EENR for Progress: Time to Fight Cancer

If you’re looking for a pie fight or for a joyful diary you won’t find it here. This installment of EENR tonight will be focused on one of the biggest killers in our country; cancer. There was good news released this past February that showed that deaths caused by cancer have decreased by 18.4% among men and 10.5% among women. That does not mean that we don’t need to fight this disease harder than ever. Here’s a snippet from the WAPO:

In 2008, an estimated 1,437,180 new cancers will be diagnosed, and 565,650 people will die of the disease, according to a report released Wednesday from the American Cancer Society (ACS)


Follow me below the fold…..

Facts about Cancer in 2008

Cancer is the cause of one-fourth the deaths in the United States. In 2008, the three most diagnosed cancers for men will be prostate, (which will total one quarter of cancers in men), lung, colon and rectum. For women, the top three diagnosed cancers will be breast cancer, (which will total over one quarter of all diagnoses), lung and colorectal. The death rates vary for the different types of cancer depending on gender and age. Here’s a snippet from the WAPO:

About one-quarter of all deaths from cancer in women in 2008 will be from lung cancer.In men aged 40 and younger, leukemia is the most common cause of cancer death, while lung cancer is the leading killer in men over the age of 40.Leukemia is also the leading cause of cancer death among females under 20, while breast cancer takes the greatest toll in women aged 20 to 59. Lung cancer is the biggest cancer killer in women over 60. Despite the efforts of researchers and Oncologists, it continues to be a huge threat.

Why Passing UHC is so IMPORTANT

Right now, as I type this, there is an American woman out there has a lump in her breast. She has no insurance. She doesn’t have the money to get herself checked out, and as time passes without getting proper treatment, the disease will be harder for her to beat. Right now, there’s an American man who is in the beginning stages of prostate cancer and doesn’t know it. He’s not insured and by the time he gets checked out, the cancer is going to have become advanced. We can save lives with UHC. We can catch the disease in the early stages with a focus on preventative care and we can save lives. Here’s a snippet from the WAPO about the importance of preventative care and how it saves lives:

“Death rates from cancer continue to decrease because of prevention, early detection and treatment,” Jemal added. “These have been decreasing from the early ’90s and, really, because of this decrease, over half a million deaths from cancer have been avoided.”

I’m glad that we’ve made advances in cancer research but the work is not done. Not by a long shot. We also have a responsibility to our people to pass UHC, to ensure that everyone gets proper treatment. Here’s a quote from Elizabeth Edwards on the topic of cancer and UHC:

Of course, with my cancer, we’re hearing a lot more people say, “I have this” — you know, “I have cancer. I can’t get treatment.” You hear about it all the time.

A woman with $200,000 worth of bills, what’s she supposed to do; not get cancer treatment? Or is she just supposed to incur this debt?

I think that that makes you, hearing that over and over and over again, that same story over and over again, makes you feel really passionate about the forces that have stopped us from getting health insurance, universal health coverage in this country.

Americans shouldn’t have to battle this disease alone. Americans shouldn’t be left to die if they get cancer and happen to be uninsured. We can no longer claim to be a nation led by morals and values if we don’t do something about this tragedy.

Time to Take Action to Battle Cancer

There are a couple of funding bills that have struggled to get to the floor for a vote the last few years. Now that the Democrats have taken majority in the House and Senate, we have the power to get these bills to the floor.

S. 911 The Childhood Cancer Act

Here’s a description of this pending legislation by way of Gov. Track:

A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to advance medical research and treatments into pediatric cancers, ensure patients and families have access to the current treatments and information regarding pediatric cancers, establish a population-based national childhood cancer database, and promote public awareness of pediatric cancers.

This bill has been introduced by Democratic Senator Reed-RI, and has been placed on the calendar of business. Guess how much this bill is estimated to cost each American from 2008-2012? One Dollar! That’s it folks! For one dollar per American we can better fund research and treatments for childhood cancer. The majority party has the power to bring this bill to the floor, so I need you to contact your Senators and ask them to support the Childhood Cancer Act.

H.R. 1078 Comprehensive Cancer Care and Improvement Act of 2007

Here’s a brief description of the bill from Gov. Track:

To amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act to provide for coverage of comprehensive cancer care planning under the Medicare Program and to improve the care furnished to individuals diagnosed with cancer by establishing a Medicare hospice care demonstration program and grants programs for cancer palliative care and symptom management programs, provider education, and related research.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Lung Cancer Alliance, the National Prostate Cancer Coalition and many more cancer organizations are supporting this bill. The Cancer Leadership Council had this to say about  the bill:

H.R. 1078 would ensure that Medicare patients receive coordinated and high quality cancer care by covering physician services for development of written care plans and follow-up survivorship plans. The bill would also enhance the design and implementation of systems for coordinated cancer care and the training of professionals in a comprehensive and coordinated approach to cancer therapy.

The Comprehensive Cancer Care Improvement Act, sponsored by Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Tom Davis (R-VA), would boost the quality of cancer care for Medicare beneficiaries and influence the delivery of care to all cancer survivors. We strongly urge your support for this legislation.

Show Your Support for the Comprehensive Cancer Care Improvement Act and the Childhood Cancer Act!

It will only take a minute of your time. Please contact your Senators and ask them to not only support S. 911 Childhood Cancer Act, you should also encourage them to take action and get this bill to the Senate floor. Contact your Senators here.

You’re not done yet, let me have one more minute of your time. Please contact your Representative in the House and ask them to support H.R. 1078 The Comprehensive Cancer Care Improvement Act. This bill has only been introduced and has yet to leave committee or hit the floor for debate. Please tell your Representative to not only support this bill but to help push this to the floor for a vote. You can contact your Rep. here.

My Cancer Story

Today is March 16th. It’s one of those days on the calendar that never fails to make my heart sink. Twenty-three years ago, on this day, my father died of throat cancer. I was just a little girl, but I remember it vividly like it was yesterday. Most of the memories I have of my father have to deal with his illness. I remember bringing home stacks of pictures my classmates and I would draw for him. I remember the feeding apparatus in the kitchen, and the tubes hanging high and falling low to the kitchen floor. I remember how he had to talk through an electronic larynx because his voice box was removed during surgery. It made his voice sound robotic, but I didn’t think anything of it at the time. Without the electronic larynx he still had the ability to whisper, and as a little girl I used to climb in his bed and he’d whisper to me. He was diagnosed with cancer back in 1982, and battled the disease for two and a half years before he finally succumbed to its power.

In the hours before my father’s death, my mother sent my brother and I to the neighbors house for dinner. Before we left, we got to say our last goodbyes. I was just a little girl and even though I knew he was sick, I didn’t have a clue that this was the last time I’d see my father. I climbed up onto the bed and and hugged him and told him I loved him. He said the same back to me. That was it. By the time I got back home from the neighbors house, the bed was empty and he was gone.

Everybody in America has a story to tell when it comes to cancer. Whether they’ve lost a friend, brother, mother, child, or know someone who is battling the disease today, there’s a good chance we’ve all been directly affected by this disease in some way. Funding cancer research isn’t a partisan issue. Every American citizen wants to beat this disease. Every American citizen wants to win the War with Cancer.


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  1. isn’t sexy or controversial or exciting. In reality, it will probably bring up feelings that you try to shut out. It is an important issue though. Over half a million people will die in 2008 from cancer, and Congress has been sitting on both of these bills? What are they doing? Call your Senator and Rep and tell them to support these bills….please.  

  2. so fascinating stuff for me.

    Actually with childhood cancers in fact.

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