Friday, January 12, 2007
"War on cancer" continues
Over the past several days, I have been consumed by stories on cancer, your stories. So many of you shared them on this blog. One of our very first posts was from Julianne, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. It is so emblematic of how far we have come. Many years ago, while she was pregnant, she learned she had cervical cancer and had to undergo a radical hysterectomy. She lost her baby. Wrenching. But recently, her own 9-year-old daughter was able to receive the cervical cancer vaccine and be protected. I am sure Julianne wanted to make sure her own daughter would never suffer the same heartbreak and tragedy. Brava, Julianne. Other posters Javier Diaz and Vicki Childers reminded us that simply getting screened is not as easy as it sounds. They want to do the right thing, but simply cannot afford it. Vicki instead keeps her fingers crossed.

There were so many posts suggesting that our money would be better spent on fighting cancer than a war in Iraq. Lee in Atlanta, Georgia, didn't agree, admonishing us to take a course in economics. Nick from Telluride, Colorado, took issue with the use of military metaphors. Of course Nick, it was a former president who first declared "war" on cancer: Richard Nixon, in 1971. And, surely the head of many major cancer institutions, including the National Cancer Institute, have followed suit. Peg, in Saratoga Springs, New York, reminded us that cancer can "put up a helluva fight" as she described her own "battle." Geri, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, told us to light a torch for pediatric cancer and Andy from North Ireland pleaded for us to point out that cancer is truly a global struggle. Of course, he is right: Cancer does not respect any boundaries, and no one is immune.

Lance Armstrong and I spoke on the phone last night. Judging from the flood of calls and e-mails to his foundation and to CNN, we know something has happened here. Cancer, something people don't typically speak about in polite conversation, came flooding out. People are so eager to share their stories. Eager to soak up as much knowledge as possible about this disease they call the beast. The stories and the courage are so inspiring. Now it's time to plan the next step. This is where you come in. How do we keep the focus and interest on cancer? Many of you talked about wanting to help. What do you have in mind and how can organizations like CNN and the Livestrong Foundation better do their job? We want to hear from you.

Don't forget to watch Saving Your Life, Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. E.T.
There are a number of possible justifications for use of the "war" metaphor in addressing complex challenges like cancer. "Nixon said it first", however, is probably not the most compelling.
I am a cancer survivor. I have had six tupes of cancers: colon (1980); tubular in groin (1990); blader and prostate (2003);sarcoma atypical cells (2004) and currently small cell lymphoma. Operated in NYU, Sloan Kattering and John Hopkins. Lessons learned: belief in God, family support and go for top specialists. I am 67,work full time and play golf, though badly. I live my life to the full cheerfully. I have never wondered, "why me?". It is God's will and I respectfully bow my head to it. I migrated from India because of my illness and have found professional challenge and the best medical and surgical support. I shall be happy to share my experience if it will help cancer patients and survivors.
Hey, Sanjay. Thanks for sharing these stories. They tell us something very important - cancer is a universal problem. Everyone knows and loves someone who has experienced it. And we have a shared responsibility to fight it. I'm committed to that battle and there are at least ten million cancer survivors in this country who, like me, have had enough. We have to ask some tough questions of our leaders and demand that what they say about cancer and what they do are the SAME thing. I am overwhelmed by the response. And now we all need to turn this energy into action. Go to www.livestrong.org. Read my blog and tell me what you think. Call your elected officials. Speak up. Volunteer. Vote. Make sure your voice - and your story - is heard.
It is a coincidence that this article is on cnn this week because I just finished having a conversation about a coworker who is battling breast cancer. She has been out on sick leave for months and is still enduring radiation. We don't know when she will come back to work. I've lost my uncle to liver cancer, have two elderly grandparents who are ill with cancer and I have another grandmother who died of breast cancer. And, several years ago I had part of my cervix removed because of pre-cancerous cells. This was before a vaccine was available for cervical cancer. Although it was too late for me THEN, it is not too late for others who may face the same situation. WE NEED FUNDING FOR RESEARCH. It is amazing to me how the most prosperous country in this world can not adequately provide healthcare coverage and funding for research for devastating illnesses such as cancer, yet this government can fund a war overseas. Cancer affects everyone and knows no discrimination. Don't let this subject die!
The best way to keep the focus on cancer is to talk about it with your friends and family, make it a part of the national dialogue. It is something that runs so deeply across all social, economic and ethnic boundries that it is a discussion that all of us can contribute to.
I was diagnoed with Breast Cancer 5 years ago at the age of 43. I was in perfect heatlth, very fit and ate well.
I went thru treatment and I am fine, and I am greatful. But I truly beleive that our society is focused too much on treatment and not on causes. Too many people are being diagnosed, I beleive the disease is caused by environmental factors including the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. Our bodies are constantly being bombarded with synthetics/chemicals without knowing their real effect on us. Until our society stops being apathetic about cancer and rallies our government to make radical changes I fear our cancer rates will continue to surge, especially in younger aged people. I refuse to be called a "Survivor" and wear a pink shirt like some badge of courage. I am mad that I got cancer and I make my opinion known every chance I get-I hope someday the right person will listen.
Isn't it a shame... and disgrace that we are spending $2 billon per week and have spent several hundreds of billions of dollars on a ill defined poorly managed death trap in Iraq rather than spending it on finding a cure for diseases like cancer. It is a matter of priorities. The priorities are clearly stated by where the check is being sent.... When we put it all in perspective it makes me want to cry.

