A version of this was first published on HuffingtonPost.
The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center* reached out to me recently and asked if I was familiar with the #CancerMoonshot initiative, and if so, what it meant to me.
The answer was yes. I am familiar with the “moon shot to cure cancer“ as VP Joe Biden phrased it in October 2015 after his son passed away from brain cancer. As a two-time cancer ‘survivor’, I tune in when cancer is the subject. I’ve had multiple surgeries, radiation twice and chemotherapy since 2006.
The doctors aren’t sure what caused my breast cancer. I have taken an empowered approach to my health, a firm believer in integrative solutions and that your immune system is a critical part of the cancer puzzle. Focusing on cause and prevention is a big factor in my lifestyle choices.
Millions of people and their families have been affected by the wrath of cancer. The Cancer Moonshot initiative is a BIG step in the right direction — we need to leverage the power of science and innovation. Vice President Biden’s passion to end cancer starts with the Cancer Moonshot Summit in D.C. on June 29th.
The theme of “ending cancer” has been around quite a while. President Nixon declared a “war on cancer.” Remember that? Cancer is not one disease though; it is very complex as each person and situation are different.
What makes Biden’s push different is that he’s trying to bring everyone together to share their ideas. Much of the research on cancer has been done by separate organizations, with different agendas and individual goals, and not much sharing of information or data.
The “Slash and Burn. Repeat.” approach has been the standard cancer treatment. It is toxic and sucks really. This is not working for most and doesn’t consider the proper use of the body’s immune system. Immunotherapy is a treatment that uses the immune system to fight diseases such as cancer. It is tailored to the unique tumor of an individual.
President Carter is an example of a cancer patient who benefited from an immunotherapy clinical trial. Not enough cancer patients in the U.S. are approved to be involved with clinical trials. I hope that Biden’s cancer effort includes reducing the red tape that patients have to deal with to even be considered for a clinical trial. A friend of mine recently passed away from Stage 4 lung cancer and couldn’t get immunotherapy approval. He received chemo and radiation, and died 7 months after the cancer diagnosis.
For my part in the #CancerMoonshot initiative, I am focused on prevention through health education and promotion. We can do this together – as a team – by sharing experiences and ideas.
I encourage you to learn more about the CancerMoonshot2020.
Integrative medicine and Immunotherapy is the future and this movement gives me hope.
*The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center is passionate about the moonshot because of the potential it has to provide breathtaking advancements in treating rare cancers. Cancer research and treatment would no longer be just about how much funding the specific cancer foundations could raise. It would help every single strain of cancer! For more information about this rare, aggressive cancer, head on over to the MAAC website.