It's all over the news. The Swine Flu has entered the U.S., and everyone is responding quickly. Here is what has happened already:
This is a crisis and deserves a fast response. Sick children, and the death of even one child, is a great loss. But I am a little confussed. I would like to point out some comparisons
1) Since the outbreak in the U.S., there have been 279 (reported by C.N.N. as of 5/5/2009) cases of swine flu, and one death. Compare that to the fact that 12,600 families are told their child has cancer each year. That is 35 families every single day of the year.
2) The media tells us that the 279 cases and one death from the swine flu is a "crisis" and "epidemic".
3) To protect yourself against the swine flu, you should wash hands, not touch your nose, and cover your mouth. You can even wear gloves and a mask. But there is no protection against childhood cancers. In fact, the cause of most childhood cancers is still unknown.
4) The swine flu produces severe flu symptoms. The effects of cancer are beyond description
5) The government has opened up it's stockpile of flu drugs to fight the crisis. But there is no stockpile of cancer drugs. In fact, it has been 30 years since a new pediatric cancer drug has been developed. A 5 year study by the National Institutes of Health concluded that new drugs for pediatric and adolescent cancers are not being developed because the profit margins are too slim. Therefore mega-doses of adult chemotherap
6) Congress has approved $1.5 billion in ADDITIONAL funding to fight the swine flu. With 226 infected people, that is $6 million per person. Childhood cancer received a TOTAL of $30 million. That works out to $750 for each child currently fighting cancer.
So does any of this scare you more than the swine flu? It should. The emergency response to the swine flu has been great. But where is the emergency plan for childhood cancer? And where is the media attention? There is none.
Some might say these are not a fair comparisons
The majority of this post is borrowed from a parent of a child with cancer.