Musa Mayer a breast cancer advocate has written an article in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that will be of interest to those who work as prostate cancer advocates. The first few paragraphs are reproduced below.

In the years since 1989, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the advocacy movement has matured, and many of us have matured within it. It is a little embarrassing now to be confronted with my own naïveté, rereading what I wrote about breast cancer research and drug development a decade or so ago. Not only did I oversimplify the research process, underestimating its daunting challenges, but I was largely unaware of the distorting influence financial incentives can have on research. In the name of hope, I was far too willing to abandon critical thinking and jump onto the latest bandwagon. Like so many, my judgment was easily hijacked by upbeat media sound bites and by what I wanted to believe was true about breast cancer research, rather than the realities, which represent a far more complex and nuanced story.

Years of working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a Patient Representative and in the Cancer Drug Patient Consultant Program1 following the uneasy interaction of regulatory and industry forces have offered some important lessons, as well as some sobering cautionary tales. As a member of the Institute of Medicine‘s Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation, I have seen how decisions are made at earlier stages of drug development, and how critical they are to later investments and drug costs. This perspective has served to make me more aware of the ever-enlarging disconnect that lies between what science is making possible, and the current realities in our society.</