But this physician has cancer, and was given a very dire diagnosis a few months ago (stage IV lymphoma, b-cell).  He was told he had a couple of weeks, and that he needed to get his affairs in order.

That is exactly what he did.  He started researching treatment options, not limiting himself to only America.  As he went through, he discovered that there were some treatments available outside of the purview of the FDA in places like Korea and Mexico.  So he flew to Korea to recieve gene therapy and a stem cell transplant.  Each of these are illegal in the US, due to the theft of religious arguments by pharmaceutical lobbyists.

So he is now “90% cancer free”, with a long term prognosis that includes the term “cured” in it.  It cost him just about every penny he had (and he had to mortgage his belongings to gain some liquidity to pay for everything).  He will no longer be going to Korea for his treatment, instead taking a shorter trip to a clinic in Mexico.  I think highly of this man, and am inspired by how tough he has shown himself to be.

But even more, I am angered.   Not that he was able to receive treatment and survival.  But rather that he can find better treatments in places like Korea and Mexico than the US.  I am sure many who would read this see the obvious issue:  that a “third world” nation would have an edge on the US medically.  I mean, the fact that we pay more for medications here in the US (and are told that it is because of the low cost of drugs worldwide due to other nations laws, the US just gets stuck holding the bag.  Congressional inaction, or some such nonsense) is ridiculous enough.

But consider that we are entering a new world with a global economy.  One in which the US is decidedly no longer head and shoulders above the rest of the world.  And we are banning medical research and treatment that would not only reduce the amount of money it takes to stay alive with cancer, but does so with less side effects and greater treatment effect.  Am I the only one who sees a problem with remaining competitive in the realm of the sciences when we won’t even bother to research ground breaking treatments that are readily available in places like Korea and Mexico?

And what about people who cannot make it to Korea?

I quit supporting cancer awareness a few years ago.  It started with Relay for Life, when I was standing at the local high school football field at 4:00am wondering exactly how me walking around that track was helping to cure cancer.  I realized that it really wasn’t, and figured out that it was more a way to make people believe they were making a difference.

Do I support cancer research?  Certainly.  But not financially.  There have been billions of dollars donated to pharmaceutical labs over the years, yet no improved treatments seem to be forthcoming.  Meanwhile, in the Banana Republic just south of us, they are progressing with aggressive stem cell and gene therapy treatments that could shape the world of tomorrow.

No, I will keep my money in my pocket.  At $20k a dose, the pharmaceutical companies need no more research money from me.  They get it every time they get another US citizen to buy into their poison.

If you really want to make a difference, do something about the lobby’s that prevent the next generation of cancer treatments from being researched in the US.  Bring these ground breaking treatments to our shores.  It is time for us to stop watching our loved ones die needlessly and painfully.

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