Is Awareness the replacement for innovation?
I have just watched Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business Part II and at the end of the film Dr Julian Whitaker, MD, says something along the lines that the ‘out-reach of Awareness doesn’t cure the disease’. WOW that phrase really made me think.
Breast cancer has become about Awareness, but where is the serious work to cure the disease? I mean really cure it, not just come up with another treatment to make money. He quotes the innovations of insulin and penicillin which took much of the fear out of having type 1 Diabetes or pneumonia because they were genuine innovations that produced genuine results to control or beating these diseases.
Awareness is doing anything about curing breast cancer, or any other disease. It puts some people in fear of their lives and could contribute to a decision to have a mastectomy a la Angelina Jolie (her informed choice so it is right for her). It may lead to some earlier diagnoses of BC, but that, in itself, is not a guarantee of the disease not returning and progressing. So where are the treatments as effective for BC as insulin has been for diabetes, or penicillin for pneumonia? Where?
Awareness has become something of a smoke screen for genuine innovation in finding treatments for BC. It is almost as though the Pink Ribbon has become the crucifix of the BC movement (apologies for those of other religions), as though a faith in the power of The Ribbon can give you salvation and a life free of BC; that you can be saved by faith in the Pink Ribbon alone. All the Pink Ribbons in the world; all the Pink Buckets of Southern fried chicken, the Pink tote bag, T-shirt or jewellery and all the Awareness in the world will not help you when the diagnosis is made that the cancer has spread and is now considered incurable.
I was aware of breast cancer. My mother had breast cancer and a mastectomy at about the age I am now. My awareness didn’t help me. I found the lump in my breast when I was 47 years old but even then, if doctors had listened they would have known that my cancer was already incurable. Maybe if they had done something 5 years before that when a cancer marker showed I might have breast cancer (though it was done pre-hysterectomy and for gynae reasons) and I kept telling doctors that my mother had breast cancer THEN they might have been able to do something. So where was the awareness of the medical profession? Awareness is not a cure. It is not a treatment. It is not a guarantee that everything will be ok just as long as you are aware of the symptoms. But then not all symptoms are equal – BC Awareness preaches about The Lump, but what if you have Inflammatory Breast Cancer which does not present with The Lump. How often is that mentioned? Just because that form of the disease, like Male Breast Cancer, is less common it still can kill. ONE death is a tragedy.
Why has science become so protective of itself and so sure that it knows it all. Are they always right? How about COPERNICUS who said that the earth was round and moved around the sun and which he outlined in 1514 and published in 1543, but how long before this became accepted? Well over 150 years from the publication of the book.
I do not know if Burzynski has made a great breakthrough in treating cancer, but his work deserves serious attention. I know that anecdotal evidence is not considered to be proof, but for me the fact that so many have been treated with good outcomes stands for a lot. I have never heard Burzynski claim to have found a ‘cure’ for all cancer, let alone any specific variant of the disease, but his treatment is very effective for many of his patients who can often only have his treatment when chemo and radiation have already failed. There seems to be one rule for one, and one for another in the world of cancer treatment, with the goal posts being moved accordingly. As for the expense of the Burzynski treatments. A woman in the film says that she was discussing the cost with the mother of a child who was having chemo which cost $800,000 a month, in comparison to $10,000 this woman was being charged by Burzynski. Insurance companies in the US routinely will not cover treatment in the Burzynski Clinic but will fund chemo which costs an extra $790,000.
I am not a lab rat. I am not a statistic. I am a person with incurable cancer who wants the governments, and the government agencies, of the world to put my life ahead of where they are going to get their next job when they are voted out of office, or where the biggest donation is coming from for their election campaigns. After all they are democratically elected in this country, and many others. In short they are elected by people, no matter how naïve that may sound. They may wonder why they are held in such contempt these days … go figure!
Burzynski: Cancer Is Serious Business Part II can be seen for free between 13 – 20 July 2013.