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Lance Armstrong - Fighting for Us

JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi All:

With 1 out of 2 Americans affected by cancer, you would think that research funding should be increased, not decreased? See this article below, I copied this in from CNN's web site. You can join the fight by contacting your elected representatives.

Now that there are new shariffs in charge in Congress, I am hopeful that they will pay more attention to domestica issues - like Americans dying at home. I am warming up my keyboard to write to Mike Honda, Barbara Boxer, Diane Feinstein and not the least, our new leader in the House, Nancy Pelosi.

You too can join Lance at the podium on this one!


By Lance Armstrong
Special to CNN
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Lance Armstrong, one of cycling's all-time greats and possibly the world's best known cancer survivor, founded the Lance Armstrong Foundation with the goal of inspiring and empowering people with cancer. He now campaigns for more government funds for cancer research and treatment.

AUSTIN, Texas (CNN) -- I'm not known for my patience. Patience is a polite quality and often appropriate, but it rarely gets things done. Impatience, however, is the hunger for results and intolerance for excuses and delays. Impatience got me over countless mountain passes, across the finish line in New York City and through four rounds of ruthless chemotherapy 10 years ago.

Yet this election season I patiently waited to hear a candidate for office explain to constituents what he or she planned to do about one of the leading threats to the health and well-being of all Americans -- cancer. My patience was greeted with silence.

Cancer will impact one in two men and one in three women in their lifetime. It is devastating and it is pervasive. In fact, every year 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer.

Thankfully, our country has made tremendous progress in this fight and produced remarkable advances in the way we prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. Today, in many cases, we can humbly say that cancer is no longer a death sentence. The medical advances achieved by our nation's best doctors and researchers have given us reasons to hope.

But in spite of this vast body of knowledge, 1,500 people will die from cancer today and tomorrow and the day after that, often because the care they needed to prevent cancer or survive it was not available to them.

However, our nation's second-leading killer did not make the list of issues that our candidates used to get people to the polls last November. Anyone with a television or access to a newspaper can list the ballot box issues that occupied our candidates' attention -- they range from bickering to very real concerns and challenges.

The political ads didn't tell voters that earlier in the year funding for cancer research was cut for the first time in 30 years. Nor did they explain that a lack of funding slows the pace of scientific discovery and the development of treatments. Our candidates did not mention the decrease in funding for programs that provide information and screening to people who need these services. I think this is unwise, but it is what our government has done this past year. I waited patiently for an explanation, some clarification or justification. Ten million cancer survivors deserve an answer. We didn't get one.

It is true that state and federal budgets are constrained by many important responsibilities. But cancer doesn't care about that.

It is time to hold our leaders accountable. It remains to be seen if the change in power on Capitol Hill will affect the fight against cancer. In two years we will elect a new president. We cannot predict the actions of any of our elected officials, but we can say for sure that when it comes to cancer their silence is unacceptable.

Patient people may accept the status quo, but the status quo isn't working for us. Instead, we need to stubbornly hold our leaders accountable and we need the courage to ask tough questions of our elected officials. Few issues facing our government are more personal or more critical than the health of our citizens. What are we going to do to effectively fight cancer? Millions of Americans with cancer are asking.

I'm not known for my patience. When it comes to cancer, I hope you aren't either.

What is your take on this commentary? E-mail us

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the writer. This is part of an occasional series of commentaries on CNN.com that offers a broad range of perspectives, thoughts and points of view.

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JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Beverly:

I think you hit the nail squarely on the head. Lots of people are in denial or simply ignorant about cancer. Truth be told, I was both myself. Cancer just wasn't something I wanted to think about and never associated it with me. I can understand this in a lay person. But for public health professionals and people who are in positions to change things - I agree with you and Lisa, there's so little general information on prevention and early screening.

Having said that, I think this country has made a lot of progress. After all, most women who have insurance now do get routine mammogram. We just need to work for the future when people would have equal awareness for colonoscopy.

The thing your brother-in-law said is absolutely insane!!! It shows that some public health information is sorely needed by the public. Again, I think progress has been made, just not enough. In San Jose airport there is a huge bulletin board on colonoscopy, starring the daughter of the ex-CEO of AT&T who died of CRC.

The thing about the three-legged stool - for some of us, it's mostly just one leg. For all the folks w/ HNPCC, the hereditary genetic mutation, they are at such high risk that environment and diet end up playing a much smaller role. I think SpongeBob has it. I do too. I would love to see the day when people like us will be able to do early colonoscopies. After all, HNPCC can be detected with a blood test. Once someone is tested positive, we should be able to get insurance paid early colonoscopies. Now wouldn't that be nice!?

But hey, let's not give up on the system. Without Senators Kennedy and Kassebaum, I probably wouldn't have health insurance right now. So, let's join Lance and get our voice heard!


scouty's picture
Posts: 1976
Joined: Apr 2004

This doesn't surprise me. We've decreased spending on education for years now and now wonder why our kids are ranked 24th in the world. How else can we afford to spend billions a week in a few countries fighting for something that is probably never going to happen?

I also think here in the US we are brainwashed into not realizing our cancer rates are the highest in the world for almost every cancer. Why is that?????? Something is causing it and if it is the 3 things that Babs mentions then why don't we hear more about preventions!!!!!!!! More people are getting cancer now then ever (fewer are dying which is good)....why are more getting it????

Because big business and big pharma can't make money if it is prevented and if you don't think illness and disease is a huge profit making business, just check out the Sunday want ads for the pages of jobs in the health industry. The country with the most sofisticated medical facilities is also the sickest on the planet. Go figure.

I will also write my congressmen and women but given their allegiances with Bush and spending even more in Irag, they will ignore them (no I did NOT vote for any of them).

Lisa P. who wishes someone would declare a real war on cancer so it can be all over the media outlets constantly educating people on preventions.

JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

Hi Scouty:

Totally agree with you on our nation's resources being mis-allocated, especially on the point of education and public health.

It is really insane when you think about the $3000 colonoscopy to catch a polyp early and perhaps prevent a $120,000 chemo regimen down the road. It makes no sense at all. Our capitalist system evolves around profits - so some sustainable prevention business will have come into being. I see the beginning of it in the meteoric rise of the whole foods phenomanon and the growing supplements, vitamins industry, and the fitness industry. What's lacking so badly is information and public health policy!

I am proud to say that the Governator of CA just proposed universal insurance coverage for all Californians. I hope this will enable more people to practice prevention and catch diseases early. But CA is just one state in our Union.

I think we are the people to declare a war on cancer - it's not academic to us any more. You are exactly right about writing your congress people. Another way to get involved is through the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

So Lisa, sounds like you're responsible for the election results in Nov :-)


nanuk's picture
Posts: 1363
Joined: Dec 2003

everything is being cut everywhere..to pay for the senseless war in Iraq.

JADot's picture
Posts: 720
Joined: Jan 2006

...and don't forget the 10s of billion dollars of government subsidies to the oil industry.

But hey, let's all join Lance and fight it! The great American Democracy worked its magic last November at the polls. We can hold our elected officials accountable, for our citizens' well being - health being a big part, and colon cancer being the #3 killer of Americans.

Hope you're well Bud!!!


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