jenglish@greyforestutilities.com
Great article by Mr Gupta and Mr. Armstrong. However, they fail to point out that the war on cancer is a failed war because the pharmaceutical industry controls the battle. They would lose billions of dollars if the cure for cancer was ever disclosed to the general public. It's a case of moral vs dollar and cents. As always, big business, and you can't get any bigger than the pharmaceutical industry, always wins. Chemotherapy is a joke. The costs involved are astronomical and it does absolutely NOTHING to cure me or anyone else of cancer. It just prolongs the miserable life I suffer due to the disease. I have better results, and a better attitude, smoking weed.

~paulinthedesert
Sanjay and Lance:
As a breast cancer survivor, what you guys are doing is phenomenal. I'd add one thing: I think when we talk about how much the survival rate has increased and how cancer is not a death sentence anymore, people get the impression that cancer is not as devastating as it once was. Maybe on paper it isn't, but let's not forget what people have to go through to survive. Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation are no walk in the park. The side effects alone, such as fatigue, depression, low libido, deformity, etc., can devastate your life for years. I want the next step in the fight to be better, less traumatic, less invasive treatments. Even in 2007, the treatment is sometimes as bad as the disease itself.
My best friend's daughter is currently on hospice. Her cancer started with a tumor in her breast. Her doctor said "let's keep an eye on it" and did nothing. One year later, she was told she had breast cancer. She underwent a lumpectomy and, eventually, a complete mastectomy. For approximately 12 years the cancer has re-occurred in various locations, the most recent at the stem of her brain. She now has cancer in her bones and is in terrible pain. She is only in her early 40's with two sons.

I don't have any answers. One thing I do know ---- women cannot sit back and accept a doctor telling them that a lump will be "monitored" or think that a wait and see attitude is appropriate. We must be willing to kick up a fuss and get the doctor's attention.

Thanks to Lance Armstrong for sending such a clear message. Millions think it and he expressed it for all of us who have had this terrible disease or know someone who has had it. We must all be willing to get behind those who can be effective in getting this message to those who need to hear it. Please --- let's not continue to be a SILENT majority!!!
I never paid much attention to cancer until that fateful day when I was disgnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma. A few days later, my right kidney came out -- and just in time too, for the next stage would have certainly have led to its spread throughout my body.

However minor, the symptoms were there for a while, but I ignored them. In large measure, I considered cancer to be a scary disease against which one would be pretty helpless, so I didn't want to know much about it. Avoidance behavior for sure!

I learned that you are educated about cancer, it can be usually be recognized, diagnosed, and treated -- just like other diseases.

CNN can do a great deal to help us all by promoting discussion of cancer, what it is, what it is not, what the symptoms may be, and how we might survive "the beast."

We need to feel free to talk about it, and CNN can help keep the subject on the table and on our minds!
Dr. Gupta,
My name is Randy Lopez and I'm one of the profiles you feature on your upcoming "Saving Your Life" speacial. Like Lance, I'm fortunate enought to be able to survive and "tell my story".
It's wonderful to see people talking about cancer. Especially people who are not actively dealing with it. Unfortunately, all of us will come in contact with someone battling this disease and it's programs and educational programs like this that clear the mystery so people can get information before it's too late.

It's all about the fight to battle cancer and thank you for fighting for people like me.

