March 26, 2023

Fighting Cancer

James Rhio O’Connor was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma, a resultant disease from asbestos exposure. Rhio, who referred to himself as “Mr. Meso” was given only months to live as this form of cancer is one of the deadliest of its’ kind. Rhio took his prognosis as somewhat of a challenge, and stretched his life expectancy from months, to seven and a half years. Rhio was able to to defy all odds of mesothelioma, giving hope to so many out there who struggle with the same ailment (Surviving Mesothelioma, 2015).

Cancer is something that has touched so many peoples lives. It is the unfortunate truth that the majority of people have had cancer touch their lives in some form or another, either through first hand experience or by exposure through some type of mediasource. While cancer is something that may be common in today’s world, it isn’t something that should be taken softly, or easily. In order for us to stop losing our loved ones cancer treatments need to continue to evolve, however, budgets are a large concern as it relates to new delays in treatments for cancer. The fact that it costs roughly $400 million just to bring a new drug to the table for cancer treatment is almost as intolerable as cancer itself (Surviving Mesothelioma, 2015). Drugs and treatments need to be explored and tested as much as possible in order to turn the corner in the fight against cancer. Fighting cancer has come a long way, the medical community is now able to prolong millions of lives but we have not yet been able to cure most types of cancer. Yet we still take an extremely conservative approach with our treatments and are quick to dismiss some of the alternative treatments that may be out there. The process of developing a new drug sometimes takes decades and as previously stated costs hundreds of millions of dollars. These drug costs are then relayed to the patients and are out of reach financially to the average American. The time and money parameters alone make it very difficult for new medications and treatments to be considered. Nobody is being harmed but ourselves in this predicament meanwhile the drug companies and doctors get rich. These medications need to be brought forward for everyone, for their families as well as themselves. We as a people are literally killing ourselves, and leaving ourselves in an impossible life equation.

Like many others I too have lost loved ones to cancer. Most people have been touched by cancer or have been effected one way or another. The awareness of cancer has gotten better throughout the years, and it helps in order to spread the word and help people understand. Two of my grandparents were diagnosed with cancer, and both taken before their time. As a child, taking my grandparents from me was one of the most painful things of my upbringing, and it is something that brings me to tears to this day. I am not alone as everybody has a story it seems about a family member or loved one who also was taken too early, and from such an awful condition. To think that there are medications, or treatments out there that may have treated or prevented the cancer or even made our loved ones more comfortable throughout their journey is sickening. As a child it was difficult to understand what my grandparents were going through, all you know as a child is that every time a sickness was developed, you got better. Whenever you hurt yourself, you healed. I remember when my mother came into my bedroom and
told me that my grandfather had passed I was in complete shock. He wasn’t supposed to die, he wasn’t supposed to be gone in his 60’s. Now he was gone, and I was left with a feeling that perhaps people weren’t immortal, perhaps people were in fact fragile. Maybe every member of our family was in fact vulnerable. This was an extremely hard concept for me, and I can imagine it would be for any child. As a society we need to ensure that we take care of ourselves, and more importantly each other. With FDA laws, medical laws, financial and time restrictions we keep progress at a minimum. We all need to work together in order to survive, and survive with all members of our family. Death may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to occur at the young ages it is happening to today. It most certainly doesn’t have to happen to our young children who are forced to grow up without their grandparents, parents, siblings, or friends.

Surviving Mesothelioma. (2015). James Rhio O’Connor and his mesothelioma story.
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