Hi again! As you may have read in my first blog post, my name is Gabrielle Cromley and I am doing a project called You and the World for my English class at Science Leadership Academy. I chose to write about finding a cure for cancer and how the lack of government funding is preventing researchers from saving lives. Since my last post, I have looked into the emotional and financial burden that cancer brings upon people.
Cancer brings just as much if not more emotional pain than physical. It causes depression, anxiety, distress, and fear in the patients and their loved ones. Below is an excerpt from a pamphlet about how cancer affects your emotional health by the American Cancer Society. Click here to read more.
“In people with cancer, these feelings may be caused by many things, including changes in how they are able to fill family or work roles. A person with cancer might feel the loss of control over life events, and have to deal with changes in body image. They might feel grief at the losses and changes in their lives that cancer brings. They might fear death, suffering, pain, or all the unknown things that lie ahead. Family members and caregivers may have these feelings, too. They are often afraid of losing their loved one. They may also feel angry because someone they love has cancer, frustrated that they “can’t do enough,” or stressed because they have to do more at home.”
As for the financial effects of cancer, it does not only have an impact on patients and their families but on our entire nation”s economy. For patients, their medical bills depend on their method of treatment and the severity of their illness. Cancer is a very expensive illness to treat and research. Research is so expensive since there are so many types of cancer and there is a lot of needed equipment and supplies that go into it. This is also a global issue since, “More people (in the world) die from cancer every year around the world than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined,” as stated in The Global Burden of Cancer by the Livestrong Foundation. If we could globally fight cancer, we would probably be on the edge of finding a cure. This is not currently possible, because world peace does not seem to be achievable yet. Till then, we should fight against cancer as much as we can internationally by researching with other countries that we are at peace with.
As part of my own research, I created a survey which I sent throughout my school and posted all over my social networks. The point of my survey was to learn how much people are informed on this subject and what their opinions are about this issue. Also, adults and kids my age responded to this survey. The results of my survey revealed that people are not informed on how much the government funds to cancer research, the effects of medical malpractice, and that they only had pretty vague understandings of what cancer is. Most of the responses to the question, “What is your understanding of cancer?”, said that it is a deadly and terrible disease that is caused by abnormal cell growth and reproduction. They did not state the emotional, mental, physical, and financial toll that it has on its victims, their families, and our world as a whole. Also, 83% of the people who filled out the survey know someone who has been affected by cancer. The results from the question, “Do you think there is enough federal funding for cancer research,” were that 53% of the people did not know how much the government funds cancer research, 37% said that there should be more funding towards finding a cure, and only 3 people answered that there is enough funding. To view the rest of the results of my survey, click here.
Part of Survey Results
The outcome of my research supports my claim that people are uneducated on funding and the repercussions that cancer has on people. I also learned that people know little about infections within cancer patients, but that they are somewhat familiar of what medical malpractice is. The results indicate that many people care about this cause and they want to make a change, but the negligence of the government to fund toward this issue is restraining our potential. I learned that my topic is important to many people and that cancer is more common than it is thought to be. People are willing to support, but they are going to begin to give up if there isn’t a change in the governments priorities. Not even just cancer, scientific research itself should be more of a priority to United States and to the world, because science and technology is the gateway to the future.
There is already a lot of awareness about finding a cure for cancer, but there is not a lot of pressure on the government to put the people’s ideas into action. In order to bring the government’s attention to this subject there needs to be an effort by people everywhere to contact their representatives, join groups that support cancer/scientific research to take part in their activities, and stand up to make a difference instead of sitting back and waiting for others to take charge. There should also be more awareness to aiding cancer patients and their loved ones with the effects of cancer that I spoke about previously. Anybody can help by volunteering, donating to families suffering from the financial struggle or to hospitals that do not charge families for their medical needs like St. Jude’s Childrens Hospital. There needs to be a lot of people to fight to make these changes which is why we all must take a stand.
Even after my research, I still wonder about other people’s points of view. I want to know what doctors who are affected by funding and people who work for the government or are in Congress think. This would allow me to hear arguments that oppose and support this problem. I would also like to learn more about how research funding is spent.
For our You and the World project, each student must put their ideas into action so that they can make a change for their cause. This part of the project is called the Agent of Change. To make a change in cancer research, I am planning on creating my own team for the Race for the Cure Walk in Philadelphia. I will set a goal for my fundraising, get sponsors, and donate to finding a cure. This will also allow me to meet cancer survivors and interact with people who are also fighting for this cause. I hope to be able to fulfill this goal, but setting up a team requires a lot of support and hard work which I am willing to put forth.