Quote of the Day:
“Do you believe in miracles?…….YES! –Al Michaels, describing America’s most recent monumental victory in 1980
TB read this blog penned by that girl Marlo Thomas. It gave me a rush of optimism that the conquest of cancer is actually achievable. If that particular terrorist agent frightens you as it does me, you ought to read it. The main thrust of the optimism for the rest of you is that recent advances and new capabilities in DNA sequencing and seeing deeply into the cell itself have allowed doctors to develop drastically more effective treatments based on the individual needs of a patient. One cancer researcher was quoted saying that he wakes up every morning and rushes to work because he knows something great is ready to happen. Another scientist likened cancer treatments just a decade ago as compared to today as equivalent to a mechanic trying to fix a car engine without looking beneath the hood. Finally, doctors can “look under the hood.” What does that mean? In sports terms, we have access to the other side’s game plan. The war on cancer is suddenly very winnable.
It all got me pretty excited and I decided to look at some numbers. Here are the ones I was interested in. Reach your own conclusions.
Annual Federal Funding for cancer research– about 4.9 billion; an additional 1.3 billion was allocated by the Stimulus Act for 2009-2010 only. The NIC has requested 5.8 billion for 2012. source (note–some other governmental agencies, including the Defense Dept also fund cancer research to a far lesser degree).
Annual cancer research funding by the American Cancer Association (the largest non-governmental funder)– 130 million source
Well known cancer charity, Komen for the Cure has spent 680 million on research funding since 1982. I couldn’t find their single year numbers. source
Lives lost to cancer per year in the United States– 500,000+ (second to heart disease in cause of death in the US) source
Risk of getting cancer– 41.2% of Americans born today will get cancer of some type at some time in their life. source
Civilian Terrorism deaths since 9-11–difficult to determine from a quick web search, but I feel confident based on the stories I read that the number is well below 10,000 in 11 years. Probably closer to 1000 worldwide.
American military deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq– as of September 2011, approximately 6500 dead and 45,000 wounded; that number has increased since then. source
Annual Military Spending in the US- 711 billion not counting secret spending; China is the second largest defense spender at 143 billion source
Cost to develop F-35 Joint Strike Fighter– 400 billion paid by US taxpayers to Lockheed; estimated cost for 50 year life of the airplanes 1 trillion; cost of the jet’s GE engine wanted by neither the Bush nor Obama administrations nor the Pentagon, but still funded despite Pratt and Whitney making the alternative, preferred engine– 3 billion source source source
Cancer deaths vs Military/Terror Deaths per decade in the US, estimated– 5 million to 5000 (depending on our withdrawal from Afghanistan and not starting another war or being invaded).
Cancer funding per decade vs military spending estimated– 50 Billion to 1 Trillion, 430 Billion*
The numbers are interesting. What if we converted that Lockheed jet money to cancer spending? How many of our lives would be saved? Hell, we could cut half out of the budget to appease the fiscal conservatives, assuming that beast actually exists in government, and still accelerate progress on cancer research. with the other half. Seems like a good investment to me.
It’s something that ought to make everyone happy. We have cancer on the run and maybe with a little more federal research money, we can accelerate the day that we beat it once and for all. I suggest, when the moment arrives, we ask Al Michaels to make the announcement on national tv.
I realize the cancer funding to military spending comparison is not apples to apples, but it IS illustrative.