Something I learned to do a long time ago is listen closely to people who are smarter than me. In oncology, that means I listen to a lot of people, given that I’m not a clinician, researcher, or policy expert who has dedicated years to learning cancer and its treatments, habits, and statistics.
So it was with great interest that I read Oncology Times blogger Lola Butcher’s blog post on Poverty as a Carcinogen recently. It summarizes some salient points from another article by the ACS’s Dr. Len Lichtenfeld about the impact of factors like education and race on cancer incidence and survival.
Lola’s call-to-action is to read Dr. Len’s article, so I did just that. The statistics are mind-boggling. 37% of cancer deaths between the ages of 27 and 64 could be avoided right now, which translates to more than 60,000 lives saved per year. I’ll say no more – you need to read the article too; it offers a sobering view of how something like education affects one’s access to healthcare.
Dr. Len’s supposition is correct in that nobody is talking about that. We hear about all the things we shouldn’t do, eat, play with, smoke and handle – yet nobody focuses on what we can do right now to save those 60,000 lives.
Well, in my blog, now I’m talking about it. And you should be too! Read this article, and start discussing this with your colleagues in the hallway. Take it to social media –Twitter it, blog about it. Keep spreading the word. Let’s make people aware of another way we can fight off cancer, by improving access to healthcare for the poor. Share it with your patients, educate them – they may know someone who needs better access to care. Let’s find those 60,000 people and get them to shout “We want to be saved!” and get their families to shout it with them. That’s something that’ll be heard everywhere.
You’re a life-saver, right? You spend all day every day helping people beat cancer. In this case, all you have to do is talk.
Thanks Lola, and thanks Dr. Len.