Of Necessity, Cancer Society Points Out the Obvious

Kudos to the American Cancer Society for pointing out that the treatment and cure of disease cannot adequately occur when health care is largely inaccessible and unaffordable to tens of millions of citizens. Without a doubt, the health care crisis in this nation is an accessory in the deaths of countless Americans. What will it take for our so-called leaders to stand up, put the common good ahead of the corporate good, and take action?

From the New York Times:

Cancer Society Focuses Its Ads on the Uninsured

In a stark departure from past practice, the American Cancer Society plans to devote its entire $15 million advertising budget this year not to smoking cessation or colorectal screening but to the consequences of inadequate health coverage.

The campaign was born of the group’s frustration that cancer rates are not dropping as rapidly as hoped, and of recent research linking a lack of insurance to delays in detecting malignancies.

Though the advertisements are nonpartisan and pointedly avoid specific prescriptions, they are intended to intensify the political focus on an issue that is already receiving considerable attention from presidential candidates in both parties.

The society’s advertisements are unique, say experts in both philanthropy and advertising, in that disease-fighting charities traditionally limit their public appeals to narrower aspects of prevention or education.

But the leaders of several such organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and the Alzheimers Association, said they applauded the campaign’s message that progress against chronic disease would be halting until the country fixed its health care system.

As in the past, the heart association is using its advertising dollars these days to promote more rigorous exercise and healthier diets. The most recent cancer society campaign encouraged screening for colon cancer, including a memorable commercial in which a diner plucked — and then ate — a lima bean polyp from the intestinal tract he had carved in his mashed potatoes.

But John R. Seffrin, the chief executive of the cancer society, which is based here, said his organization had concluded that advances in prevention and research would have little lasting impact if Americans could not afford cancer screening and treatment.

“I believe, if we don’t fix the health care system, that lack of access will be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco,� Mr. Seffrin said in an interview. “The ultimate control of cancer is as much a public policy issue as it is a medical and scientific issue.� [full text]

2 thoughts on “Of Necessity, Cancer Society Points Out the Obvious

  1. That’s amazing. The Women’s Cancer Screening Project has been working hard for years to make screening and treatment available to uninsured women, but they are up against the fact that there is not enough screen and too many holes.

  2. So the American Cancer Society is frustrated because cancer rates are not dropping as rapidly as hoped. Perhaps they should direct their attention to conventional medicine’s flawed and costly chemotherapy approach to treatment. The “Cancer Industry”, backed by “Big Pharma’s” financial interests and legislative influence, have forced alternative treatments out of public view. No treatment modality like chemotherapy that impairs the human immune system will ever result in widespread and consistent cure of the disease. And for those with insurance coverage, try getting them to pay for an alternative therapy. Let’s face it, the system is badly broken.

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