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Letter from the editor

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

No more whispering: looking clearly at a personal tragedy, a national scourge ...Read the full article

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  1. gerhard beck from Canada writes: I appreciate both the editors letter as well as the forum article,living with both prostate and kidney cancer. It is a great idea to publish these articles if only to show that others suffer from this disease as well. I am probably one of the luckier people since at my last visit to the Princess Margret Hospital Professor Jewett of the Urological section told me that I must be a very healthy person since my kidney tumor shrank in the last 6 month by almost 20 mm, without special treatment yet. Needless to say that this disease has grown by leaps and bounds in our society. Causes unknown, but probably the environmental pollution of all our surroundings, foodstuffs included, are major causes. I shrink when I see cleaning materials, airfresheners etc. advertized on the tube , especially when it is known that they contain components that are prooven cancer causers. Being 86 years old I am certainly phylosophical about my life, which I consider to be on overtime for more than 60 years, I got out of WW II alive. It is depressing hoever, to say the least, to hear ,see and read about the innocent children being victims. When I grew up Cancer in children was unheard of. Progress?
  2. Jerry McCullough from St.Catharines, Ontario, Canada, Canada writes: The stories here are heartbreaking, my good friend has been in and out of the Montreal Jewish General for years. He now feds himself through a tube in his stomach. Something is upside down if we can put a man on the moon and yet we seem to make small progress in cancer. Is it the enviorment or is it the food or water we are taking that makes us sick ?Thank God for the doctors , nurses and hospitals that are helping in this fight.
  3. Joan Gagne from Winnipeg, Canada writes: I think Canada is well behind many countries in the care of people with serious and life threatening diseases. One of the most worrying aspects of being seriously ill is the expense incurred, with very little help from the government. My sister died from colorectal cancer, and liver cancer. During the two years she was ill, all her expenses were paid, and the Government even paid her fifty pounds a week, to help defray the costs of travelling to and from the treatment centre, or for help in the house. During the last two weeks of her life, she had regular nursing at night, up until the time she entered a Hospice. It was certainly a great help to her family. I think all people with serious, or chronic illnesses, with all the attendant expenses, get some kind of financial help from the British Government. It would be nice if the Canadian government did the same.
  4. lary waldman from Qualicum Beach BC, Canada writes: Last Monday I got a CT Scan. Today at 9:30 P.M. My doctor called me too let me know what the next step would be in treating my ailment. Again it was 9:30 at night. My doctor started his day at 6:00 A.M. at the hospital he works at, operates at, before rushing to his office to see 10 or 20 patients a day. The government doesn't pay him to call me, they don't pay him for the house calls, yes he makes house calls, to comfort encourage and learn a little more about his patirnts. He is not alone, many doctors do the same. And I can assure you he is not nor has he ever been rich.
    The lack of support they receive from the various levels of government can only be explained away by the fact that 'big shots' in Government of course receive the care they need for themselves or their loved ones, in as timely fashion available. If necessary even travelling to the US where if you can afford it everything is available this very instant.
    I wept like a child as I read this piece, and the discription of saying goodbye to your bubbie cut right to my heart. Good work.

    Lary Waldman
  5. Louis Pacella from Canada writes: Why poison food? Why poison air? Why poison lakes, streams, rivers, seas, oceans? Can't we stop it? Cancer, in large part, is an enviromental problem, -hello Harper. Conservatives wince whenever an environmental problem is talked about; and CEOs' don't think about it:out of sight out of their consciences. Cancer is also the result of a wasteful life-style and the acceptance of politicians who simply close their eyes to the mess created by the commercial-industrial society. Case in point. Over forty years ago a doctor, who practiced in a highly polluted neighbourhood, noticed that he diagnosed more patients with cancer than other doctors who practiced in less polluted neighbourhoods. A study he did showed that to the degree a neighbourhood's proximity was to the factories the higher the cancer rate. The politicians of that time were falling over themselves in praising the doctor's pioneer work. Today, sometimes, on clear days, looking down from the highest point of the city, you can see the neighbourhood shrouded in a pall of smoke. The doctor's study? I don't think anybody knows what happened to it.
  6. Cat Stephens from Canada writes: I cant understand why in this day and age we are still not sure how or what causes and cures cancer. Over the decades we have conquered so many ills but cancer remains an enigma.
  7. Yigal Rachman from Victoria, BC, Canada writes: Maybe it is time to revisit that excellent book on the subject of cancer: 'World Without Cancer'. It is out of print, but is well-quoted online - simply Google for the term to find out more.

