Archive for the ‘Editorials’ Category
On the July 21st Chris Stigall Show, Jeff Roe, Senator Ted Cruz’s campaign manager said that Governor Chris Christie had, “turned over his political testicles long ago.”
Does losing one’s political testicles make them less of a man? Does it make them less virtuous? Does it make them less capable? Does one need political testicles?
There are hundreds of thousands of testicular cancer survivors that have lost a testicle(s) and yet they have accomplished amazing things in their lives. Some may even admit that their accomplishments would not have happened had they not been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
Mr. Roe can make disparaging remarks about whomever he would like, however, involving testicles into a feeble, sophomoric punchline does noting but insult those that are facing the long-term challenges of a missing testicle(s).
Instead of insulting hundreds of thousands of men, perhaps Mr. Jeff Roe could use his platform to speak about testicles in a proper manner. For example, he could ask why millions of young men are not being educated about testicular cancer in schools.
As the founder of a 501(c)3 nonprofit I do not get involved with politics and I am certainly not defending Governor Christie. But, I do ask Mr. Jeff Roe, what are political testicles and can women lose their political ovaries?
During Joe Biden’s announcement that he would not be running for president in 2016 he stated,
“And I believe we need a moonshot in this country to cure cancer. It’s personal. But I know we can do this. The president and I have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development — because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine.”
His statements and vigor about increasing cancer research funding during his last 15 months in office were great to hear. However, was this just rhetoric or, based on his past 81 months in office, are his intentions and efforts futile?
In 2008, The Obama-Biden Plan to Combat Cancer promised to double federal funding for cancer research focusing on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). But, this has not occurred, as funding of the NCI has not shown growth since 2003.
In my opinion, funding for cancer research is plain scary. Five years ago, I made a post about how U.S. consumers spend more on Halloween than the NCI does on cancer research. Unfortunately, it appears that the gap is getting worse.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), Americans are expected to spend $6.9 billion on Halloween this year. In contrast, the NCI’s budget for fiscal year 2015 was just $4.95 billion.
It is impressive that, as consumers, we spend more on candy and costumes than the NCI does on cancer and cures. The NRF estimates that 157 million Americans will spend an average of $74.34 on Halloween this year.
Perhaps the power of the people’s purse is the approach that is needed to properly fund cancer research.
If President Obama and Vice President Biden have really tried in earnest to double cancer research funding for the NCI for almost 7 years and failed then perhaps our tax and political system have failed us as well.
Why don’t we try a different approach?
What if, as the people, we were given a $100 tax rebate if we can document a $100 donation to the NCI each year?
Now, that would be “an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today” as Mr. Biden mentioned was needed in his announcement.
We the people have paid our taxes and elected our officials based on the promises to increase funding for cancer research and yet our efforts via those avenues have failed. Let us decide to fund cancer research. Let us crowdfund our tax dollars to the right place and put an end to this scariness.
Thanks for Reading,
I applaud Willie Geist and Carson Daly who underwent a live testicular exam on the TODAY show as part of their “No-Shave Today” programming.
While the TODAY show may seem to be on the cutting edge their approach was a bit reserved. The first live testicular exam on television was performed on This Morning, a morning show in the UK, in 1999 by Dr. Chris Steele. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Steele in 2009 and we discussed how censored the U.S. media was about educating on testicular self exams.
When we spoke over 5 years ago we both joked that no one would have the balls to show real testicles on U.S. television and it appears our visions are still correct as the TODAY show exams were conducted with a bit of smoke and mirrors and cloaked behind closed doors. This is in contrast to another “real” live self testicular exam shown on This Morning again this week.
Testicular cancer is the leading cause of cancer in guys age 15-35, but it can occur at any age, so all men should know how to do a monthly self testicular exam. Self testicular exams are the best tool men can use to detect testicular cancer early when it is almost 100% curable. If caught in later stages the outcomes are not as favorable and the treatment burdens are much higher.
Geist, age 39 and Daly, age 41 are a bit outside of the age range at highest risk as are probably most of the viewers of the TODAY show. However, it isn’t just young men that need to hear these messages. Parents, partners and other loved ones need to be educated and encourage young men to perform their exams monthly and more importantly to go to the doctor if they notice something wrong.
