Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cancer and the Election

First and foremost, I hope that everyone has weathered through Hurricane Sandy safe and sound! 


We are one week away from the 2012 Elections and as I am sure many of you will agree, this has been a long and highly competitive campaign season on many levels, especially in the race for the White House and I hope that each and every one of you who is eligible to do so will take a few minutes out of your day next Tuesday, November 6th and vote, and I hope that you will take some time over the next week to consider the candidates and what each of them stands for and promises to do for our country. 


When considering the candidates, consider this: we have had four and a half hours of Presidential debates, and during those 270 minutes, not once did either candidate make mention of cancer and what they would do, as the leader of this country, to find the answers to this horrible disease that is taking the lives of 11,000 Americans every week. 


These 11,000 Americans are our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and as it were in my case, our children.  Deaths in America from cancer are the equivalent of one of the Twin Towers falling every single day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  In America today if you are 85 years of age or younger, cancer is the leading cause of death and for those between the ages of 30-65, cancer claims more lives than the next three causes combined.  For those 0-14 years old, cancer remains one of the leading causes of death.  It was recently announced that cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States and right here in Monroe County, cancer is the leading cause of death regardless of age, race, or gender!  Many people believe that if we do not do something, by 2016, cancer will be the leading cause of death in America, regardless of age.  From a financial standpoint, cancer is one of the most, if not the most, economically devastating diseases, and finding the answers needs to be a national priority and needs to be moved to the front burner. 


Let’s take a look at some odds:  Odds of dating a supermodel: 1 in 88,000; Odds of bowling the perfect game: 1 in 11,500; Odds of catching a ball at a major league game: 1 in 563; Odds of tripping while texting: 1 in 10; Odds of getting cancer in your lifetime: 1 in 2 men, 1 in 3 women.   These odds are unacceptable.


The answers are going to come through clinical trials.  Where we have made some progress is in childhood cancer, as some 65-70% of all pediatric cancer patients are involved in clinical trials, where in comparison, only 1-3% of adult cancer patients are involved in clinical trials.  If clinical trials are where the answers are going to be found, it is easy to see why we are losing this fight against cancer. 


Since starting CANCER MISSION 2020…THE END OF CANCER BY THE END OF THE DECADE almost two years ago, I have talked to people at every major cancer center in the country.  We know more now than we ever have and we are on the verge of finding the answers, but we need to put our resources into clinical trials and this needs to be a priority for our leaders in government.  If we continue to do things the same way we have been doing them, yet expect different results, that is the true definition of insanity. 


The President’s most important job is to protect the American people.  As American citizens, and as voters, the majority of us having been touched by cancer directly or indirectly, we can no longer bury our heads in the sand and wait for someone else to find the answers to cancer. 


Let’s ask our leaders, and the candidates, what they are going to do to protect the American people from cancer – a disease that not only takes the lives of so many prematurely, but seems to have to humiliate them in the process.  It is time to rekindle the belief and the will in the American people that cancer is a disease that will not be tolerated any longer and can be defeated!


If you agree that we can do better in our fight against cancer, check out www.cancermission2020.com, sign the CANCER MISSION 2020 Petition, download copies of the Petition and collect signatures, and share this information with your family, friends, colleagues, and co-workers.  There is strength in numbers and together, we can put an end to cancer by the end of the decade!


Wishing all of you a safe and Happy Halloween, and don’t forget to vote on Election Day!


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