A while back, the world heard about Ashley Kirilow. A 23-year-old woman arrested for faking cancer to encourage others to give her money. This is shameful and deplorable. Stealing money from good Samaritans. Stealing money from those who need it.
So, why not arrest the biggest profit making not-for-profit in the world for stealing money too?
The word cancer applies to some 200 diseases associated with uncontrolled cell growth.
The research and development for the disease is associated with another cancer – greed.
With the billions upon billions of dollars invested into this business, there has been shockingly little progress.
For instance, in the United States, from 1950 to 2005, cancer’s death rate fell by five per cent, possibly due mostly to the decline in cigarette smoking, and perhaps our vigilance with early detection. Interestingly, the death rate from heart disease declined by 64 per cent in the same period.
Cancer mortality rates are ironically living strong.
And this drop is barely a dent compared to the financial Grand Canyon that has been spent on research.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting is the world’s largest gathering of cancer specialists. This year it expects over 30,000 cancer specialists from around the world – people considered thought leaders and influencers.
This number has been increasing over the past decades, along with the revenue of pharmaceuticals, drug manufacturers, and cancer research and development.
At the oncology meeting, hundreds of drug companies are in attendance, handing the influencers their studies and invitations to their frou-frou parties.
Their drugs often cost hundreds to thousands of dollars per dose, contributing to the billions of dollars they make each year that helps fund the frou-frou parties. For the most part, the health most positively affected here, is the health of certain bank accounts.
Erbitux, which sells in Europe, actually extends the life of lung cancer patients by approximately one month, and is priced at 17,000 USD a month.
Matt Cook, an Olympian, and inspirational Canadian, fought the same cancer that his teammates fought, treated with the same medicine his teammates received – over 20 years before him.
He died last April.
Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada. And as the population ages, it is estimated that 40 per cent of Canadian women and 45 per cent of men will develop it. Approximately, one out of every four Canadians is expected to die from cancer.
How many people are in your family? More than four? How many friends do you have? More than four?
How invincible are you?
None of this is to infer that we should not spend money on cancer. On the contrary, we need to spend more. The Canadian government allocates about $400 million a year to cancer research, and the American government about $5 billion. Of course, this does not include money fundraised by hospitals and charities.
But not only do we need to spend more, we need to spend more wisely.
Why are we using the same medications we used decades ago to treat the same problems?
Why are we not advancing at the same pace as we are in plastic surgery and computer technology?
Why are we not exploring natural solutions as much as we should?
They are out there.
For example, in the 1800s a miracle (natural) drug was discovered to help relieve pain: willow bark. A derivative of this miracle drug is now one of the top-five selling over-the-counter drugs in the world: acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin).
And as much as Aspirin may help the pain, if we can avoid the pain, that is even better.
Money must be put into prevention; this includes proper education for healthy eating and living.
When Frosted Flakes runs an advertising campaigning that costs $40 million a year, or McDonald’s an ad campaign that costs $800 million a year, how do broccoli and exercise compete with that?
Something is not right. Something must be done. Too many people are dying senseless, brutal deaths, and too much money is being made at their expense.
In the war on cancer, have we lost the battle to consumerism?