    This book convinced me that mainstream medical science is ignoring compelling evidence of the real causes of cancer. In so doing, it is condemning millions of people to unnecessary suffering and loss.
  8. Denis Moffatt from Victoria, Canada writes: What a powerful edition! Erin Anderssen and Carl Wilson have
    done a wonderful job of capturing all the emotions and feelings of those afflicted with this terrible disease. They have captured the essence of the indomitable human spirit. The highs and lows but mainly the 'I will beat this' attitude of those who have survived. Good for Erin and good for the survivors. We're pulling for you!
  9. D C from Canada writes: Ahhh yes. Cancer. Where it all began. WHat began of course was the concept that if you were quick and smart you could make a lotta bucks out of the cancer card. Look at the 'Cure' with the pink ribbons...now has anyone gotten a cash flow report and balance sheet from these multifaceted hydra headed 'charities' ? Hmmm? Where's the money ? Where's the Terry Fox money ? ANy cures yet ? And were those cures brought about because of walks, runs, and trampoline marathons ??

    Now there is not a single solitary disease under the sun that doesn't have an immediate 'charity' flogging and flacking for it ...alzheimers and ALS, to Zanzibar flu ...

    aCTUALLY A TOP NOTCH tORONTO NEWSPAPER DID AN EXPOSE IN 5 PARTS ON THIS RANCID FILTH ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO..SADLY ..IT CAUSED NOT A RIPPLE. i'm not retyping that .but i'm m not shouting.
  10. Loretta Clark from Canada writes: Thank-you for this inspiring section on cancer. How moving and triggering of my own family's dealing with cancer. These stories heal us because cancer is a shared experience, and sometimes our pain does make us much better people. While we are finally cluing into the hazards of our environment, it cannot be understated that our fossilized world is killing us with cancer. The anti-dote to this is hemp/cannabis and cannabis will also help people deal with cancer--more needs to written on this. Dr. Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School coined cannabis, 'the penicillin of the 21st century' and put his own young son on it when fighting cancer. We must insist on liberating this plant as medicine and growing it massively as it will help clean our air and water. Cancer and petrochemicals are strongly connected and so is the greed that has come with it.
  11. Cymro yn byw yma Canada from Canada writes: I am a cancer survivor and wonder why we are spending our resources on Afghanistan when so much more could be done for Canadians. We need doctors, nurses, research and such much more than we need soldiers. Neither of the two major parties seem to think Canadian when they spend money.
  12. Cymro yn byw yma Canada from Canada writes: So you start a cancer charity with people such as Ed Broadbent, Bob Rae, Martha Hall Findley, Howard Hampton and I will be a willing and regular contributor. These are the kind of people I trust. After the Red Cross fiasco about blood donations, I never give to that organization any more.
  13. ne' chee from Canada writes: If you wanted to do something other than same old same old you could have done an expose on the cancer industry, you know, the pharmaceutical and agro-chemical industry that makes the poisons that 'treat' the diseases caused by the other poisons they make, that same industry that sends you all those press releases and testimonials from astro-turfers that they pay, and that same industry that sponors a whack of advertising (aka your salary) in the G & M.
  14. jacob koren from Canada writes: Dear editor , great article, how about listing to readers of your great paper , well known prevention measures that each individual can control , such as diet and exercise , in order to enhance life style and reduce occurence of cancer, and at the same occasion to advise health agencies in Canada to post guidelines in the media , as the wise man said: ' one ounce of prevention is better than one pound of cure'.
  15. Bonita Allen from Canada writes: Your series: Cancer: Hope and Fear is to be lauded. It has been interesting, informative and encouraging.

    Might I suggest that you do a similar series on mental illness. The recent senate report: 'Out of the Shadows at Last' would be just one excellent source. Indeed, the many issues surrounding mental illness need to be taken 'out of the shadows' and onto the front pages of the Globe and Mail.
  16. Sandra Shields from Canada writes: I started today, with a Google search for my husband's name, Jeff Boam, and it has finally led me here. Jeff was told, on June 16, not 15, that he was "cancer free", and I know that I should add more, but suffice it to say that although I requested tests be done THAT day at the Cancer Centre in Hamilton, Ontario, the tests were not done because I was feeling "overprotective" in the words of the doctor that delivered the wonderful and long awaited "cancer free" news. Just 3 weeks later, I took my Jeff to the emergency department of the hospital in Oakville (as everyone else refused to see him, including the Cancer Centre, his oncologists, and his family doctor), and he was immediately seen and immediately it was found that cancer had spread throughout his body and that this was terminal. Jeff Boam died just one month later, exactly 2 months after he was told that he was cancer free.

    Well, I could accept that Jeff may have died because the cancer was aggressive and not treatable, IF they had known that the cancer was not present. On the day that we were told of his "cancer free" status, it later came to my attention via a copy of a report that was mistakenly sent to me by an insurance company ... a report that was later found to be in the file of the doctor who delivered the news, WHEN the doctor delivered the news ... that the scan had found a "small nodule at the original site, unknown at this time if benign or malignant" . In further delving into hospital records, and recalling further "mistakes", I have realized that mismanagement of treatment at hospitals must take place routinely.

    This was only the tip of the iceberg, unfortunately.

    And so begins my first New Year's Resolution for 2007 .. to help to assist others that might be harmed by their own treatments and doctors, and to do what I should have done .. years ago. Small steps towards a very big problem that needs to be fixed.

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