Randy
Dear Dr. Gupta, my name is Judy Hanley and I am a 60 year old woman who 2 years ago was diagnosed with a deadly breast cancer that is extremely rare. After surgery I was given 3 months to 3 years to live. On top of everything else I have severe Hypertension as a result of a chemical burn that I suffered as a work related incident. My breast cancer was highly developed when it was diagnosed, despite many negative mamograms, a negative biopsy years before, and being told that my fibrocystic tumors would never become malignant. My tumor is hormone negative (in all aspects) and it is "small cell" which is rarely registered with the American Cancer Society I was informed. Despite having 9 chemotherapies and 9 weeks of radiation, only the latest chemo or Xeloda in combination with radiation had the strongest affect against the tumor. It was Metastatic Cancer, and it is now in remission, so that I have a few more months than I was first given. Also, I was told that eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits has a very good effect against cancer which I now eat often.
Hi Sanjay,

You asked us a very good question:
How do we keep the focus and interest on cancer?

I believe the survivors hold the key to keeping the communications open.

Survivors should think of themselves as blessed not only because they have battled the beast called cancer, but also because they are given a chance to save another person's life.

Just a decade ago the subject of cancer was tight-lipped: if a coworker underwent a masectomy the results were whispered and hidden, now women proudly bare their scars.

My fiance, a testicular cancer survivor, was brave and positive throughout the treatments. And he was VERY verbal partly because Lance brought this disease out of hiding. Now my fiance urges everyone he meets to GET CHECKED.

That's the first step. The more people demand their doctors screen them for cancer, the more policymakers will listen and the more lives we can save.
Dear Dr.Gupta, I see it, I've seen it and I've experienced it. With cancer and with disease in general, if you know 'someone' or you are a celebrity or you have alot of money, you get preferential treatment. I was on interferon treatment for a year. Actually an interferon 'cocktail' for liver disease. My late father-in-law at that time, was on the Board of Directors for Blue Cross/Blue Shield, (I won't say which state), I was so ill, down to 96 pounds, that he would literally make a call, and I would get services that normally would have taken longer with having to go through all the red tape, etc. Now, I am very ill again. I have HepC, cryoglobulinemia, autoimmune vasculitis and polycystic kidneys. I am also in alot of pain, as I had a spinal tumour splatter a nerve in my back, which was removed in 2004. I went to a cancer facility to see a hematologic oncologist who ended up treating me for 2 years, before I switched to a different doctor and hospital. When my husband got my medical records, we saw that a lesion or tumour, (they were unsure), was found on my liver a year and a half prior to my getting those reports. Now what? Ironically, I lost my Mom to lung cancer last Sept.'06. She too had never been told of a growth seen on a test which in her case, turned out to be a cancerous tumour which metastisized. My Mom had been cancer free for 10+ years after a doctor found a small encapsulated tumour in her lung, removed it and she didn't even need chemo or radiation. When the elderly are alone and go to doctors, esp., when they don't feel well, it can be disastrous for them. Her story broke my heart. I know there are good and bad in all professions, but in medicine, a lazy, disinterested, burnt-out physician is a death sentence to their patients. I am not suing this doctor. It won't bring my Mom back, now. I had a female rheumatologist tell me I had AIDS back when AIDS first came on the medical scene. Her office was supposed to have my blood work a month in advance of my appt. They said they would take care of everything. I went for my appt., and my blood work was NOT there, the doctor began to examine me, went to listen to my breathing & when she saw that I had a tattoo on my back (from being 'down the shore' when I turned 18), she said "You probably have AIDS"..I started to panic and went to start putting my clothes back on while she stood there and continued, saying "We need people like you, to hold up as an example to others"...blah, blah, blah, I ran past her, past the receptionist and the others in the waiting room. I drove to my childrens' elementary school to pick them up and I went running in the main door right into my son's 3rd grade teacher, Mrs.Fenton! We talked often, she knew me, she kindly gave me a bag to breathe into and I calmed down. These are the types of experiences I've had with illness. Not fun. I went on to school and worked for VNA (VNS)& hospice. Doing home care nursing. My son is now 27 and became an EMT with designs on becoming a paramedic working in the air rescue. My one daughter who will soon be 30, has put her clinicals on hold, due to her 2nd child, for pediatric nursing. One story I love to tell, when my son was 2 weeks shy of his EMT license, he was valeting at a restaurant, when a young boy was hit by a car in front of his place. My son ran over, with shouts from others, not to touch him. "Doug", saw that he was bleeding profusely from a head wound, so he tore his shirt off and tied it around the kid's head and slowed down the bleeding, keeping track of his vitals, then before long the truck was there, and the licensed guys took over. Nice goin' Doug. A few days later, the boy and his Mom came back to thank him for saving his life and try to get him to go out for a meal, but knowing Doug, he refused..He was happy that the boy was OK. That was his reward. That was his good feeling. His 'meal'. God Bless you all for the life-saving work you all do, each and everyday. You, Dr. Gupta, and you Mr.Armstrong. I say that for my Doug, and all those in all aspects of medicine, as well. To the 'good guys'. (and gals) To the rest of us, I say "Know your own body, read, find things out. Keep it simple, exercise, eat right, and get a regular decent sleep schedule going on in your life". As for me, I have to go through a battery of new tests now. I hope it is not too late for me as it was for my Mom. She was 77, I am 52. I would like to see my children and grandchildren and my dear husband for a little longer, God willing. Thanks for the space to speak! Keep up the good work you all do. *If all the docs could be as interested as Dr.Gupta, we'd all be in alot better shape!
Lets put the money into education, prevention, and natural cures! There have been billions spent on research and where has that gotten us?
When breast cancer survival rates have not changed in 40 years, we must question current drug regimens. The first meaningful decrease only came about after the removal of synthetic estrogen therapy.

