Oncology or cancer speciality in medicine has made great strides though the common perception of the C word has not only not changed but the cancer phobia has only increased with time.
In 1960 the five year survival rate ( in oncology and hematology the percentage of patients who survive for five years is taken as a measure ) was around 10 % which today is more than 60 % which means 60 out of 100 patients would live after five years .
Many of them could get cured too depending on the stage ,type ,associated problems and condition of patient ( performance status in medical lingo )and also the centre and skill where the treatment is given as oncology today has become a very specialised field .
A lot of money goes into research into new molecules to combat types of cancer and behind it are hard work ,and hard funding to achieve results ,approval of drugs by bodies like the Federal drug authority USA which could be called as the gold standard of approval today requires years of meticulous research and fool proof trials in several phases and approval by peer bodies before reaching the market hence drug companies who spend the money have a pay back period where they own the patency and the drugs are exorbitantly costly .
Cancer research is also funded by the society at large and private organisations .
Foundations one example is the Max foundation which has been doing yeoman service by distributing life saving drug imatinib maselate for millions of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia patients.specially in third world nations .
( one keeps finding FB statuses of imatinib being given free of cost in such places this is mostly Max foundation .)
Breast cancer too has a lot of backing and is well known to the public who participate in breast cancer runs badge drives and dinners and balls.
Celebrities like Angelina jolie have put in their charisma behind such drives .
The prostate gland unfortunately had been a back bencher ,a cancer usually affecting older males the tumour had a low profile and treatment too was static over the years if it was localised depending on the patient one could have a radical prostatectomy or radical radiotherapy which could be called as curative but the side effects too were not very gentle and if spread out ( metastatic ) hormone therapy where the effect of androgens were reduced by several means ( androgens are male hormones which can stimulate prostate cancer cells to grow and multiply ) was usually the start with bone protecting agents like zoledronic acid ,with time when the patient turned resistant to hormones and the cancer grew chemotherapeutic agents like taxotere and prednisolone or mitoxantrone were used it stopped with that .
Even screening for prostate cancer with Prostate specific antigens a tumour marker seen in blood was controversial as it produced a lot of false negatives and wasteful treatment where it was not needed but all of a sudden treatment for prostate cancer has had an upturn with discovery of more than twelve new exiting molecules like taxol derivative cabazitaxel ,Hormonal agent Arberiterone ,Immune agent siplucel T and Injected Radium 221 an alpha particle which is injected into the vein .
The rush of such molecules sure had reasons for it it was mainly good funding behind the research how did this happen ?
it all started when one Michael milken developed prostate cancer and was cured by radical surgery he knew when breast cancer was getting more than 500 million dollars as funding poor prostate cancer was getting only 50 million dollars
he felt he should give back and he started a foundation which worked relentlessly in trying to raise funds of prostate cancer research the national prostate cancer coalition came about just like the breast cancer coalition .
Clay Hamlin was a wealthy real estate developer
he was a go getter and his principle in life was lets do it no not today but yesterday
He too was a prostate cancer survivor and joined the board of national prostate cancer coalition as he was from philadephia he developed an annual funding event called philly for prostate which initially was a golf event to attract all corporate chiefs to empty their pockets for the cause but later metamorphed into a huge funding event with dinners conferences runs and races with many celebrities thrown in and brought in much needed funds .
It seems once during a fund raising dinner a bit too much of good wine made Clay swoon and fall to the floor flat .
Amongst the many doctors attending the dinner one was an emergency room specialist who quickly started artificial respiration to poor Clay who on waking up according to his own words found the ugliest guy in the world on top of him !
The month of November was movember for moustache or grow mustache in November for prostate cancer awareness .
there is an FB page on this and they encourage men to grow mustaches in this month
"If you're going to make such a bold statement, you have to believe you look awesome. If you appear unsure of your moustache, you'll just look like a chump. It's like hitting on a chick or wearing plaid pants. Men who sport moustaches are bold. It takes balls to go against the grain and grow a mustache. It says, "I don't give a rat's ass what you think, society. I like my facial hair." "
Even girls could grow one but are not advised to do so they could just support with mustaches drawn !
To make the story end the spate of drugs for prostate cancer grew giving life and hope for its victims due to these two individuals and their funding's and several moustaches too !!