Why Breast Cancer?

breastfeedinglargeWhy make curing breast cancer a priority when only 1% of the cases affect men? Fair question.

Irony.

Cancer of the most beautiful and natural symbol of unconditional love, the source of mother’s milk, is caused by the chemical pollution man dumped on mother earth during the last century. That’s right, man. With hubris and ignorance, driven unabashed by greed toward  innovation without regard for risk, we poisoned our wives, our children and ourselves.

The last century’s men also invented industrial poisons that have, and continue to contribute to, many other deadly cancers. I could pause now and list how the innovation also led to improvement to lives, but that is well known. I could pause now and list the toxic chemicals or cite the proof – document links follow for you to come to your own conclusions.

These self-inflected toxins are still in the water we drink, the foods we eat and the air we breathe. For the generations alive right now, it is too late to simply remove them. Just as it is too late to reverse the effects of damage to our ozone that causes skin cancer. While we owe it to earth’s future to stop and begin to undo the damage we caused, the only way to save ourselves is to find the cures.

Let me say that again, the ONLY way we can save ourselves is to find the cures.

Much good work is being done. Governments around the planet fund most of the research – by a huge margin. But, as you might suspect, most of the research funding decisions by government involves politics. In what district is the research facility? Which pharmaceutical company will profit from the research, and how much did they contribute to my campaign? Will the findings be bad for business? Does the university have a proven (code for conservative that follow private patents) approach? Did we fund it last year and did I get any grief?

This is where organizations such as Susan G. Komen Foundation come in. Funded only by contributions and non-pharma sponsors, they have invested more than a billion dollars in research and training researchers since 1982. Their decisions, under the direction of Komen’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr Eric Winer and a Scientific Advisory Board, to fund research is non-political. While they support many established programs of research, they also look, and often fund, emerging research that has promise outside the mainstream. This includes smaller research programs that don’t have the political clout to gain favor in Washington. Programs that innovate in ways that don’t always involve patents lasting long enough for Wall Street.

It may well be that these boutique programs find the magic to un-do what we’ve done to ourselves. Programs that allow some of our most brilliant researchers to follow paths that may lead to the cure instead of giving in to the financial realities of entrenched research paths. Programs that sustain paths of research that would be otherwise abandoned. Programs that don’t just sustain lives, but cure cancer (there will be a story in a few days about those who profit by sustaining lives, but for marketing reasons don’t want a cure).

This is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. For those of you reading the Dew who may wonder why we care, this is why: I want my wife to live, my daughter cured and I don’t want my granddaughters poisoned. Irony. Hard to appreciate, but real. Volunteer. Donate. Care. Support. Get involved. But don’t just stand there complacent. You’ve been poisoned already.

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