Modern science proposes a moral challenge, illustrating that our scientific means supply us with an overload of power. With power enough to regulate a global industry, it is our responsibility to distinguish the right and wrong ways to elicit it. The issue of power control lead many people to the notion that scientists have already cured cancer and many other diseases including HIV/AIDS, but the cure is being concealed by officials to protect these illnesses as a source of income.
In a Science-Based Medicine article written by Steven Novella, he cites that “… obody wants to cure cancer. Too many researchers earn a living seeking a cure by remaining inside a narrow, restricted channel of dogma. ” (Novella, 2011). The alleged fact is that cancer is a part of a multi-billion dollar industry, where individual companies and government-based organizations are hiding the cure to keep the business thriving. The opposite side of the argument is that it would be implausible to say that a cure to cancer exists. There are multiple forms of cancer that would require a cure customized to that certain type as opposed to one holistic cure.
Cancer survivor Michael Higgins argued that “if history has taught us anything about cancer, it is that it is not an easy disease to cure. ” (Higgins, 2007). Higgins among many others believes that if someone were to come across an effective method, the scientific community would vastly embrace it and there would be nothing hidden. The same conspiracy is applied to the HIV/AIDS disease which is also assumed to be a curable disease. Both sides of this conspiracy pose an argument that is very controversial, but can be analyzed by choosing one side: the side that most believe to be true.
From a moral standpoint, people assume trust in the government and don’t believe they would practice such an inhumane gesture as to hide cures for diseases such as cancer and AIDS that kills nearly millions of people a year. To go about this, there needs to be evidence to support the notion that a single cure does not exist through vaccination, there are studies being done to learn more about the illnesses, and treatments are being tested to suppress the illnesses until a cure is found. Since there are a variety of different types of cancers, it would be ideal to narrow in on just one form: breast cancer.
When analyzing the elongation of survival in breast cancer patients, it is imperative to ask as to whether or not we have successfully attained a cure for the disease. There have been population-based studies that deny there being a cure for the cancer, and others that have claimed there being a cure, but there isn’t. Reports developed around 40 years ago examining a collective excess mortality of nearly 60% among patients with breast cancer after initial treatment of those 15-20 years of age (Langlands et al. , 2009).
Studies examining direct-cause mortality displayed that the majority, or 66% of the excess mortality noticed breast cancer patients at 16-20 year old follow ups were from breast cancer. A population-based study analyzed the reason for death of 418 deceased breast cancer patients who survived for a minimum of 10 years after diagnosis. The study revealed that 47% of the deaths were from breast cancer and 12% from another cancer, and there was an overall mortality rate of 60 percent at 20 year follow-up mark (Louwman).
Despite a normal or elevated life expectancy for patients two decades after diagnosis, the chances of dying from the disease stayed high. A 20 year follow-up implies that patients have had to disease up to that point, which is an extensive amount of time put into localized treatments. What many people assume is that the extensive amount of time spent conducting studies and receiving treatments is simply a method forced by the government and used by medical practitioners to acquire huge amounts of money.
Researchers produce and test new drugs and other treatments very frequently. This research starts in the laboratory, where the research done there is funded for up to billions of dollars. Falling in the same group of the initially mentioned conspiracy, there is the assumption that researchers avoid supplying the cure to diseases and continue to do research in order to earn high amounts of funding for their research institution. Lab research helps find treatments which may or may not benefit breast cancer patients.
However, treatments that seem to work well in the laboratory do not always work as efficiently for people. The research might end in the laboratory if no positive assets are discovered. If results seem to be promising, researchers advance onto clinical trials. The Million Women Study was organized to investigate the effects of distinct types of hormone replacement therapy on incidental and fatal breast cancer (Toine Lagro-Janssen, Walter W Rosser, Chris van Weel, 2009). Women between the ages of 50-60 years old were added into the study in 1996 for about 5 years.
They were provided with information in regards to their use of hormone replacement therapy and a follow up was done on each individual for incidences of cancer and death. Results showed that from nearly half the women that had used the method of therapy; 9364 incidents returned as invasive breast cancers and 637 deaths were registered. Around the same time as the previous study was conducted, the effects of hormonal therapy and chemotherapy for early signs of breast cancer recurrence were tested between 1985-2000.
Collaborative analyses were taken of 194 randomised trials of adjuvant chemotherapy or hormonal therapy that began by 1995. Results showed that 6 months of anthracycline-based polychemotherapy eliminates the annual breast cancer death rate by about 38% for women younger than 50 years of age when diagnosed and by about 20% for those of age 50-69 years when diagnosed (S Chia, C Bryce, K Gelmon). Another disease that is believed to have a hidden cure is HIV/AIDS. Speaking on the side that there is currently no cure for HIVS and AIDS, there re certain treatments that can be used to suppress the disease. In some cases that are rare, the fatal virus can lay dormant in the body and remain that way with daily medication. Such is the case of former NBA star Earvin Magic Johnson. Johnson is an example of man who has contracted the virus in 1991 and since then has shocked the world with his apparent “recovery” from the disease. For years and till this day, people accuse the government for hiding the cure to AIDS because they assume it was used on Johnson.
According to Spencer Lieb, senior epidemiologist and HIV/AIDS research coordinator for the Florida Consortium for HIV/AIDS Research, “Magic got a jumpstart on experimental drugs before they were released to the general public; but there were many people in clinical trials benefitting at the same time,” (Hadhazy, 2011). In November of 2011, Johnson went public in an interview with Frontline to say that he is not cured, despite allegations that he looks too healthy and lived too long to not have received a cure. The key with Johnson and other carriers has been restraining their incurable disease from developing into full-scale AIDS.
There are 31 antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) that are FDA approved to medicate the HIV infection. These treatments suppress the potent virus, sometimes to undetectable levels, allowing people to live longer and healthier lives. There is always going to be skepticism on the truth behind the government’s power and their ability to influence medical association not just nationally, but globally as well. At this point in time, it is safer to assume that there is no cure to cancer or HIV/AIDS. It can be hard to believe it due to the amount of money understood to be circulating in cost of research and treatment.
However, society should consider the amount of money being put into research as a way of getting closer and closer to a possible cure, not as a way of researchers delaying finding a cure so they can build profit. Also, it’s important to recognize that those that are diagnosed early and use treatments that already exist, such as chemotherapy for cancers and pills for HIV/AIDS, are able to either beat the battle of cancer or suppress HIV into a dormant state before it advances into AIDS. The morality of all this must be considered: once there is a cure, it will not be hidden.