It’s that time of year again, where the question I ask gets plenty of people mad at me, from cancer survivors to organizations like the Canadian Cancer Society. The question was first raised by my Dad decades ago, and since he passed away, that mantle of inquiry has been passed on to me. It’s an important one, so here we go, I have my bunker built and my flame-retardant underwear on.
“Where does all the funding go for cancer research?”
I ask this question because I am dissatisfied with the progress we have made since war was supposedly declared on cancer back in 1971. Actually, dissatisfied is not the word I’m looking for. I’m disgusted and very pissed off from the ROI to find a cure through generous donations made by people like myself.
Over the last 40+ years I’ve seen family members and friends die from this disease. I see the same god-awful treatments — chemotherapy and radiation — being used that are in some cases worse than the disease. All of this is happening despite the billions (perhaps close to trillions now?) raised through events such as the Terry Fox Run. My dad, the originator of this question, asked me, “all this money being raised and we have no cure? Where the hell does it go?”. That’s a great question, Dad. Where the hell does it go?
I’m going to get the same responses: Cancer is a complex problem so it takes time, cancer is not a single disease but several similar types, the money raised is not enough for funding research.
I get it that cancer is a complex problem but so was space travel, making mobile computers and dealing with other diseases. We seem to have done pretty good with those things but our progress in cancer treatment could be best be described as a snail’s crawl.
I get it that there is more than one type of cancer so you can’t create a magic bullet to deal with all of them, but there’s not been a magic bullet created to deal with even one. Go ahead, tell me which cancer is curable. I’ll answer, “Zero”, despite the disgusting amount of money spent on it for over 40 years.
What I don’t get is the statement that cancer research needs more generous donations in order to actually produce something fruitful. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I won’t even dignify that reasoning with a reply other than to say it’s just plain stupid to believe that. The amount of money we have raised already and the return we’ve gotten for that investment makes me want to throw up.
The biggest joke of them all is that the focus of fundraisers is moving away from cure to prevention. How can you prevent yourself from getting cancer? It’s caused by a genome mutation and aggravated by environmental conditions. You can eat properly and do not smoke, drink, or take drugs and still get cancer.
The cancer fundraising and research industry is one based on the misery of the unfortunate who get cancer. On top of that, don’t think for a minute pharmaceuticals and oncologists want a cure. Why do you think they get snarky at any attempt to pursue alternative/holistic medicine?
Give more money to the Terry Fox campaign? Don’t make me laugh. Show me something substantial that was done with the money and maybe I’ll consider it. Until then, reduce your administrative overhead, stop hiring celebrities that want big bucks to promote your cause, and consolidate and streamline your research vectors to avoid wasteful duplication.
That’s my take on this issue.