It truly bothers me that the majority of the arguments and analysis that have appeared both in print and on-line surrounding the Provenge issue have come not from the prostate cancer community, but instead from the financial community!
Sure, I understand that there are millions of dollars at stake, but I also understand that there are hundreds of thousands of lives at stake. One of those lives might be that of your father, your uncle, your spouse or your best friend! I know that one of those lives is mine!
So where is the prostate cancer community? There were seventeen advocates at the FDA advisory committee when it recently reviewed Provenge . Some of these advocates represented a few of the prostate cancer organizations and some just represented their families and themselves.
But, where are the masses, where are you? Unfortunately, the answer is not involved. I don’t understand the failure to get involved. Those of us who have advanced prostate cancer are facing a disease that is terminal. If we don’t get hit by a bus, we will die from this disease. We will suffer, our families will suffer, and then we will die!
Where are the men who have had what they believe was successful primary treatment? Despite this optimism, one third of them will move on to find that they, too, have developed advanced disease! Then, they will also face the terrible prospect of suffering with and dying of prostate cancer!
What will it take to get involved, to take an initiative and stand up for your own life? It doesn’t matter what you think about Provenge, specifically, what does matter is that you stand up and be counted. Not only on the Provenge issue, but on the issues surrounding your cancer –it’s your life.
As the great sage Hillel has said, “If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?”
Joel T. Nowak, MA, MSW
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