The Monster We're Up Against

The Monster We're Up Against

03.20.12 | By Kate Connors

This morning, I lost someone dear to me to cancer.

He isn't the first person I've lost, nor will he be the last, I'm afraid.

In healthcare, there's a pretty common phrase: "a cure for cancer." But when you watch someone you love go through it, you understand that there's no such thing. There are thousands of cancers and each one attacks the body differently. Because of this, there can be no common cure.

And you realize what else cancer causes. For him, there was kidney failure, pneumonia, infections, congestive heart failure. It went on and on.

It seemed as though, one after another, there was something new to treat. And the thing is, each time, his surgeons, oncologists, nurses, occupational therapists and more all worked together to get him the treatment he needed. From surgeries to procedures to medicines to rehab, it took a village.

And that village gave him 14 more months with his baby granddaughter.

We so often refer to the healthcare system as a series of seemingly disparate groups, such as industry, academia, providers, patients and caregivers.

But the thing is, none of us is just one of these things. We at PhRMA - and at our member companies - are also patients, and we're also caregivers, and we're loved ones.

We know as well as everyone else the monster we're up against - we know it personally, not just in a laboratory. It's a brutal monster, it inflicts pain and sorrow, and it leaves loss in its wake.

But we'll get there. We'll beat it. It'll just take a village.

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateAtPhRMA.

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