Dr. Steele is still my hero as he has carried the world of testicular self exams on his back for the last 15 years. My second hero is testicular cancer survivor and a my great mate Darren Couchman who received a live testicular cancer exam on UK tele as well and also set the Guinness World Record for the Largest Simultaneous Self-Check for Testicular Cancer, of which, I was one of the participants.
I do wish the TODAY show could have used a few less sophomoric jokes and giggles and instead gave more information about the steps of the procedure. A simple diagram would have at least provided some real education and made the segment less of a media spectacle.
Thanks for Reading,
Once Again Stand Up 2 Cancer was an Awesome Event
I have been watching Stand Up 2 Cancer since the original event in 2008 and each year chills come to my skin and tears to my eyes. The event is amazing given the celebrities that participate and the fact that it is broadcast uninterrupted on all of the major networks. However, more amazing is the money they have raised and most importantly the impact and work they are supporting with those funds.
While watching this year four things came to mind that should generate questions and I wanted to address those questions.
What is the Role of Obesity in Cancer?
The opening scene started with Melissa McCarthy comedically running with a torch and a joke that she just completed 29 miles. Melissa handed off the torch to Steve Carell, who decided to take the escalator instead of running up the red carpet steps. Steve tossed the torch to Eric Stonestreet with Eric saying, “I don’t want to get sweaty.” I applaud all 3 celebrities for providing an entertaining opening but it got me thinking about exercise and the role of obesity in cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute it was estimated that in 2007 obesity was the cause of cancer in 34,000 men and 50,500 women. This means 4% of male cancers and 7% of female cancers are being caused just because of obesity. Obesity is linked to increased risks of 8 cancers and most likely involved with more. I won’t get into the role of exercise on obesity or on cancer but I think the stats on obesity causing cancer are shocking and need to be addressed.
Why has Government Funding for Cancer Research Diminished?
At the beginning of the program, talking about the need and impact of Stand Up 2 Cancer, Robert Downey Jr. stated, “So much government funding for cancer research has diminished.” But, why? In September 2008, the Obama-Biden Plan to Combat Cancer promised to double funding for cancer research within 5 years, with focus on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI). However, the NIH reports that funding of cancer research since 2008 has decreased. So where did all of these promised funds go? I have no answer to this question but perhaps your politicians may know so why don’t you ask them.
How Common is Adolescent and Young Adult Cancers?
Stand Up 2 Cancer featured a lot of stories about cancer survivors and how cancer research contributed to their survival. Most of these patients were either pediatric patients or older adults. Where were the adolescents and young adult (AYA) cancer patients age 15-39? There are 6 times more AYA cancer cases, affecting 15-39 year olds, than pediatric cancer cases, affecting 0-14 year olds. I don’t think SU2C purposefully left out AYA patients. To be honest, perhaps there would even be justification to leave AYAs out. Cancer survival rates for AYAs have basically remained the same for decades. One of the reasons is thought to be a lack of participation and access to clinical trials that have been so valuable to pediatric and older adult cancer fighters. Raising awareness of AYAs and clinical trials is beyond the scope of SU2C but it does need to be brought more out into the open.
Will Crushing Cancer’s Testicle Kill it?
I applaud Ron Burgundy for making an appearance, entertaining us and declaring his distaste for cancer by announcing, “Lets grab one of cancer’s testicles and pop it like a plump water ballon on a hot summer day.” I just thought I would help educate Ron in that crushing testicles will not kill cancer or anyone for that matter. All of my testicular cancer survivor brothers are proof that one can live a long, healthy and active life without one, or two, testicles.
Once again, Stand Up 2 Cancer was amazing and I hope it was a huge success to raise funds for all of their programs to help cancer fighters live longer lives. The show had one purpose and that was to raise money and not to address other issues in the cancer continuum. The questions raised in my mind while watching the show were just from me reading between the lines.
Thanks for Reading,
Is Pancreatic Cancer Action’s new Envy campaign going to far?
Is calling out other cancers appropriate?
