Apr 29

Medical research is a curly one for me personally, and I’m a bit antsy about where the money goes given the massive industry/government complex around drug companies. The focus on treatment rather than prevention especially disturbs me, although I can certainly understand that, as with most issues, quite often there’s no impetus to do anything about something until the something gets critical. In that sense it’s not surprising that treatment gets more of a focus than prevention. I think we’re all ‘guilty’ of that attitude in various aspect of our lives. But when this attitude becomes systemic, I think it warrants further examination because of the implications for cultural perpetuation.

A case in point… consider Movember, a fundraising activity for, among other things, prostate cancer research. Prostrate cancer is an issue in my family, so much so that given the research on risk factors – which include genetics (it’s on both sides of my family) and lifestyle (farmers seem to have an elevated risk) – I’m a bit surprised that I’m not dead already. But when someone asked me to chip in for Movember, being the obsessive compulsive that I am, I had to do some reading to see where the money goes.

According to the WHO (the organisation, not the band), “At least one-third of all cancer cases are preventable. Prevention offers the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.”  And again, “Dietary factors are estimated to account for approximately 30% of cancers in industrialized countries … Dietary factors for which there is convincing evidence for an increase in risk are overweight and obesity, and a high consumption of alcoholic beverages … Factors which probably increase risk include high dietary intake of preserved meats, salt-preserved foods and salt, and very hot (thermally) drinks and food.”

So what does the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (a primary Movember recipient) do to raise funds? It runs the Big Aussie BBQ, where you could probably expect plenty of salty, preserved, fatty sausages and beer.  And the Foundation states that they funded 18 grants for treatment, and 4 for etiology (i.e. identifying the cause). 43 grants for “biology” presumably contains a crossover of all areas.

I’m sure that they do great work, but surely they could do something more appropriate to the cause than a barbie.

Just saying…

One comment

  1. Alana /

    Nothing wrong with a BBQ.