We Found A Vaccine; Why Not Cancer?
In record time, scientists developed, tested, manufactured, and distributed millions of doses of the COVID-19 vaccines.
So why can’t we do the same thing with cancer?
These are different diseases with different impacts on the body. Still, there’s a growing sense of frustration that actually preventing and ultimately curing cancer isn’t being met with the same vigor and investment as the pandemic. As deadly and dangerous as COVID-19 is, cancer seems to have touched nearly every American. We’ve dealt with it for decades; why can’t modern medicine do anything about it?
At least that’s the new sentiment according to a recent study released by COTA. The company is an oncology data firm the specializes in generating data from within the cancer community. This study found that 66% of cancer patients and their family members feel frustrated with the pace of cancer treatment.
The $18 billion investment that made a COVID-19 vaccine possible in 2020 and 2021 has spurred at least some cancer patients that a similar effort could have similar effects if applied to cancer treatment. Patients and healthcare providers alike believe that sharing cancer treatment data holds the key to accelerating the search for a cure and, ultimately, saving lives.
Cancer and COVID are not the same things. Cancer is not a transmissible virus, and the risks of developing cancer are hereditary, the result of lifestyle, and environmental factors like chemical exposure.
And for all its ills, the federal government does invest in cancer research and treatment. In 2021, Congress approved a $1.25 billion funding increase for biomedical research. With the pandemic raging, it also approved a $120 million increase for the National Institutes of Health.
The budget fact book illustrates how millions of dollars have been distributed through thousands of research groups and grants.
There is no easy vaccine for cancer because it’s not a virus and no two cancer types are alike. If COVID-19 hit the medical community like a sucker punch, cancer will be a long boxing match, one will have to fight round-by-round.