While we’re on this little subject of women’s health and access to health care and cancer screenings, I have a little something to say about this: “Senators to Komen: Women’s Health Before Partisan Politics?”
Biggest line of BULLSHIT. Ever.
As a lung cancer advocate, it’s been interesting to watch the Komen fiasco play out on a variety of levels: (Big PS…ANYONE can get lung cancer. No smoking required.)
- Everyone’s intense focus on the critical issue of women’s access to healthcare and the importance of breast cancer screenings (Good thing).
- Politicians saying that politics has no place in healthcare (True, but complete oxymoron).
- Huge political & survivor/advocate pressure on Komen to cave…and it did (we think).
Yeah, twenty-six U.S. Senators issued a letter to Komen saying, “It would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of politically motivated attacks.” Absolutely. Amen. Clap. Clap. Clap.
Wait, what? For real? Yes, we all heard/read correctly. And, what they said makes total sense, right? Indeed it does.
OK, well then Senators (see the list here) …while these words are still fresh in everyone’s minds, surely you feel the same about THE largest health care barrier for women with the #1 cancer killer, right? Funny, I haven’t heard your public outrage. Haven’t seen a letter of concern. No one has for more than 40 years.
See my Mom here? Yeah, she has Stage IV lung cancer. Nope, she’s never smoked a day in her life. Doesn’t matter. ANYONE can get this horrendous disease. It’s equal opp these days, yet it remains the LEAST funded cancer by a looooooong shot.
Let me repeat that plea to Komen: “It would be tragic if any woman — let alone thousands of women — lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of politically motivated attacks.” Hypocrisy on too many levels to count.
“Land of the Forgotten”
Last time I checked, my Mom is a woman. She is a woman with terminal cancer…but she doesn’t have access to standard lung cancer screenings because, guess what? – THERE AREN’T ANY. For God’s sake, if ONLY the lung cancer community had a screening issue to fight about. Is this really OK with you? Talk about tragic. Talk about politics.
Maybe this will help get your attention – 80% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are people who have never smoked or former smokers who quit decades ago. 80%! This is insane, people!!! Even more insane – the survival rate. It’s virtually remained unchanged for 40 years at just 15%.
Again, these “some people” are you, me, my Mom and more than 220,000 who will be diagnosed with lung cancer this year. It makes absolutely no sense. It boggles my mind beyond comprehension. It defies logic on so many levels.
Just for perspective, more women die of lung cancer than the top three cancers combined – (breast, colon, prostate). When compared to breast cancer, lung cancer research funding is barely an inkling of a blip.
Why everyone needs to care. I will break this down into the simplest language possible:
Some people who smoke get lung cancer.
Some people who smoke don’t get lung cancer.
Some people who have smoked get lung cancer.
Some people who have smoked don’t get lung cancer.
Some people who have never smoked get lung cancer.
Why no outrage? Simple. It’s called POLITICS. No, let me rephrase, it’s not just politics. It’s politics, big business and that old stigma crutch. It’s so much easier to hold onto that outdated smoking stigma and continue pointing to it as the only culprit, even though clearly, it’s not.
What Say You Now?
On a positive note, a big “thank you.” Twelve of the 26 senators (bottom of post in bold) who sent that letter to Komen have pledged their support of the Lung Cancer Mortality Reducti0n Act - the first comprehensive research plan addressing all aspects of lung cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.
Passage of this Act would be HUGE for the lung cancer world and cancer in general. Heck, lung cancer patients just might be able to move from the kiddy table and even use real silverware. Maybe. Still a long way to go.
For the 14 other senators who claim to be so concerned about “Lost access to these potentially lifesaving screenings because of politically motivated attacks,” what say you now?
If you truly believe politics doesn’t (or shouldn’t) play a role in women’s health care issues such as breast cancer, then you’ve ditched the stigma crutch, you’re fired up and ready to do something about lung cancer, right? Perfect. I can’t wait to update this blog post with your responses.
From a much broader perspective, I leave you with this: How can we possibly think we are, or can, conquer the war on cancer by continuing to ignore the type of cancer that kills the most? Lung cancer accounts for 30% of all cancer deaths. Chew on that for a second – 30% of ALL cancer deaths.
I repeat, partisan politics not a part of women’s health care? My ASS.
What YOU can do - See your senator on this list? Where do your congressional representatives stand on the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act? Find out. Send an email to Congress through Lung Cancer Alliance Advocacy Action or call your Congressional offices through LCA Advocacy Hotline: 877-727-5068.
(The letter sent to the Komen foundation is signed by the following: Sens. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., Patty Murray, D-Was., Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Mark Begich, D-Alaska, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Jon Tester, D-Mont., Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Max Baucus, D-Mont., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Al Franken, D-Minn, John Kerry, D-Mass., Claire McCaskill,D-MO., Debbie Stabenow, D-MI., Chris Coons, D-DE., and Jeff Bingaman D-NM)