Thursday, April 22, 2010

Vote to Change How Cancer Is Treated

Fuck cancerImage by hoodiefanatic via Flickr

Yesterday I was checking my Facebook feed when I saw this post from a friend:

Develop an alternative cancer treatment that has no side effects | Pepsi Refresh Everything
Vote for the most refreshing ideas to win Pepsi Refresh Project grants for Health

Being a 22 year cancer survivor, of course I had to check this out.

Because I have lived so long after my leukemia diagnosis in 1988, I know first hand that surviving cancer is really just half the battle. Think about it like this: having cancer is like climbing Mount Everest. It is a grueling struggle to get to the top of the mountain, which is akin to cancer treatment. Once you get to the top, the view is exhilarating and awe-inspiring, like finding out your cancer is in remission. But then, you have to make it all the way back down the mountain, which is just as treacherous and dangerous as getting to the top. The journey back down the mountain describes life for many cancer survivors who are living with late and long term effects from their cancer treatment.

So what are cancer treatment late and long term effects? In my case, the chemotherapy drugs I received damaged my autonomic nervous system, caused infertility and put me at risk for getting leukemia again and having heart problems. In addition, the numerous blood transfusions I received in 1988 gave me Hepatitis C. The Children's Oncology Group has put together a comprehensive list of cancer treatment late and long term effects based on the type of cancer and the treatment received, which you can read by clicking here: Long-Term Follow-Up Guidelines for Survivors of Childhood, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancers.

But let's be honest. The odds of me surviving my cancer were only 33% in 1988. It is a miracle I am still alive. Back then, getting the upper hand on cancer was the goal of treatment and no one really worried about late and long term effects because so few people lived for decades past their cancer diagnosis.

I am a member of the first generation of cancer survivors who beat cancer and are here to tell you about it.

Now that treating and curing cancer is a more achievable goal, I say it is time to work on eliminating cancer treatment late and long term effects. I want to make sure that the next generation of cancer survivors does not have to live with this double edged sword illness of illness and disability from cancer and cancer treatments. So when I found this opportunity for all of you to help me achieve this goal, well, you know I had to write about it.

The Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation is working to develop a non-invasive cancer treatment that kills cancer cells and spares healthy cells. Based on the work of John Kanzius, radio wave technology has been found to be effective in targeting and destroying pancreatic, liver, breast, prostate, colon, lung and leukemic cancers. The foundation anticipates FDA approval this year to build a larger device capable of treating humans and beginning pre-clinical testing. Based on this time line, they anticipate beginning Phase 1 human clinical trials in 2012.

Your vote at the Pepsi Refresh Project can help the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation obtain $250,000 in needed funding. With the money, the foundation plans to hire two full-time experts, a molecular biologist and a physicist, to support ongoing research and clinical trials. They will also use the funds to support ongoing global fundraising efforts to support their ongoing research.

Please help me improve the health of cancer survivors by voting for the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation at the Pepsi Refresh Project. You can cast your vote daily through April 30th. The foundation needs to place 1st or 2nd in its funding category in order to receive funds and it is currently in 3rd place. Let's help them move up in the rankings and achieve their goal!

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