So recently a report was published by Breast Cancer Now, quoting this as the cost of breast cancer in this country.
“Our report, published in partnership with Demos, reveals that this year breast cancer is estimated to cost the UK economy as much as £2.6-£2.8 billion in 2024. This annual cost could rise by almost 40% to £3.6 billion by 2034.It also predicts a staggering £17.5 billion in wellbeing costs for people with breast cancer and their loved ones to support their reduced quality of life.”
I have always believed, that Governments across the globe, have been ignoring cancer, and major diseases, because of these staggering, and increasing costs. With a lot of the world at war and facing internal strife, there are definitely no quick wins, with long term disease. As we all know, there is plenty of money to be earned with sick people! We cannot continue in the way we have with cancer, now is the time for innovative thinking and open minds. Below I have written a few ideas on why we must find different attitudes and NOW!
The Soaring Price Tag of Saving Lives
Cancer treatment carries an astronomical price tag, with innovative therapies and customized regimens, reaching hundreds of thousands per patient. As novel targeted biologics, immunotherapies, and precision medicines race ahead, so too, swell funding crises threatening medical advancement. Well-meaning policies aimed singularly at slashing expenditure, may inadvertently, hamper progress benefitting countless current and future families. For determining where cuts become inhumane, demands intricate understanding of ethical, emotional, and societal intricacies – far beyond sterile accounting.
Why Personhood Gets Lost in Productivity Metrics
Complex modelling, construed to calculate value of treatment, judge worth solely by crude quantification of prolonged life years or adjusted disability metrics. While such data holds importance, the essence of living with cancer cannot be reduced to spreadsheets. Survivorship grants immeasurable riches – time wrapping up life’s affairs, imparting hard-won wisdom to heirs, witnessing milestone moments amongst loved ones. A few extra precious months with a beloved parent or child carries inexpressible weight in ways accountants cannot capture.
Prevention’s Pitfalls: Overtreatment, Inequality and Overpromising
Some argue. prioritizing preventative strategies, could dramatically curb financial outlays and mortality rates. But, decisions compelling earlier screening, or surveillance based on population data, brew ethical dilemmas around consent and self-determination. Such blanket approaches spur overdiagnosis and anxiety, without improving outcomes, while widening healthcare inequalities around ethnicity and income. Even apparent “common sense” like taxing individuals for risky behaviours seems morally murky. Finding optimal policies balancing public health aims with civil liberties and social justice, remains extraordinarily intricate.
When Innovation Saves – And When It Doesn’t
Short sighted policies, limiting pipelines cultivating experimental drugs, jeopardize therapeutic progress for multitudes. Immunotherapies utilizing the body’s natural cancer-fighting response were unimaginable at the turn of this century, thanks solely to prolific investment. Further exceptional returns likely lie just over the horizon, given adequate funding and fixes to market forces suppressing pioneering minds. Yet restriction breeds not just slower advancement, but disincentives deterring top talent from dedicating careers to ever-elevating standards improving care.
United By Compassion: The True Value of Extending Life
Ultimately, the global cancer battle cannot be won by governments and boardrooms divorced from compassionate humanism. Incidence continues rising, amidst overburdened health systems, but addressing the crisis demands realigning priorities beyond fiscal. This charge starts with supportive structures, enabling patients and caregivers to weather gruelling gauntlets, with dignity fully in tact. It encompasses fuelling researchers, unbound by cruel market forces. But most importantly, victory relies upon cultural commitment carrying one another through tribulation – not relegating the ill to “costly drains”. For in the eyes of those who love someone hanging precariously between life and death’s shadow, each spirit carries intrinsic value beyond any measure.
With coordinated, multipronged strategies emerging from united resolve, societies may one day, reflect and realize cancer’s tragic toll, sparked only greater community cohesion and strength. But today, compassion must uplift those faltering under plight – through steadfast hands lifting up the weary, investiture into those working toward brighter horizons, and policies guided not by wealth, but by universal rights to confront suffering unbowed. This is the true worth of care, and priceless value of life no matter the prognosis.
As always, these are my personal views based on my own experiences. Please feel free to share your own below.