Is there an alternative to the status quo? Jerry Brunetti is a cancer survivor that has developed quite a following. Learn what he did to become a survivor.

http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/interview-brunetti_may02.pdf

Anything is possible if one's mind is open to the possibilities.
Dr. Brownstein, MD. has a medical practice in Michigan where he has discovered that patients deficient in iodine, when brought to sufficiency, have benefits beyond healing a hypothyroid condition (iodine is essential for the thyroid but is also used by other organs). In fact, he found that his patients with fibrocystic breast disease, thought to be a precursor to breast cancer, reversed the condition when iodine stores were replenished in the body. His book should be required reading for every physician and every woman. See his website at : http://www.drbrownstein.com/index.shtml


http://www.drbrownstein.com/index.shtml
At 17 I had a tumor in the index toe of my right foot. It fortunately had been benign. I recall some time previous to the tumor being there that I had stubbed my foot pretty hard and tried heavily massaging/popping the knuckle around the toe leaving it possible that the living tissue emulated the damage tissue thereby causing a tumor to begin growth on a genetic level. That remains the only theory I have on such a experience.
It seems to me that a lot of this is all appeals to emotion. If any medical condition needs additional federal funding it is cardiovascular disease. It has nearly twice the mortality rate and half the funding. I don't want to sound heartless but that's the way I see it.

~Richard
My Lance Armstrong blog post
Cancer is usually due to toxicity, from chemicals ingested in our food or water, from heavy metal toxicity, from pesticides and herbicides found in the earth, and from a host of other chemicals found in the environment today. For example, the Teflon coating is carcinogenic. The 'war' must start by recognizing what we are doing to toxify ourselves. After that, there is a simple solution: to detox these heavy metals and chemicals before they have a chance to develop into cancer.
It is inexpensive and preventative. It will also help detox the chemicals of chemo, post-therapy. Why are such easy solutions overlooked which would help so many? Even terminal cancers have gone into 12 month remission once they have detoxed. I am happy to answer any questions.
Sundaram
revitalize_your_health@yahoo.com
i am 54 and going through menapause and a heavy smoker. i was concidering quitting smoking. my insurance cura net through the kroger company does not pay for stop smoking aides. i am sick alot and if they would help thier employees we might be better for thier company.
The lack of health insurance is bound to cause unnecessary deaths from prostate cancel from early retirees like airline pilots too young to qualify for Medicare and who lost their health insurance due to pension terminations by bankrupt airlines.

In my case, after age 62, my PSA level had climbed to over 9 and was that way for over two years. The public health nurse whom I was seeing had been worried sick. Unfortunately, the only proof that a major non-profit cancer center required, the prostate bioposy, as a requirement for admission into free or low-cost treatment center at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, was out of the question because of the cost, some $1,600!

