What’s the #1 thing you can do to help someone with cancer. UNDERSTANDING. Understanding of the politics of cancer and funding, and through that understanding helping to create awareness of THEIR plight in this conundrum.
How can we really create a change in the health of our population and help people with cancer, prevent the disease and even cure it. We need….. a true shift in our focus as a society from treatment of disease to prevention of it. But how can we really do this?
Research is essential, but consider this: Last year the drug/pharma industry was worth over 363 BILLION dollars. That’s a LOT of zeros. We all think of people like your sister, mother, aunt, friend, etc. when we donate or walk for “Pink” Causes. Because we know someone who has suffered, right? Please know that pink funding almost completely bypasses those going through this illness.
But in 2005, You Can Thrive! a charity focused on a new prevention and relief paradigm began it’s grassroots effort to provide access to health resources in NYC. It was founded because it was unimaginable to another survivor, that people had to endure this breast cancer journey without a safe, affordable space to heal, and receive holistic services and the preventative resources needed to recover affordably and permanently.
How can we leave the women, our sisters and mothers to suffer? If we do not nurture the nurturers, how can they pass their lessons and healthier habits on to the next generation? If we do nurture them YOU CAN BET they will, it’s what women DO.
This is how we can affect incidence and mortality of breast cancer. Once our focus shifts so will the health of our population. But healthier people– isn’t very profitable is it?
SO WHAT, LETS DO THIS!!
READ THIS ARTICLE WASHINGTON POST Last year big pharma spent more on marketing/advertising and for entertainment for doctors and medical industry than it did on RESEARCH. Why? Because a huge percentage of our charity money funds drug research, and pharma’s bottom line. Additionally, $150 Million a year from US taxpayers comes in from the Department of Defense alone. BCRF has raised more than $500 Million in it’s quest, and Komen has given $685 million for research in the past 30 years and spends a vast amount on Mammograms and new machines (while owning stock in General Electric). All money raised is so hopeful, yet where is the progress?
How do you take well intended charitable donations, and end up with corporate profits? There are many ways that corporations profit from cancer as well. Just search PinkWashing. But we still focus on the CURE, right?
Ask yourself this, do you really believe that an industry that makes over 5 billion dollars off a single breast cancer drug is going to cure the disease tomorrow, or anytime soon? We see that those scientists who are researching natural cures, they are not being funded. There is no patentable/evidence based profits in their work, though it could have great promise for patients.
The important questions: How do we cure cancer, or fist reduce the rates and help ease suffering?
Ok, SOME research and screening is important, but so is perspective.
Have you heard?
Mammograms do nothing to effect mortality from breast cancer. Billions of dollars spent on research and screening, yet the breast and other cancer rates and mortality just rise and rise. Right?
But in NYC in the past ten years, we have the BEST record of any large city in the nation for a drop in mortality equally for black women and white women. The best. We are a model city. Since 2005 You Can Thrive has been running and working with doctors and hospitals to help patients access helpful services… coincidence?
In that time, since there is little funding, our community has worked together as volunteers to help train women with cancer how to heal through a unique multidisciplinary model including stress reduction, symptom reduction through integrative resources, and nutritional education and handholding. All women get equal access to this, and many many over the years have confided that they never had a massage or acupuncture, they never meditated or did consistent exercise. Many of these low-income women were crippled with side effects, and many of them were facing dying alone and in pain. Some even thought that Kentucky Fried Chicken was good nutrition!
Just imagine yourself a survivor going through treatments and suffering. Little relief once you’re diagnosed. Huge side effects. Huge co-pays for chemo drugs. Even more financial stress. Almost no support with basic costs or integrative and direct services. Perhaps you’ll find a support group, or a day to “Look Good, Feel Better”, a website with some prevention info, and another and another…..which to believe? You might get some free cosmetics, or even possibly a wig. The hospital has a social worker or someone to help you navigate care. You could get that if you search, but you are guaranteed to get years of enduring suffering, side effects and financial stress in paying for all treatments/insurance etc.
You’ll almost always get the added stress of more than a year off work (few can work through the main chemotherapies and surgeries). You get to run around seeking another and another type of treatment, with little money or time for self-care practices. You will long for a break, something to help you get your life back. You often will lose everything you’ve worked for, and possibly your life after a long enduring battle. Even if do you search and find a small one-time ($250.) monetary grant to help— they ask you you to submit your medical bills and reimburse the doctors.
So let’s ask this: Why do we spend so little to provide real hands on help to the patients
going through this?
Even many private women’s foundations state “we don’t support disease specific causes." PINK is so prevalent, they think there is plenty of money for these women. Yet, when you read the grant requests from most major breast cancer funders, they are written to exclude programs that do not take place in hospitals to give diagnostics, or are not research based. Education is basically spent on making snappy websites and ‘raising awareness’ not hands on education and helpful nutritional services. In our efforts we’ve learned so much about our funding streams and the politics of cancer. So this just to pass this information on to you as food for thought.
Possible solutions? Understanding! It is PEOPLE who get cancer. So. Perhaps the drug companies and medical institutions can spend a little more of their own profits on the drug research which creates future profits? Maybe the cancer research fundraisers and wealthier organizations would consider those who go through this disease daily, and for whom a cure comes too late and create one small fund for them? Maybe this article and others like it will raise awareness so that donors consider this when giving?
If we take just a fraction of what we spend on research and spend it wisely on prevention, with oversight, we could significantly reduce both mortality and rising rates of cancer in our population. Right now we spend on research with no oversight. Check! Solution at hand?
Thanks to #AvonFoundation for Women for hearing our call for supportive care funding and providing it! Thanks to the many cutting edge doctors and hospitals who support integrative aftercare and prevention education for people already diagnosed. Thanks to the those who are Pink for People and give to organizations who support women with cancer. Thanks to you for reading this and for rethinking the pinking. Consider where your donation has the most effect. Prevention is the cure.