Why So Much Cancer?

The “lead” is buried amongst very sorrowful stories… After the break…

Why So Much Cancer?

There have been a lot of sorrowful cases about terminal cancer in the news lately. I won’t list names or particulars; Anyone with a search engine or peruses the major news networks are bound to find them should they persevere diligently enough.

I feel, though, that the “lead” is buried amongst these individual stories of legitimate sadness. When studied from an objective distance, the aggregate of all of these stories carries a disturbing trend: Cancer not only still exists but we are still woefully under-equipped to detect and treat this ailment in many of their cases.

We live in truly gilded times; We are, in many cases, the “futuristic” society that so many previous generations wished that they could witness and live in themselves. We have unprecedented wireless communications in the form of smartphones. We have transportation capabilities that can send people across the globe within hours. Our computers of today could easily outmatch the computers of even a decade earlier. We have extended the human frontier to our natural satellite (and, to the deniers – Yes, we did land on the Moon) and have stationed humanity on an artificial one as well. In so many individual cases, our lives are healthier and better than they have ever been before.

Yet, sadly, there is so very much left to accomplish and all one needs as evidence are in the individual cases of young recipients of cancer, many of which are terminal in nature. These cases are truly heartbreaking and no words could ever comfort those who must bear the pain and agony of dealing with this deadly disease firsthand.

Which brings me back to the title of this post: Why so much cancer? Why so much cancer in an age where we have landed on the Moon, where telecommunications have surpassed the expectations of some earlier science-fiction films, where our transportation infrastructure could be deemed as science-fiction by generations past, where we have harnessed the power of the atom to fuel our planet and have excelled at producing awe-inspiring results in the field of computer technology? Why so much cancer?

If our population is to eradicate cancer, than it must be willing to sacrifice some of it’s social norms in order to achieve such a lofty goal. Alcohol consumption and tobacco cigarettes must become behavioral traits of the past. We must either discover ways of curtailing the radioactive nature of our atomic energy programs or reduce those programs altogether. We must end other forms of environmental pollution, such as illegal dumping in the oceans and curbing greenhouse gas production. We must also reform the way we individually live our lives, such as reducing the time that we sit and the foods that we eat, both in type and in quantity. Finally, we must develop the technologies that uncover cancers sooner and eradicate them with greater efficiency once they are found.

The lofty goal of cancer eradication is not as visually appealing as a new missile system or a new tank. We must be realistic; There are bad people and we will always need a sufficient defense in order to protect ourselves from those bad people. We will need to be entertained through sports, movies, television programs and music. Computer and video game production should also continue unabated.

We can not continue to turn a blind eye, however, on the reality that, with each passing year, more of our population slips away through disease that is not it’s own fault. When it is someone else, it is sorrowful; When it someone you know, it is tragic.

There have been some truly sorrowful stories lately about young people afflicted with terminal forms of cancer; Rather than shedding tears, a more productive use of our time should involve activities meant to preventing more cases of cancer from occurring. Producing tears is easy; Performing action is hard but it is the action that is performed today that will prevent the tears and sorrowful stories of tomorrow.


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