A response from Testicular Cancer Society founder Mike Craycraft
A new video for the Pancreatic Cancer Action’s Envy campaign was just released. The 85 second video features two pancreatic cancer patients in which the male patient states, “I wish I had testicular cancer” and the female patient states, “I wish I had breast cancer.”
Controversy surrounding the Envy ad is starting to mount but is it really offensive?
Pancreatic Cancer Action has attempted to make a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness to the dismal, unchanging survival rates and the underfunding for pancreatic cancer. In doing so, they decided to feature two pancreatic cancer patients wishing they had testicular cancer or breast cancer.
These patient’s wishes appear as if they are an attack on testicular cancer and breast cancer and I certainly feel that comparing cancers as if we are kids comparing scars on a playground is not the correct approach for cancer advocacy overall. I also do not believe that it would be appropriate for the Testicular Cancer Society to create a motivational video for testicular cancer fighters that has the tagline, “Be glad you don’t have pancreatic cancer.”
I founded the Testicular Cancer Society not to promote testicular cancer over any other cancers but rather to curate existing resources and fill the gaps in support that were not available specifically for testicular cancer. With testicular cancer being primarily a young man’s disease, although it can occur at any age, we also advocate for changes in the adolescent and young adult cancer continuum but not at the expense of pediatric or older adult oncology.
Pancreatic Cancer Action has issued a statement and made comments that they are not attempting to start a battle with other cancers and I do believe them. Do I feel that a pancreatic cancer patient wishing he had testicular cancer is a slap in the face to guys and their loved ones that have faced testicular cancer? Perhaps a little.
No matter what the survival rate, treatment regimen or cancer type, there is one thing that all cancer patients face and that is the sudden raw emotions and fears that crash down when a doctor tells you for the first time, “You have cancer.” The experience of facing our own mortality is another thing that we share and that serves as a bond across the spectrum of cancer.
However, the Envy ad is not saying that testicular cancer is easy and that patients do not face emotional and physical challenges with their diagnosis. It is not telling lies or spreading smears about the disease. What it is bringing attention to is that testicular cancer has a much higher survival rate. Even with a high survival rate there are guys and their families that are not on the fortunate side of those statistics and for families that have lost a loved one to testicular cancer then I do see this as kind of a slap in the face.
Could Pancreatic Cancer Action have gotten their point across without mentioning. “I wish I had testicular cancer?” Absolutely. Their video was spot on in their messaging and the controversial statements added little to the emotion of addressing their low survival rates. However, the statements are going to fuel their message in spreading as some good old controversy will certainly add to the spreading of any message.
I can’t fault Pancreatic Cancer Action on their campaign although I do hope that they sympathetically address and apologize to anyone that they may have offended. I do believe they could have avoided any offense by trying a different tactic besides controversy to spread their message.
Maybe I am wrong, maybe controversy is a good approach. Testicular cancer affects white males at a much higher rate than black males yet the mortality rate for black males is approximately 1.6 times higher than that for white males. You tell me, should we create an ad featuring a black male saying, “I wish I was white” or a white male saying, “I wish I was black” in order to get our statistical points across? I believe in doing so might not be wrong but somewhat inappropriate to infer that the grass is greener on the other side, especially since we really can’t put ourselves in the shoes of those we are pointing out.
On a personal note, I can empathize with the pancreatic cancer patients in the ad and with Ali Stunt. I never wanted or asked to be diagnosed with cancer. While I do believe there are many positives that can be gained after a diagnosis, such as enlightenment, I wish there were better ways to receive these positives than to have them so closely tied to a cancer diagnosis. I am not friends with cancer nor do I wish cancer upon anyone.
However, when I was diagnosed I was kind of glad it was me. Not to sound like a martyr, but as a health care professional I knew that statistically someone had to get it. I was single, with no kids and figured that it was easier for me to face things than it would be for someone with a wife and kids to worry about as well. I have also stated numerous times that if I had to pick a cancer to be diagnosed with that I would pick testicular cancer, because of how treatable it is, so maybe my personal emotions lead to my impression of the ad.
I do look forward to the day that there are no cancers or even to the day that cancers are considered a chronic disease because they are no longer killers.
Thanks for Reading,