A Mother and her Two Daughters

03 September 2010

Just Thinking about Cancer

A few days ago I had the pleasure of a telephone call from a long-ago Hendrix classmate.  After we graduated, Gary went on to study medicine and has had a very successful career as an ophthalmologist with the U.S Navy, then in private practice in Virginia.  Over the years we have managed to sporadically stay in touch, and then able to pick up where we left off – like all good friendships. 

Our phone call took place on Tuesday, the day the US officially pulled out of war in Iraq. 

After catching up on life, the world, cancer and families, Gary lamented about the $745 Billion cost of the war in Iraq, and wondered what might have happened if we had dedicated that money to discover a world without cancer – a solid cure or a way to prevent this disease from every invading another body, another life. 

This week I’ve been wondering – What will it cost to find a less invasive cancer cure, or even better, a preventive strategy like a vaccine?  Oh, when will it happen?

Did you know . . .

·      Each year more than 12 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer, and more than eight million people will die from the disease.
·      This year, in 2010, cancer is projected to become the leading cause of death worldwide.
·      Today there are 28 million people around the world living with, surviving from cancer.

When will we decide that 8 million deaths each year are too many?    


Breast cancer affects one in eight women during their lives, with many of these women ultimately having a mastectomy – the surgical removal of one or both breasts. 

Less than one in 100,00 men are struck with penile cancer.  That means that there are very, very few cases of a penectomy – the surgical removal of the penis. 

I’m wondering . . . if one in eight men were faced with penile cancer in their lifetime, would the majority-male Congress be more aggressive in finding a cure? 

I’m not trying to be offensive – just honest, and just asking questions. 


Have you ever asked your Congressional delegation about federal funds directed to cancer research?  Me neither.  But I think I will soon.    

Cancer sure makes my mind think about lots of new things in lots of new ways.  I’m just thinking, I’m just saying . . .

1 comment:

  1. Prostate and testicular cancers... According to cancer.org, in 2009 there were 192,280 (25%) estimated new cases of prostate cancer. There were 192,370 (27%) estimated new cases of breast cancer. But more deaths from breast cancer then prostate cancer. Testicular cancer, I guess, is much lower.



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