As soon as I bcame eligible for Medicare this past June, I immediately scheduled the needed biospy exam. Previously, in addition to the high PSA number and the lack of lumps in the DRE (digital rectal examination), BPH was also present. The bioposy showed early cancer (Gleason score of 6) near the capsule edge. The standard nerve sparing prostatectomy via perineal access was performed in September. The three month out PSA test figure is unmeasurable.

My point is that early retirees in the 50's age group are at the risk of unnecessary deaths and increased disease severity that early detection and treatment and prevent. The Cancer Society is very much remiss in not pushing for affordable prostate biospy exams for the uninsured and poor. What good is effective detection and treatment for early stage cancer if so many cannot afford access?
Sanjay and Lance, thanks so much for what you have done for cancer. You have put it squarely on the map, again. I must say that I am so disheartened by Nick from Telluride comments. The very idea that he identified himself as a cancer researcher scares me. We need people who will get things done, instead of arguing about semantics. My advice to the moderators of this discussion: only include comments that move the discussion forward. Nick from Telluride should not be welcome.
I am 48 and have been told I have SLL. I don't find much on the internet, but it is incurable and mortality rate is 10 years. My doctor told me that they are going to look at me every few months to see if it is getting worst. So I sit here waiting to die. It shouldn't be like this.

Thank you'll for bringing cancer out into the limelight. I pray it works for all the cancer patients.
Why does Medicare decree these screenings are only necesssary every w2 or 4 years? How many older people have suffered unessarily because they were treated as if they were hypochroniracs?
Cancer unfortunately has become a very common word for me in the past year after losing my sister-in-law to metastatic breast cancer at the age of 31. I was one of many that didn't think much about cancer until then. But now I consider myself one of Lance Armstrong's army of millions ready to do whatever it takes -- be it raise money, awareness, taking action, you name it -- to with this war against cancer so others do not have to live through what my brother and his 9-month old daughter did. I'm glad you are helping keep this topic at the forefront, and through groups like The MetaCancer Foundation (www.metacaner.org) that my brother organized in honor of his late wife, and of course the Livestrong Foundation, we need to keep the pressure on to focus more efforts in saving lives and beating this terrible disease.
i am struggling with my wife's cancer. she has nsclc and was told by several docs at Albany Medical Center that she would not live more than 18 months. Now she's a year past her "expiration date" thanks to excellent and intensive care by other doctors who are willing to go beyond protocol and try new meds and combinations. We had to learn all we could about cancer and direct her care, using doctors as consultants who have differing points of vue. if you have the right docs, you can do this with their cooperation. My wife is Geraldine Abrams, and I'd like to thank Drs. David Mastrianni, oncologist, ( of Saratoga Springs), Naiyer Rizvi(Sloan Kettering) and Glens Falls Hospital's Alex Frank and lance Hellman.
CANCER is the 2nd leading cause of death in transplant patients. Due to immunosupression the body's natural defences cannot suppress cancer cells before they begin to make themselves known either by CT scan, CA 125, mammography, colonoscopy, PSA or any other method of early dedection.

How do I know this? I am living it with my spouse who is a renal transplant recipient of 10 years duration. At the age of 45 he had a colonoscopy which was clear; within 5 years - half the time it was recommended to repeat the procedure. By than it was too late, there was a HUGE TUMOR in his colon, STAGE 3 with involvement in 23 lymph nodes. He was 45 when he had the colonoscopy - 5 years earlier than recommended and 50 when diagnosed at Stage 3. After completing a 6 month course of chemo and changing his transplant drugs - he was on Cellcept, Prograf and prednisone. The Prograf was changed to Rapamune which is thought th have a better record of protecting one from CANCER. At 1 year he had a RECURRENCE and is now on PREDNISONE 10 mg and nothing else. He is on chemotherapy - this time through a MEDIPORT with 2 more toxic drugs - irinetecan and Erbitux - a regemin with much harsher side effects.

I have reviewed close to 50 articles on cancer in transplant patients. One published in 1989 states that TX drugs should be halved when cancer is detected. The vast majority state that once a TX patient is diagnosed the PROGNOSIS is POOR/GUARDED.

It was reported at last summer's NKF meeting that ONLY 25% of patients surveyed were never told of the CANCER risk pre-transplant and only became aware after transplant. The vast majority are never told other than to possibly mention the increase risk of skin cancer and lymphoma, the 2 most prevalent cancers in this population. 2/3 said they would have liked to have been told PRE-TRANSPLANT so the transplant decision could be based on ALL relavent information.

