When I first entered the cancer world I was in shock and just trying to stay alive as long as I could. According to the clinicians that wouldn’t be long. But slowly, living past my ‘use by date’ I knew that I wanted to help people going through my experiences. I was lucky and found a course where I could study the different impacts of cancer. It was my first experience of hearing about the so called ‘cancer conspiracy.’
For those that haven’t heard this craziness, it suggests that cures for cancers have been found. But kept private, because NOT finding any cure makes more money for everyone! I was very naïve in those days and thought nobody would do that? My experience of Government, pharmaceuticals, charities, NHS, and science was just beginning. The more I saw the more my scepticism grew!
I have been very active in the sector for more than ten years, and now incredibly with the help of covid, everything is going backwards! Educated estimates are, that once things settle down we will be between 10-15 years behind where we were when the virus hit. It’s hard to remember now, but we weren’t great for any particular aspect of cancer when compared with similar countries, before the pandemic.
Today our waiting lists for treatment, and more worryingly diagnosis are longer than they have ever been. Previous statistics are showing that so many people are still staying away from their GP and hospitals. Many of these will be patients with late stage cancer, frequently too late for effective treatment. There will undoubtedly be a cancer crisis in the very near future, as cases continue to rise. But what upsets me most, is that all our cancer leadership, in every sector are pretty much silent. Government leading the way, with barely no mention of anything healthcare related, other than covid.
The NHS leadership is frightened to speak out. Also large charities, many who rely on Government funding, don’t want to step out of line. Everyone watching on, whilst things get worse daily. But of course all those people are still earning their salary. Even in my small time involved with the disease, all charities have had 10 years of income. Health staff their salaries, and pharmaceutical have received billions! Yet now we have gone backwards?
Yes of course there has been progress! But not even in line with the phenomenal pace of technology. Most other areas of our lives are racing forward, but certainly not cancer. So we will need at least another 10 years of investment before we see steps that will affect todays audience? More billions pouring into a black hole.
Surely we cannot continue in this manner. No business would. Working on a cyclical basis of getting small wins that rarely affect the population as a whole. Perhaps we should be looking at prevention more? Of course genetics will have a big say in the future of healthcare. Maybe that is the best way out of this situation? I certainly don’t know, but burying our head in the sand whilst cancer deaths rise annually is not the way. Anything that affects 50% of the country cannot be ignored like it has been. We needed more action pre-pandemic. But now we are where we are.
You can understand why now I am thinking more about the conspiracy theory. Not because I believe it to be true. There may not be one, but from where I’m sitting the results are the same! This is the only sector I know that spends absolutely billions with such little transparency. Every one fighting for their slice of the cancer cake and coming back regularly for more! Nice work if you can get it. So little coordination and collaboration it’s ultimately almost impossible to see who is responsible for what. I believe this madness must stop.
The world is now changing quickly, and this is our opportunity to vastly improve the sector. In future it must be patient centric so that more of us living with cancer can thrive, not just survive. But also we must deal with the incredible backlog we have already built up. Ensuring this never happens again. The urgency of this cannot be underestimated, and is close to the ‘global warming crisis’ in my opinion. This is yet another issue that will affect our children and grandchildren more than us. I would be devastated if I left this current situation as a legacy for my family.
As always, these are my personal views based on my experiences. Please feel free to share your own below.