The War on Cancer

April 2, 2009

Senators Kennedy and Hutchison attempt to reignite the country's war on cancer and Americans speak up.

On March 25, 2009, United States senators Edward M. Kennedy and Kay Bailey Hutchison announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to reinvigorate the country's war on cancer. The proposed legislation includes improvement in the early detection of cancer, removal of barriers to diagnosis and treatment (eg, lack of health insurance, inadequate community outreach programs), adoption of a more coordinated approach to cancer research, increased patient participation in clinical trials, and cancer survivorship planning and support. This news item was picked up by many newspapers and media outlets.

Now that newspapers and websites allow readers to respond to news items by posting online comments, it's interesting to read what people have to say about this proposed legislation. I expected all of the posts to be supportive; after all, who is opposed to winning the war on cancer? Many of the posts echoed what one person wrote, "As someone who has seen many close friends and family members struggle with cancer, it is heartening to see a renewed effort toward battling this disease."

Just when I was thinking that everyone wants to join in the fight against cancer, I came across some differing opinions. "Now is the time to reinvigorate our country's war against cancer? Actually, now is the time to try to save a little money," wrote someone. Another person wrote, "Cancer is a racket. It's just how our bodies fail and die. We all do it. It's natural. Rather than spending these unholy sums of money trying to cure 'being human,' let's focus on dignity and pain free deaths for those who have reached the end of life." There was also this post: "Medical research is best handled by non-Washington workers. The advances in medicine cannot be attributed to any piece of legislation or federal government directives, but through direct research grants and from the private sector-pharmaceutical companies that seek the best drugs to combat cancer and other illnesses."

It will be interesting to see what happens to this proposed legislation. For me, it was eye-opening to see that not everyone is supportive.