What about solid tumors - colon, breast, prostate,etc? One study reports the long term incidence in renal transplant patients is 3 - 5 times higher than expected in the general population. The average age is 40 with cancer diagnosed a few years post transplant.

As I mentioned I have collected many articles on this topic.

What would I recommend? Transplant Centers must provide their renal transplant patients, indeed all transplant patients as well as all patients on drugs that supress the immune system. Those with severe forms of arthritis, Crohn's disease and other diseases requiring Enbrel, Humira, Remicade and similiar drugs are also at risk. SCREENING GUIDELINES FOR RENAL TRANSPLANT PATIENTS should be implemented inititating screening for the most prevalent forms of cancer 10 years prior to that recommended to the general population. I would recommend more frequent mammagrams, colonoscopies, PSAs, etc. More frequent colonoscopy would have caught my spouses' tumor before it had grown to Stage 3. You might ask - was there cancer in his family? Was he high risk? NO, no cancer in his family at all.

With CANCER THE 2nd CAUSE OF DEATH IN THIS POPULATION the transplant community has been derelect in it's duty to make sure their patients have ALL the information necessary to make an enformed decision PRE-TRANSPLANT. They have been derelect in their duty to IMPLEMENT CANCER SCREENING SPECIFIC TO THIS POPULATION.

I have been widowed once, I don't want to live this reality a second time. ALL TRANSPLANT PATIENTS - Go to your transplant team and insist on having all available screening procedures 10 years earlier than recommended for the general population. If your family has a cancer history make sure you are screened earlier and more frequently.

If you have one of the many AUTOIMMUNE diseases and are on an immunosupressive drug such as ENBREL, HUMIRA, REMICADE, IMURAN, METHOTREXATE or similar drugs get screened earlier and more frequently than the general population.

THE LONGER YOU ARE ON THESE DRUGS THE HIGHER YOUR CHANCE OF GETTING CANCER, THE GREATER YOUR CHANCE OF DYING.

It is your life. Take control.

Pearl Lewis
Maryland Patient Advocacy Group
yettapearl@marylandpag.org
I sympathize with everything I have read. A very good friend of mine was diagnosed with a malignant tumor above her eye in November. A week later her husband died. She has received one blow after another since the first diagnosis. Now, the cancer is in both kidneys, her back and her thyroid. Her faith in God is very strong. After all, we are capable of all things/achieving great things through and with God. I believe in my heart and soul that what is impossible for us here on earth can be accomplished by God and our suffering will never be more than what God knows we can bear! I further believe our reaction to illness and what we do about it, is the key to alieving our suffering - both mentally, physically and spiritually! After all, the mind, body and soul work together - they co-exist with each other. When one suffers, so do the others!

I agree that the pharmaceutical and insurance companies (as well as some doctors) hold back, in order to safeguard their salaries! I also agree that it is sad how expensive the medicines and treatments are. Hasn't anyone ever heard of the story of the Good Samaritan? Aren't we supposed to be helping others and not placing barriers in their way or kicking them harder when they are down? I feel like the only thing some doctors, all pharmaceutical companies and all insurance companies are looking out for - is their bread and butter! (As if they don't have enough!) - Their greed is holding us back from being able to be even more successful in the war on all diseases and on giving people the way and means to afford health care, so that they can go for check ups regularly. And doctors should be more interested in their patients well-being. Of course, as adults, we have to start taking better care of ourselves, but as we have read, even people who are seemingly healthy fall prey to cancer and other illnesses. Doctors should be notifying regular patients (they have their medical history, age, etc.) that is is time to pre-screen for certain diseases. The media (like CNN already does) can advertise and speak out more agressively about the importantce of pre-screening regularly and taking better care of ourselves as well.

And I agree that our government leaders should be putting more of the tax payers money into improving the quality of health care and research and not into the war on terror. This is America's enemy - which is living among us daily. What sense does it make to fight against an enemy from a distance, when we face losing our lives right where we are - each and every one of us - all over the world!!
The reason why funding for the war on cancer is being cut is the illegal tax cuts that President Bush wants to make permanent. The President, nor Congress has the authority under the Constitution of the United States of America to cut taxes or the revenue needed for this country to exist.

Under Article I, Section Eight, Clause 1, of the the United States Constitution Congress has the Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States". This also means we are to have national health care too.

