Revised from essay first written for Redflagsdaily.com

Everyone wants a cure?  Last week a television commercial said this line while promoting the sale of something “pink” during this breast cancer awareness month sham.

Does everyone include?

  • Drug companies who charge outrageous fees for chemotherapy and drugs.
  • Makers of radiation equipment who do mammograms and then treat cancer
  • Non profit organizations that have zillions amount of money and still no cure in sight.
  • Major government institutions supported by you and me ignoring environmental breast cancer risks?
  • All the manufacturers of pink products
  • The farming industry’s use of hormones and antibiotics and pesticides
  • Universities sponsoring clinical trials comparing one drug to another and getting 1 more month of life and viewing it as progress.  (All paid for by all of us)
  • A cosmetic industry going “pink” at the same time using known estrogen mimickers and xenoestrogens suspicious of adding to breast cancer risk.

What attracted me to redflagsdaily in the first place was an article entitled Cancer Opportunities for the Millennium.  It almost made me throw up.  Could our good old system of American capitalism be perpetuating a disease for which there is no cure just to make money?  Absurd many would say.  I’m just not so sure.  Having studied breast cancer for nine years (15 Now) , and having seen what women go through for the “sake of the cure” indeed makes me a cynic.  Put everything together from the drug sponsors of Breast cancer awareness month (pesticide manufacturers) to buried medical research questioning some standards of care in breast cancer, all of this could make me into a raving lunatic.

Every survivor of breast cancer is indeed a special human being, and all of us have a bond to one another.  Having said that, there are situations in the survivor population that upset me too.  I’ll never forget the nice looking woman in the oncologist’s office standing there with her wig on with such a smile on her face.  She was just making the best of a bad situation.  But this woman exuded to me the concept of do anything you want with me; I’ll keep on smiling.   I had such an opposite reaction.  I’m standing there shaking in my boots with probably a frown on my face thinking are they going to try to kill me in the name of a cure?  Especially in medicine, going along with the program is rewarded in so many ways.  I used to be a public speaker and welcomed those opportunities.  Has anyone in my community asked me to speak publically about my experiences with breast cancer.   The answer is No.  I’m too controversial.  And I refused the standard of care (which by the way saved my life–Thank you God)

Another way to ignore the big problem of no cure is to involve the general public in mass with walks and pink ribbons.  A lot of money is raised that hasn’t changed the survival rate at all for metastatic breast cancer.  Sometimes the statistics do show progress, but how nice to detect minuscule tumors, remove them, and extend survival for everyone.

But with all those walks, skips, and marathons the public feels connected.  They are involved.  But nothing really has to change.

And another gripe I have some of the celebrity stories of survival.  They seem to even glorify the very treatments that are barbaric.  Why would anyone want change?  Everything seems fairly well tied up to me:

  • So many corporations and organizations capitalizing on this disease.
  • A lot of survivors just going along with the program no questions asked.
  • The general public manipulated into helping maintain the status quo.
  • The celebrities legitimizing it all

Nothing has to change does it?  I’d say those cancer opportunities just keep on coming.  And it will keep on happening until people say “wait a minute.”  Just what are we doing here?  Are we doing the best we can do to find cause and cure for breast cancer?  Are we holding organizations and corporations responsible for the money that is raised to be used in productive ways?  Are we using treatments that reflect a reverence for not just life, but also for the quality of life?  Is anyone doing research outside the box of acceptable treatments?  We as survivors have the right to look at the broader scope of cancer treatment.  We should not be made to look like fools, because we do not accept the status quo.

It seems to me that medicine and breast cancer research is looking more and more like The Emperor with No Clothes.   But that emperor’s clothes cost a bundle of money, and are surrounded by pink and a lot of rhetoric.  But the bottom line here is that there is still no cure for metastatic breast cancer.  And there continues to be countless suffering by more and more younger women.  The only people that really want a cure are the survivors themselves.  And in the big scheme of things, we are definitely a minority.

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