I am not a physician or a medical researcher or a naturopath. I am not a politician or lobbyist or drug representative. I am simply the unwilling participant in this “war on cancer.” I say unwilling, not because I love cancer or want to keep mine, but because our society wages this war like it wages war on other cultures and societies…with little regard to real individual people and with great attention to money, competition, secrecy, misinformation, conflicts of interest, profit, and fame, all of which is confusing in the big business of healing. The chemotherapy wonder drug that I have to take daily for the rest of my life, Gleevec, costs $10,760.33 for 30 tablets. Luckly, my insurance co-pay is $10. But what if I didn’t have insurance or money? Then what? In 1971, former President Nixon declare, “Now is the time to commit ourselves to waging a war against cancer as aggressive as the war cancer wages against us.” And since then, we have created industries, research programs, and federal departments all waging war on cancer. But like in many wars, not all allies are united. We have divided fronts, and the mindset of war prevails, such that wars erupt between those who are supposed to be allies. Naturopathic healers or N.D.’s vs. western-trained M.D.s, the FDA vs. researchers, the Cannibis industry vs. Big Pharmaceuticals, and the list goes on. To be fair, there are some places of collaboration, for example with integrative medical approaches, but they are few and far between. Many of us are left wondering what the truth is and what should we do to save our own lives.
Newly diagnosed in 2015, it has taken me about a year of obsessive and anxiety driven research to begin to figure out what role I might have in educating myself about my new life in the cancer war zone, as well as my possible death within it. My oncologist, a well known specialist at a premier Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles offers me little other than Gleevec, Ambien, and Ativan. She offers no advice with respect to nutrition, herbal supplements, exercise, mind-body connections, etc. From her perspective, my treatment revolves around PET scans, CT scans, biopsies and chemotherapy. From my perspective, there has to be more. However, as I look outward into the world with my new Cancer eyes, I am dizzied by the conflicting and contentious information that exists for cancer prevention, treatment, healing, and cure. How do we know what works? What information is legitimate? What role does our government play in this war?
So this website is a beginning to lay out the contested territories in this so-called war. I intend it as a resource on hotly debated issues and topics on cancer. I am not an expert and for the most part, I will not take a position or endorse any of the claims or information as true. The only think I know for sure is what it’s like having cancer in this moment in history.