Friday, September 19, 2014

The Pessimistic Side of Curing Cancer

Two blog posts caught my eye this week on the problems with finding a cure for cancer. There is lots of hoohaa going on with we can cure cancer. There is even the deadline(?) of 2020 to find a cure for breast cancer. But here is a look at the other side of finding a cure for cancer.

The first article is on "Coming Together to Fight Cancer" that lists the five issues involved:
  1. Cancer is not one disease. Its many diseases. 
  2. There is a lot of effort going into treatment - chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Those are not cures. And a lot of the diagnostic advances (CT/PET scans) are also cancer causing tools.
  3. Modern life styles are contributing to cancer rate increases - 10 fold in the last century.
  4. There is not a lot of political will behind it. Politicians only care about the things that get them votes. They may say they support curing cancer, but is there budgetary support behind those words?
  5. Apathy. Those touched by cancer range from rabidly vigilant to fairly laid back on their stance on finding a cure for cancer. But the lack of action prevails.
The next article refers to cancer as "An Unstoppable Killer: New Research Shows Cancer Cant Be Eradicated". Think of it this way. Cancer cells have been known to form going back millennia on the simplest of beings. So if they form on very simple organisms, could they be part of the intrinsic basis of life? If so, can we cure cancer without destroying some of the very basics of life? There is a lot more detail in the article itself so please read it.

Now all that being said, what can we do if we can't eradicate cancer? We can help lower the rates of cancer by returning to simpler lifestyles without chemicals, synthetic food made of chemicals, no tobacco use, more exercise, etc.

What if we tried that? In Australia, there used to be soaring rates of skin cancer. Now there has been a dramatic decline. Why? They started promoting sun screen use, put shades over public pools, encourage people to wear hats etc. That doesn't sound hard does it? A few little changes can make a big difference.

Remember the big hole in the ozone? With the decline in use of aerosols and pollution reductions with the Clean Air Act, the ozone hole is in showing signs of repair.(I read it somewhere this week but of course I cant find it now.)

So lifestyle changes may be able to help decrease cancer rates. If we can't cure it, maybe we need to focus  on decreasing its presence.
So instead of spending billions on expensive medications that might extend a patients life by up to six months, what if those billions were spent on promoting healthier lifestyles and


Christina Macpherson said...

Good article. "decline in skin cancer" in Australia might be misleading.
Increasing deaths in Australia from the rare Merkel's skin cancer.
Fewer deaths from SCC and BCC - that's also because people get treatment early. People are still getting skin cancers - but most of them take action. Australian still basking in sunlight!

Unknown said...

I admire your article! Some people may wonder if medical science has failed in its effort to cope with cancer. Inspite of the tremendous amount of cancer treatment in India, people still die from this disease. We will not be discouraged however, if we will observe the progress that has been made.

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