Each morning I dedicate time to “coffee and causes,” signing petitions and clicking to “donate” to organizations I support. Today I read a petition from the Conquer Cancer Foundation seeking additional funding because, in the foundation’s words:
“Lack of funding for cancer research is a growing problem in the United States. The innovations we need to cure cancer rely on the ongoing research of dedicated scientists. And we need to make sure these researchers are getting the tools they need to succeed.”
Check out the names prominently displayed on the wall in the above photo found on Conquer Cancer Foundation’s Facebook page: Amgen (multinational biopharmaceutical company); AstraZeneca (global biopharmaceutical company); Abbvie (yep, another biopharmaceutical company). Profit-wise, they’re making out OK, says Alexander Eichler in his The Huffington Post article:
“Prescription drug companies aren’t putting a lot of resources toward new, groundbreaking medication, according to a recent report in BMJ, a medical journal based in London. Instead, it’s more profitable for them to simply to create a bunch of products that are only slightly different from drugs already on the market, the reports authors said.
“[P]harmaceutical research and development turns out mostly minor variations on existing drugs,” the authors write. “Sales from these drugs generate steady profits throughout the ups and downs of blockbusters coming off patents.”
The authors go on to say that for every dollar pharmaceutical companies spend on “basic research,” $19 goes toward promotion and marketing.
And apparently it’s been working. Drug company revenues climbed more than $200 billion in the years between 1995 and 2010, according to the website MinnPost.” (“Pharmaceutical Companies Spent 19 Times More On Self-Promotion Than Basic Research: Report.” The Huffington Post website. Updated 5/8/2013)
Did I sign their petition? No. I wrote them the following letter:
Cancer researchers have been teasing us for 40 years that they’re “this” close to finding a cure for cancer. Well, cancer remains the #2 killer in the US after 40 years and there’s not a cure in sight. Reductionist studies to find the one gene responsible for this or that cancer, well, where has it gotten us? When the cancer researchers/industry came out with the mutant gene carried by women more prone to breast cancer, they started hacking off their breasts without the whole picture concerning this gene. Disturbing? Horrifying.
It’s a commitment gene, meaning it needs a negative lifestyle habit like eating an animal-based diet (studies have proven again and again that animal protein CAUSES CANCER) to “hook up” with to develop cancer. Why doesn’t everyone know this? Why are you allowing women to amputate their breasts when a prescription of a healthy, organic, whole food, plant-based lifestyle is a powerful preventative measure to keep that gene from activating (without horrible physical and emotional side effects).
As someone living with rheumatoid arthritis I know that arthritis research gets FAR less funding than cancer that, admit it, rakes in loads of money to conduct research that continues to promote toxic drugs and major surgery. Did you know that arthritis in all its forms is the #1 disability in the country? I can’t sign a petition to fund studies that further mislead, misinform and keep people in the dark about the powerful role nutrition plays in preventing cancer; all diseases, actually, including those under the umbrella of mental illness (I also live with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder). Talk about an important health issue that lacks funding, understanding, and respect.
(I’m indebted to T. Colin Campbell and Howard Jacobson’s Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition and Dr. Neal Barnard’s Power Foods for the Brain for the information included in my letter.)