Everyone need to write to their Member of Congress and to tell them to be in full compliance with their oath of office to defend and support the Constitution of the United States of America. Lives are at stake.
While I am elated that the discussion included metastatic cancer, I have to ask why did one of the speakers use the word "those people" in his description? If there is a war on cancer to be fought, perhaps it should begin within the medical community and their own outlook on cancer.
I posted on the other board, but then found this one and felt the need to post here. I read the comments and saw not one that mentioned lung cancer, the number one cancer killer of both women and men. If we are going to discuss prevention, then let's talk about banning smoking everywhere except in some far away dessert where no person other than the smoker could possibly breath in the secondhand smoke. Look into the history of lung cancer and you will find that before the advent of the cigarette rolling machine, lung cancer was so rare that medical students would travel miles and miles over several state lines to see the autopsy of a lung cancer patient. If tobacco were outlawed, the health cost in the U. S. would drop so precipitously that every U. S. citizen could have excellent health care in the first year or two after the ban. This is no dream; there are studies that illustrate this. I am a lung cancer survivor who never smoked, worked in a mine, worked with asbestos, etc. Someone's else's smoke almost did me in. Only somewhere between 11 and 13 percent of the people who are diagnosed with lung cancer survive. This statistic has not changed over the years. Some lives have been prolonged a little longer than they would have been ten years ago, but very, very few lung cancer patients live five years after diagnosis. I think this is why lung cancer is never discussed; there is nobody to interview--no success stories. This is a cancer that can be prevent. It would just take some guts on the part of the medical field, the government, the media, and the public. Cancer is not the only health problem cigarette smoke is involved in. I won't go into all the other things because this is a cancer board. Tobacco kills. That is the only thing it does. It has no redeemable properties. I agree that smokers have the right to kill themselves if they want to, but they do not have the right to kill others. That is murder.
I am a 32 yr old testicular cancer survivor and advocate. My mission is to be an active leader in cancer advocacy and education with a focus on educating kids on types of cancer, early detection methods, obstacles survivors face and practical realities of cancer diagnosis.

June 2, 2006 I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. As most people when they are first diagnosed I immediately thought I was going to die. That is do to my lack of knowledge about cancer and more specifically testicular cancer. You hear cancer and you think of a loved one, family member, friend, celebrity, etc. that has died of cancer. The word CANCER can be very shocking if you are the one who is told �you have cancer�, but it does not have to be that way.

I had to wait until Monday (6/5/06) to have a second opinion. The second opinion confirmed what my doctor had told me. It was then and only then that I felt comfortable with addressing the issue. After I researched and worked with my doctors to understand what I had and my options to treat my type of cancer I decided to have surgery to remove my right testicle. I had surgery on June 7, 2006. This procedure, which is called a radical inguinal orchiectomy, is done through an incision in the groin. It was out patient surgery, but still a significant one which had me in bad for the following 3-4 days.

In July I started radiation treatment. I had this treatment Monday � Friday (everyday) for 4.5 weeks. I scheduled the treatments to not affect my work schedule so I did them on my way home every night around 6:00PM. They were not too bad physically. After just 1.5 weeks I was using the restroom 8-10 times a day, which was very annoying, but it happens to some people. The last week of radiation was not too bad, but by that point the daily visits were starting to get to me. It was a mental issue by that point. I knew I had to do it, but really did not want to as I was starting to get sick daily.

My final treatment was September 1, 2006. By that point my body had enough of the treatments as I was mildly getting sick throughout the day. It made for a horrible Labor Day weekend, but I would do it all again as I am now a Cancer Survivor.

Education was a big key throughout the process. It is clear we need to teach kids about cancer. Start early so we can make a difference.
Dr. Gupta,

Thank you for putting a spotlight on this dreadful disease. Even though the numbers may be going down, just losing one person to cancer is one too many. I've had my own experiences with cancer, not me but several family members and close friends. A sad realization is that nearly every adult in the United States has been touched by cancer in some way, shape, or form. We must do what we can to eradicate this disease or at the very least catch it early and cure it.

I work with the newly formed Georgia Colon Cancer Coalition and we are making it our mission to teach people how and why to get screened for colon cancer. Colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. However, it is preventable, treatable and beatable. Anyone who has a family history of colorectal cancer and is over the age of 50 should be screened every 5 years. The earlier cancer is detected the greater your chances of a full recovery. Just a side note, Medicare covers many colorectal screenings and procedures for eligible participants.

