Run for the Cure. The Terry Fox Run. Pink ribbons. Movember. Livestrong.
All of these efforts to raise money are honourable. They are the result of millions of hours of time invested by people who really care about curing cancer. People whose lives have been affected by this terrible disease.
Why then is it so unlikely that the very dream they are chasing is achievable in our lifetime?
Follow the money.
Pretend cancer was eradicated today. What would the economic impact of that be? What companies would it affect? What organisations would become obsolete?
Take the costs of infrastructure of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). These are organisations that secure billions of dollars in donations to find the cure. Yet a huge proportion of those funds go towards exorbitant executive salaries, ivory tower offices, and funding employee pension plans.
Think any of these folks are going to surrender these perks?
Look at the equipment that has been developed over the years specific to cancer diagnoses and treatment. Are big companies like HP, General Electric, and Baxter going to see a large, profitable part of their business disappear?
Worst of all is Big Pharma. Does anyone really think that ‘cheating’ Big Pharma out of its billions of dollars a year in obscenely expensive cancer drugs is going to happen? The mantra of the entire pharmaceutical industry is to addict a patient to its products for life. What’s better than a repeat customer whose life depends upon your product?
Make no mistake about it… cancer is a huge industry. It makes a lot of companies a lot of money. None of these companies are motivated to see this business disappear. Add in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many of the cancer hospitals across the world to the mix… there is just way too much at stake to truly find the cure.