The Fight Against Cancer: Science Is Our Salvation

Science has saved more people this very day than religion ever has in all of history. It has been a light in a world of darkness and superstition, and is responsible for astounding improvements in the quality of human lives.

A collection of fierce diseases like cancer should be no challenge for modern medicine, but unfortunately, we aren’t at that point yet. Cancer continues to linger over all of humanity, remaining at the very top of the list in virtually every place for the most common causes of death. For those of us (like my family) who have seen people suffer through this disease, we know that cancer isn’t just a statistic. It’s an experience that tortures the human soul, that creates unwilling heroes and defeated victims, and that makes many people realize that no loving God could possibly exist.

The good news is that we’re fighting back, with effective treatments, cutting-edge research, and caring support–all motivated by our commitment to humanist principles and scientific integrity. Contrary to popular belief, cancer probably isn’t going to be cured in an instance. It’s going to be defeated one step at a time, one improved treatment at a time.

And we’re making a huge difference. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society talk at SSA Con 2012 highlighted some important points that should inspire us all to become more active.

1) We are curing cancer right nowA couple decades ago, childhood leukemia and many other cancers were practically death sentences. Now, childhood leukemia has an astounding 90% cure rate. In all kinds of cancers, patients have seen dramatic improvements in the quality and length of life, especially when the cancer is detected early. However, progress has been slow for many other cancers, and cancer remains an extremely deadly disease.

2) We will one day phase out chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These treatments have been instrumental in our fight against cancer, and will continue to play a role for a very long time, but their side effects have a huge physical and psychological toll. Some newer, targeted therapies like Imatinib have been “super effective” against very specific gastrointestinal and blood cancers. The hope is to accelerate the transition towards therapies that involve taking pills that produce minimal side effects, leading to huge improvements in the quality of life for patients and their families.

3) New drugs are constantly being developed. Thanks to organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, new drugs go from clinical trial to fully approved all the time. LLS has been directly involved in funding research for over 40% of the recently approved anti-cancer drugs.

4) Patient education and support are making a difference. Cancer isn’t just about the patient’s disease. It’s about educating people so they understand their disease and what to expect. It’s about forming communities like LLS’s Family Support Groups. And it’s also about helping people in their financial circumstances. In an age where millions of Americans don’t have basic health insurance, programs like LLS’s Patient Financial Aid Program and Co-pay Assistance Program made treatment possible for tens of thousands of people (just in 2011).

How You Can Help

Right now, this is one of the most important things you can do.

The Foundation Beyond Belief has teamed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on the Light the Night project to raise one million dollars. You can support us by donating, fundraising, or participating in the walk at a location near you. Donations from FBB teams will be matched by the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.

You can help out our Chicago-based SSA team by going to http://pages.lightthenight.org/il/ChicagoL12/ChicagoAreaSecularStudentAllianceFBB

At the very least, please donate and help us reach our $2000 goal and approach that $1 million national goal. If you’re near Chicago, join our team and walk with us.

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Posted on August 17, 2012, in Humanism and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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