March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and as we prepare, Dr. Gupta, we have several missions and projects that we are undertaking and would appreciate your involvement. Please contact us right away through our website: www.georgiacoloncancer.org
What I've always wondered is that since so many of us know someone who's experienced cancer - haven't our elected officals also? Don't they have loved ones with cancer? Why aren't they doing every in their power to help find a cure? Maybe the day our President or CEO of a pharmaceutical company gets diagnosed with cancer is the day cancer research gets more funding.
As a 10 yr ovarian cancer survivor who's in treatment almost constantly, I'm tired of our country's bureaucracies not being held accountable. Your TV special never spent much time on 'access' of care. When people do try to be preventive, octors refuse expensive tests, insurance companies refuse payment, and the FDA won't let desperate people who are about to die, have treatments that aren't formally 'approved'. All these bureaucratic decision makers should do a few rounds of chemo and see how they feel. The ACS is useless - they should be inundating the media with strong, hard messages; insurance companies should pay less for gatekeepers and more for actual services (my next chemo regimen won't be covered by insurance because the drug isn't officially FDA-approved.) and the FDA/gov't should allow desperate people willing to risk taking a drug that appears beneficial though not approved, access to it whether or not they meet 'criteria'.
And finally, why doesn't the media use its massive outreach capacity to routinely help keep health issues a part of the national discussion, as well as help us identify missing children (as it stands, we have to wait until we buy a milk carton to learn who's missing).
It all starts with media exposure...
My wife and I have seen only the Sunday, 21 Jan 07 edition of CNN's "Saving Your Life". One type of cancer that to my knowledge has not been covered is ovarian cancer, the use of the blood test CA-125, and how this test relates not only to ovarian cancer but to breast cancer as well. In early Dec 02, my wife was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer after having suffered abdominal pain near and behind her urinary bladder. Two doctors were consulted over a period of months with the same complaint. Our Primary Care Physician and the Urologist she was referred to. Time after time she was not diagnosed correctly, until a change in Urologists was made and this physician tested her with the CA-125 blood test, a simple test. Her CA-125 report was returned at 1118.0 when a normal result is <30.0. A tumor was the result and the mass was discovered. Surgery and chemo followed and successfully completed by August of 2003, but not before a section of her colon was removed and other organs cleaned of the cancer cells. Today, 21 Jan 07, she reamins a survivor, but now with a new diagnosis of multiple cysts/lesions in her liver. This latest problem began to surface in Apr/May 07 with continued CA-125 tests that revealed an increase in levels of cancer in her body. Fluctuating levels were noted after being given two drugs, Tamoxiphen, and Thalidomid separately. The former first followed by the latter and three CT-scans, the latest of which has shown the multiple lesions on her liver. Chemo once again is being planned as I write this, but we won't know for sure until after a liver biopsy has been performed 3 days from now. The administering of the CA-125 blood test has saved her life and the monitoring has possibly saved her life again. We believe that we were blessed with the very best Urologist, Surgical Oncologist, and Chemotherapy Oncologists that Augusta GA has to offer.

Another aspect that likely will not be covered by your series, concerns what my wife's surgical oncologist stated following her surgery in January 2003. Dr. Feldman said that the most neglected people who are related to cancer patients are the husbands - what they feel when presented with losing the life long partner. Dr. Feldman emphasized the need of health care providers to provide emotional support for those of us who die inside whenever we think we are to lose our wives. I don't think I can convey exactly what I felt at the time of diagnoses, but I felt like my own life was over. Death was looming over our household and the despair took its toll on my life as I worried and cried and hoped and worried some more and cried alot. The depression and the fear mounted and there was no one to turn to for support. That was December 02, before the surgery and before Dr. Feldman made his statement about husbands. His statement came on the day of surgery and following a four and a half hour surgery that was slated for 2 hours. As he described the 5-6 things that he had just done, my silent fear and depression came to the surface and must have shown on my face even though my empathy for what my wife's body had just gone through was being experience and I felt numb and dumbfounded as if I was in shock. When my experience is multiplied by the tens or hudreds of thousand husbands and other family members and friends who are losing or have lost those the care about the realizations are not only profound they are ghastly. Remember the partners of the loved ones who also are cancer survivors. To lose my wife of 35 years to cancer, is to lose a part if not all of my life, as I know it and have known it to be.
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