Domestic violence and child abuse are not new issues. And yet due to the NFL’s Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations, they have been thrust into our collective consciousness. Society tends to not want to talk about such things. They’re unpleasant, and under the guise that these issues are private matters between couples and family they have been dismissed. Or as a result of lack of proof, (think “he said, she said”) we have allowed ourselves to fall into an uncomfortable denial.

However, more and more, social media, videos and pictures that offer indisputable proof, have changed that by periodically shocking us into their realities.

The Ray Rice video leaves nothing vague or left to the imagination. Ray Rice knocked out his then fiancé Janay Palmer. Cultural values of raising a child aside, the pictures of Adrian Peterson’s child show abuse. We understandably judge those who commit the acts. We also judge their bosses/owners with the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings respectively, and the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, for being too lenient. Fair enough.

I would like to see even harsher judgment for the lawyers, judges, and politicians responsible for making and enforcing laws, and public policy, so that more than the spouses and children of football players are protected going forward. And I am hopeful we will. Why? Because Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson put faces to these otherwise dormant issues. Their “private” issues have forced the rest of us to deal with it and have a national conversation. Something many passionate people and groups have fought for, for many years.

The result has been an evaluation of how we educate, enforce and prosecute these crimes. Stricter enforcement and more education can result in perhaps hundreds or even thousands of fewer victims of domestic violence and child abuse.

If only cancer had its version of a Ray Rice video. One where we saw what a cancer victim goes through. Of course you couldn’t capture it all in one short clip or a few pictures.

  1. There can be the clip where everything goes right yet we still see the pain, suffering, body withering away and death.
  2. There can be the one with hospital or doctor negligence or honest mistakes.
  3. There can be the one with the unbearable side effects of drugs.
  4. There can be one where a patient can’t get access to drugs that could help but are not FDA approved.
  5. There can be the one where non-mainstream potential cures are being blocked by mainstream interests…
  6. And dare I say it there can be one possibly exposing immoral or unethical behavior by a pharmaceutical company or other power wielding entity…

If that is too conspiratorial for you, think about the information that the tobacco industry withheld from the public and how they spiked cigarettes with nicotine making them more addictive.

Think about the NFL and “league of denial”, what they knew about concussions and the damage they caused leading to what could be a billion dollar settlement with former players.

Pharmaceutical Products

(c)Denis Pepin/bigstockphoto.com

Is it possible that with the blind faith most of us afford the billion dollar cancer industry, and the entities that profit from it, that everything isn’t on the up and up?

Finally, all of these videos should end with the chilling statistic that the rate of cancer diagnosis is 1 in 3 for women and 1 in 2 for men…

These videos should shock and outrage the public. They should do so to the point where just like the NFL has been forced to reevaluate its lenient stance on domestic violence, and just like the commissioner is being held accountable for what did he know and when did he know it, we the people can hold the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and government et al, accountable for the state of treatment, prevention, and the search for a cure for the number one killer in the world… Cancer.

Given the death and rate of diagnosis of cancer I think we need and deserve more oversight. But that doesn’t seem to be forthcoming.  I don’t wish cancer on my worst enemy… But if and when a famous person(s) comes down with cancer maybe they can make video… Maybe Michael Moore can make a controversial documentary with ordinary people that will get attention.

If increased education, and oversight lead to better prevention, better care, faster cures, and reduced cancer death rates in America by 10%, that would save close to 60,000 lives a year. It shouldn’t take a video, but hey whatever it takes.


Update: On CBS’ 60 Minutes: The Cost of Cancer Drugs


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