Thursday, March 22, 2007

Because I Don't Want To Die Before They Get The Money To Find A Cure

Echidne has a post that should be read by everyone whose life has been affected by any sort of serious disease. It's about how the Bush administration is underfunding the NIH (National Institute of Health). The NIH is one of the primary sources of funding for all of the scientific research in this country. It is institution that makes finding cures possible.

I hate mixing medicine and politics but it's really becoming impossible these days. During the Clinton years, funding for the NIH was increased. However, for some reason, the Bush administration decided put a halt to increased scientific research. Not only did they stop increasing the NIH budget, they also decided to cut it.

This has an ENORMOUS impact on those with cancer. This research is the only hope for millions of people like me who will die of cancer unless new treatments are found. Within my lifetime, I have watched Luekemia go from a disease that most people would die from to one that is over 90% curable in children under five years old and highly survivable for others too. From the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

The relative five-year survival rate has more than tripled in the past 46 years for patients with leukemia. In 1960-63, when compared to a person without leukemia, a patient had a 14 percent chance of living five years. By 1975-77, the five year relative survival rate had jumped to 35 percent, and in 1996-2002 the overall relative survival rate was nearly 49 percent.

The survival rate for invasive cervical cancer has also seen great gains.

The five-year survival rate for invasive cervical cancer that is caught at its earliest stage is nearly 100 percent. More advanced cases that haven't spread to the lymph nodes or elsewhere have a 92 percent five-year survival rate, and the overall five-year survival rate for cervical cancer is 73 percent, according to the cancer society.

Thanks to scientific research we can now PREVENT most cases of cervical cancer. The new HPV vaccine Gardasil is only in existence thanks to funding that is now threatened. Is this really the point in history where we want to stop medical research? Just look at some of the latest news in cancer research.

Bone Cancer:
Researchers Find Genetic Link in Bone Cancer
Trial Uses Measles to Kill Bone Marrow Cancer
Molecular Mechanisms in Chrondrosarcoma Metastasis
Outlook For People With Bone Cancer Brighter

Cervical Cancer:
Test Points to Aggressive Cervical Cancer
Combo of Cisplatin & Topotecan Improves Survival in Advanced Cervical Cancer

Prostate Cancer:
Capsaicin causes cancer cell death,
'Inoperable' advanced prostate cancer may be operable, curable,

Uterine Cancer:
Racial gap in uterine cancer survival shrinking
Oral contraceptives and IUDs protect against endometrial cancer

Breast Cancer:
Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) hope for breast cancer

Lung Cancer:
Blood Pressure Drugs May Fight Lung Cancer

Half (around 45%) of the men in the United States will develop some type of cancer within their lifetime. One in four of all US men will die from cancer. One in three US women will develop cancer at some point. One in five US women will die from cancer. These are just the statistics for the entire country. Depending on certain factors, your risk may be much higher than this.

For cancer alone, there are over 4,000 clinical trials that are taking place right now. One of them may hold the cure to the kind of cancer that you or your loved one develops. NIH-funded research has produced amazing results and we're just getting started. Please consider contacting your members of Congress and asking them to support the NIH. This is an issue that affects us all, no matter what political party you prefer. There are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are trying to get the President to properly fund this research, so there's no reason why everyone shouldn't get behind this.


Unknown said...

Thanks for raising awareness!

I am thrilled with the progress we have made with childhood cancers, but we have a long way to go. The overall mortality from cancer has barely budged in the last 60 years.

We need to look at prevention. We know that 80 to 95 percent of cancers have an environmental component, and should, in theory at least, be preventable.

The HPV vaccine can help. Having our homes tested for radon is very important. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and it is entirely preventable. Eating five to nine servings of fruits and veges a day halves the risk of cancer compared to those that consume one to two.

Everyone should know that cancer, in many cases, can be prevented, if we have an awareness and take action. thanks!!!!

Lynne Eldridge M.D.
Author, "Avoiding Cancer One Day At A Time, practical advice on preventing cancer"

bint alshamsa said...

Hello Dr. Eldridge,

Welcome to My Private Casbah. Thank you for commenting.

Everyone should know that cancer, in many cases, can be prevented, if we have an awareness and take action.

This is absolutely essential! Even though there is a lot of promising research looking for new cures and treatments, it's much better not to develop it at all because even if your cancer is curable, getting through the radiation, surgery, and/or chemotherapy is a very daunting odyssey.

Like a lot of other people, I have cancer. However, even those who have/had cancer can benefit from many of these lifestyle changes too. For many kinds of cancer, you can cut the likelihood of having a relapse by adopting healthier practices.

I think we should also understand that social justice comes into play here. Sadly, the least healthy foods are the ones most affordable in many, if not most, parts of this country. In my city, there are farmer's markets where lots of vegetation can be bought but there is no public transportation to get to them and many of these markets can not accept the food stamps that many people rely on in order to have anything to eat each month. So, what we get is an entire class of people who are not able to take advantage of these steps that would help them prevent becoming ill. Unfortunately, they are also the people who are most likely to also belong to the population of Americans who have no health insurance.

We need to start making good healthcare available to everyone and that includes all of the methods of disease prevention.

Kay Olson said...

Excellent post, Bint! Thanks for collecting all this info together.