Generally speaking, I am opposed to capital punishment (or should it be Capital punishment or even Capital Punishment?), but when it comes to cancer, I’m quite happy to make an exception. Look, I hated Margaret Thatcher, still hate Rupert Murdoch and Boris Johnson, but there is no one and nothing I loathe more than cancer.
Even Thatcher, Murdoch and Johnson could have had or have some saving grace, one thing they have done or something they believe in that right-minded folk could call good. But cancer has nothing good about it. Literally nothing. And I’m getting mad about it.
The inspiring life and tragic death of the wonderful Dame Deborah James brought it all home, again. She fought an heroic six year battle against bowel cancer but at the same time raised millions of pounds to fight the disease and, arguably more importantly, gave massive awareness to the rest of us. To quote the BBC website, ‘Her family said Dame Deborah shared her experience of cancer to “raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.”‘ From the outside looking in, that’s she came across to me. Her BBC podcast ‘You, Me and the Big C’ represented some of the most powerful broadcasting I ever heard.
Accuse me, if you will, of talking simplistic nonsense – you won’t be the first person who has said that – but I honestly think it’s time we arm scientists and medics with the resources they need to reduce and then stop cancer. No more simple reliance on charity fundraising but a government investment, preferably involving governments from all over the world to work together.
I want to kick cancer into touch, I want to make it very ill, I want it to die and I want to dance on its grave. Like you, I have lost far too many family members and friends to this evil disease and in a world where we can develop complex computers as portable phones and we can send rockets to Mars, then I want to see cancer, as well as diseases like MND, Huntingdons, Dementia, to be stopped in their tracks and then cured.
Money should be no object. If we all pay a little more tax and cures become available, we all benefit. We save the people we live, we have the chance to live longer ourselves. And that nasty bastard cancer gets the kicking it so richly deserves. We may not be able to bring back those who we have lost, but we can take satisfaction in knowing that others will not go through what their mothers, fathers, sons and daughters went through.
And if we attack cancer in ways we have never before attempted, then we will honour the memory of Dame Deborah and that her struggle will not be in vain.
We can send a message that says, cancer – we are coming for you. We’ve already made life harder for you by advances in science and we are putting you on notice that we’ve only just begun in our efforts to kill you off once and for all.