In 2011 somewhere between the time my mother had been diagnosed with cancer and when she actually succumbed to the disease, a group of ladies and I met a woman named Sandy Muller. Sandy had been a breast cancer survivor. As we sat with Sandy, she told us that prior to being diagnosed with cancer, she had a thriving life and career. She had a home, a car, insurance, and all the makings of a “secure” life. After being diagnosed with cancer, Sandy told us she immediately fell into misfortune. Being unable to work because of health reasons and chemo treatments she fell behind in her financial obligations. When she sought help through cancer organizations, this is when she realized that research organizations were not in place to help those suffering from the loss of cancer right NOW. They were set up for the purpose of research to find a cure that could perhaps help future cancer diagnoses. Not so surprisingly, it was news to all of us as well. After all, we usually don’t consider a need until we are the ones in need. But what of the people suffering right here, right now, today.
This post is purely my personal and somewhat bias perspective on the matter of cancer from my own experience of dealing with it. I certainly understand if you do not agree particularly because I am not interested in achieving any consensus on the matter. I’m just merely expressing my opinion about it. So here goes. . .
Many of the largest and well known cancer organizations are solely for research purposes. Many people don’t realize that they are not donating to help those who are suffering through this disease right now. This includes myself prior to hearing Sandy’s story. You are donating to fund research in hopes, yes hopes, that one day they might find a cure sometime in the (hopefully) near future. In the meantime, you get to pay the salaries of overpaid scientist, research physicians, pharmacist, and a host of others. In the meantime, the largest plight of this disease is the dis-Ease of having to stress over being constantly harassed by debt collectors, having your home foreclosed, and your vehicle reposed, being stripped of your ease of mind that could be an essential determining factor of your survival. Finally, it is having doctors, nurses, insurance companies, the government, family, friends and all of those around you determining the value of your life, either directly or indirectly. And this can certainly be a devaluing experience, as was the case with my own mother.
I personally do not trust research organizations or their ties to pharmaceutical companies.
Research uses cancer patients as guinea pigs and I will not knowingly advocate for any such organization. They place cancer patients in programs that gives them access to “free” cancer treatment for the many without insurance. Programs also known as “new cancer drugs we’re testing to see if they work”. And let’s face it, most individuals who end up with cancer don’t have the money to fight the disease. So free is always good right?
Like other things, it is a sad truth, organizations are biased and racist. Not all of them, perhaps but I don’t know which is or which isn’t. When it all boils down, a single doctor who works with the organization is responsible for deciding whether your cancer riddled life is worthy of preservation. And like so many other important roles and professions in life, it’s just a job and many individuals have become some numb to the process that they see it as a decision that they have to make everyday; nothing more. They become this all-knowing professional figure known for having the infamous, god complex.
Do you really know where that money is going? Because from where I’m standing it appears that the cancer epidemic is only getting worst. And I’m not really concerned with whether or not it is truly an epidemic. If you are, then you miss my point. Just compare the facts and figures from 2014 to those of 2015 alone and you’ll see what I mean. There is not much change at all and in some states (Mississippi, Georgia, Montana, Indiana) it has even increased.
American Cancer Society Facts and Figures 2014
American Cancer Society Facts and Figures 2015
Because of the very personal experience that I’ve had with cancer, cancer research organization cannot have any of my energy. I’ve fought that battle and Universe willing, may it never affect my life again; not this one and not the next. On the other side of this perspective, I proudly donate to organizations that provide assistance for individuals currently battling cancer. Those individuals who cannot work and thus cannot afford to pay their regular monthly bills even if insurance is covering their cancer treatment. If you know of any, I encourage you to share them.
The cure for cancer will not be discovered in the confines of some research facility. It will be discovered in the soul of the collective acting on behalf of a greater humanity. It will be found in the care in which we treat our fellow human spirited individuals no matter how much we are being paid not to care. We will see it as we look upon those individuals that look like us as opposed to looking like a bird or a snake or a tree or a rock, those individuals that are made up of all the same stuff of the universe that we are made of; As we see God in them and thus in ourselves, so then will we discover the truest cure to not only cancer but all dis-Ease.