In the real world, 90% of the money spent on medical research is focused on conditions that are responsible for just 10% of the deaths and disability caused by diseases globally.
Just over 80 years ago, humans had no medicine to guard against common germs and bacteria, making what we now see as common bacterial diseases such as pneumonia, strep throat, chlamydia, or even a staph infection from a minor cut potentially fatal. The introduction of the first antibiotics revolutionized the way that we live our lives, giving us the freedom to travel safely, eat adventurously, and play fearlessly. Such freedom was made possible because antibiotics presented a cure to a host of bacterial diseases.
A cure is a substance or treatment plan that completely ends a medical condition, restoring an individual to health. While a “cure” in this traditional sense may not be possible for all conditions, setting the aspirational goal of ending these conditions and diseases fuels medical research into cures, causes, and intermittent treatments. The U.S. government funds much of this research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the single largest funder of medical research. According to the 2017 NIH funding estimates, the top funded disease area for research was cancer.
There is a 1 in 3 chance that any one of us will one day hear the words “you have cancer.”
Although strides are being made in cancer treatment and the overall cancer mortality rate has declined since the 1990s, cancer remains the second leading cause of death in the United States (with heart diseases being the number one cause of death). Additionally, while diagnoses of certain forms of cancer have been declining, diagnoses are increasing for many other types including thyroid, tongue, tonsil, liver, pancreas, and kidney cancers. Nearly 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives, according to the National Cancer Institute. This means that there is a 1 in 3 chance that any one of us will one day hear the words “you have cancer.” The responsibility falls on all of us to contribute to finding a cure to prevent those words from becoming a death sentence for our parents, our friends, our children, and ourselves.
However, cancer is just one class of chronic illness. According to the CDC, seven of the top ten causes of death in the United States are chronic diseases. And while other chronic illnesses such as arthritis, allergies and asthma, dementia, and depression may not be perceived as deadly in the traditional sense, they take significant tolls on well-being, cost the vast majority of healthcare spending, and could all benefit from better-funded research. More folks just need to take that initiative.
Research into treatments has revealed surprising and innovative potential solutions, but there are new threats to medical advancement arising each and every day. The emergence of more and more antibiotic resistant bacteria means our cures for some of the most common ailments may not be effective for much longer. Hysteria over frightening, emerging diseases such as Ebola and Zika divert already limited funds from long-term research on common killers. The lengthy testing process, negative incentives, and limited funding for government researchers and pharmaceutical companies slow down the introduction of new drugs. The NIH and corporations fund cure research, but government budgets for scientific research are increasingly tight, and corporations steer research primarily for profit.
This is where you can help. As a donor to charities that focus on medical research, you can help relieve these threats and make sure that scientists have the appropriate support to keep up with the biggest health challenges facing our communities. Think of the freedom we could have as a diabetes-free, dementia-free, or even cancer-free society. The sooner you act, the sooner we may find the cure.
Gift Hope Cure Funds gives you the flexibility to distribute your funds to multiple charities that serves your select cause. Thus you can support research on Cancer without necessarily donating to a select charity. Gift Hope will distribute these donations to charities based on their needs.