February 8 – Crabby About Cancer

Today’s factismal: There are over 100 different types of cancer known to attack the human body.

If you ever venture out on the internet (I don’t recommend it), then odds are that you will run into a false meme at some point. There will be people who claim that the Earth is flat (it isn’t), or that the Earth is expanding (it isn’t), or that chemtrails are being used for mind control (they aren’t), or that vaccines cause autism (they don’t). The internet isn’t responsible for these memes; conspiracy theories have been around since the days of the Know Nothings. All that the internet has done is make it easier for the modern Luddites to get their message out. And one of the most pernicious messages is the false idea that companies are suppressing a cure for cancer because they can’t make any money at it.

cancer4 cancer3
cancer2 cancercure1
False memes like this abound on the internet

What they don’t realize is that you can’t cure cancer because cancer isn’t one disease; it is (at least) one hundred different diseases. Cancer is what happens when the cells in an organ stop behaving normally and start to grow at the expense of the other, normal cells. Because the human body has 78 organs that interact in lots of different ways, we have lots of opportunities for the cells in those organs to stop behaving normally. Right now, there are more than one hundred different types of cancer that can happen to a person. And each type of cancer needs a different type of medicine in order to be cured. So we can’t cure cancer. Instead, we have to cure cancers. And medical science is working hard to do just that.

How hard? Well, if you had been diagnosed with cancer in 1977, you would have had a 50:50 chance of dying within five years; today, you have a 68% chance of living more than five years. Even better, many forms of cancer that were once considered a death sentence are now treatable. For example, when caught early enough, bowel cancer, prostrate cancer, skin cancer, and breast cancer are no longer a death sentence.  And thanks to the work of those companies that are “supressing a cure for cancer”, today there are 14 million cancer survivors in the USA alone.

Still not good enough? Well why not put the blame for cancer where it belongs – on us. Our habits are responsible for more than half of all cancers. Smoking and obesity caused about 995,000 cases of cancer in the USA in the last year. And 20% of cancers are due to bacteria and viruses, many of which can be prevented with a simple vaccination. And the most common form of radiation-induced cancer is skin cancer, which can be prevented by simply wearing sunscreen.

Most cancers are caused by things we can control

Most cancers are caused by things we can control

So we can prevent cancer simply by eating right and not smoking and companies are working to cure cancer because they don’t like it any more than we do.  Companies are creating tests to detect cancer (because you can’t cure what you don’t know you have). And companies are developing new ways of defeating the 100 different types of cancer. If you’d like to help them, why not put your fingers where your mouth is and play Genes In Space? You’ll play a videogame, charting your course through a minefield – only the minefield is actually a DNA map; when you successfully complete a mission, you help the scientists sequence the DNA of a cancer. Each new mission brings us one step closer to finding a cure for another cancer! To learn more, fly over to:
http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/play-to-cure-genes-in-space

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