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In September, I attended a “March on Cancer” in Washington, DC, together with a conference sponsored by the Alliance for Lung Cancer Advocacy, Support and Education (ALCASE).
Before leaving my home in Michigan for the nation’s capital, I was informed that, although the march was well-intentioned on the part of the grassroots organisers, it would focus entirely on generating funding for research into the treatment and cure of cancer. It had also become a promotional vehicle for a number of major pharmaceutical and medical products companies. There would be no focus at all on prevention, since there is no money in that, even though prevention is an essential component of the fight against cancer. This is especially true of cigarette smoking, since it is responsible for more cancer than any other cause.
Following the conference, I went with a group of ALCASE staff and volunteers to the Friday night “candlelight vigil” that served as the big kick-off to the next day’s march. One of the volunteers, my friend Susan Soloway Levine, lost her daughter at the age of 28 to cigarette-caused lung cancer earlier in the year. There were several thousand people attending the event by the Lincoln Memorial and the Reflecting Pool, and an enormous stage was set up, along with large screens, spotlights, and a large, elevated platform in front of the stage for dozens of reporters and cameras. A number of prominent people spoke—the Reverend Jesse Jackson, Olympic skater Scott Hamilton, former “junk bond king” and prostate cancer survivor Michael Milken, and professional tennis …
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