Cancer/COPD Update – Greed Edition
INTERESTING STUFF – 12 October 2019

Crabby Old Lady Faces Cancer Season

They're at it again, the media is, especially television. Apparently, fall is cancer season. Everywhere Crabby Old Lady clicks her remote, there are commercials for cancer.

With five hospital and five outpatient locations around the U.S., Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) is only the most ubiquitous. There are plenty of other cancer treatment centers that advertise mainly in the cities or states where their single facility is located. St Judes, the well-known children's cancer research hospital located in Memphis, advertises nationally.

But it doesn't stop there. Individual cancers have their own commercials for societies, foundations, associations, etc. that provide certain medical services and support for those who are diagnosed.

Recently, Crabby has seen such commercials for the Breast Cancer Foundation, the American Cancer Society and the Skin Cancer Foundation.

And then there are the commercials for less well-known, local treatment centers. These often star survivors - especially those who have survived more than one cancer - telling their stories.

At least one treatment center is not so eager to shout cancer, cancer, cancer from our screens. M.D. Anderson seems to have changed its name recently to M.D. Anderson Center:

At M.D. Anderson, the YouTube page tells us, you're considered a survivor the moment you receive a cancer diagnosis. (Wow. From disease to remission in one little twist of language.)

Crabby Old Lady does not for a minute buy that bit of doublespeak meant to put a happy face on cancer.

As she may have mentioned in the past, Crabby has become a master manipulator of the mute button on her TV remote. She wields it in a matter of a second or two when she hears President Trump's voice on television because she finds it and his lies so repellent.

This time of year, she adds the word “cancer” to her mute button skills. It's enough to be living with cancer every day - Crabby doesn't need to be reminded by all those bright, shiny, smiling people behaving as though cancer is the best thing that ever happened to them.

It is not. Not ever. Cancer is the hardest thing Crabby Old Lady has ever been through and she has it easier than a lot of cancer patients.

All those smiles in the commercials are meant to suggest that this or that treatment center knows how to cure cancer better than another center. Listen to Crabby: if there were a cure for any kind of cancer, we would not be hearing about it first in a television commercial.

Or maybe Crabby missed that announcement when she muted her remote.


Hi Roni:
I don’t agree with your politics...but seemingly everything else! Particularly your cynicism about the cancer treatment commercials on tv. This cynic wonders if greed rather than caring is the primary force behind them. - A faithful blog reader in Florida, John Horne

I'm with you every step of the of the way on your 'cancer season' thoughts. Your indignation refreshes my soul.

I am more annoyed and worried (for the susceptible) over the latest scam which is gathering strength, this Fall in the same manner.

Essential Oils are now being touted to cure everything in the most blatantly foolish ways. They began as magical pain killers and have moved on to cures.

I do wish that I Knew how to handle this with a friend and also a neighbor both of whom are spending big amounts on these useless placebos and one of whom is near to joining one of the pyramid vending schemes which are the latest development.

Like you I have a probable end to life date and my anger at these cheating schemes is growing once more as I write this.

But reading your wonderful sense and clever entries is once more steadying me. Take good care of yourself, Ronnie, so many of us must be feeling you by our sides.

I hit the mute button with every single drug ad too. The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world where direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising of prescription drugs is legal. Hearing "Notify your physician if you experience a sudden loss of consciousness" makes me crazy.

Couldn’t agree more. Being a lung cancer ‘survivor’ living in FL, or God’s Waiting Room as it’s been referred to, they run them non stop. One of my many favorites is a perky, beaming lady carrying her purse size oxygen condenser while leisurely shopping for flowers. She needs to pick up her pace because depending on how many liters she’s using, she may only have an hour’s worth of oxygen. And believe me, those “light weight” things get heavy very quickly. If they were to show her 15 minutes later, I bet that smiles not quite so big!

While Cancer is an illness, it's also a business. In donations alone.. "National Institutes of Health, reports that Washington funded $4.8 billion in cancer research in the 2013 fiscal year, and funding has averaged $4.9 billion over the past six years." And that's separate from the money made by Cancer clinics, hospitals, oncologists and big pharma. With all of that money being spent on one disease, what's the incentive to find a cure. It's akin to an auto body shop hoping you never get into an accident.

As others have noted, to us, this is a very real threat to our very lives. To Corporate America, this is the last quarter of the calendar year and what better time to bolster the quarterly earnings statement than the run-up to Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, etc.? There's not a lot of room for decorum in Corporate America.

Well, I love your politics. Maybe because I share them. Minneapolis was just victimized yesterday by the awful presence of the Trump, who now resorts to the dirtiest talk he can spew. Even our wishy-washy local paper was embarrassed. Whew. I am glad he has left the state [although he no doubt will return - having promised to turn MN red--presumably with his magic wand].

Sorry about that. But I also share your effort to mute him whenever he appears on the tv screen. I not only mute, I look away.

And what a fine idea to mute other things that are distressing. I must do more of that.


Yup, here Scripps now has MD Anderson.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, hence all the ads. As a breast cancer survivor, I don't really mind the ads. At least not those legitimately trying to raise awareness and funds for research. But I don't put a lot of faith in medical institutions that advertise, particularly Cancer Treatment Centers of America that runs an ad with a woman who doesn't even pronounce "mastectomy" correctly. And I really resent those companies who try to exploit the situation by "pinking" their products or services.

I love you Crabby! I was with a couple of friends last night--one of whom lost her son to colon cancer--in his late 40's a couple of years ago. I lost my daughter to pancreatic cancer in March. She was barely 57. And the other's husband has metastatic prostate cancer. He's asymptomatic now, but is looking at deterioration and death in the next few years. Meanwhile, another member of our group is "chemo-sick." And yours truly here had a laryngectomy a year ago--thyroid cancer--is doing well but, of course, must have regular scans & blood tests for the rest of her life. What a gang we are! Bleah!! Grouse on, my dear! We need you!


Cancer is bad news whenever; there is no happy face. Yes, the begging season is here. It may be worse because of the tax law effects. Still, I too have become very tired of being hit up for money by televised panhandlers. I want to learn or be entertained, not entreatied. We are very generous and always have been, but not to the public panhandler types. You can tell
how bad it is when you drive up to a federal base; everybody is there wanting a piece of the
action. B

I believe most folks no longer see television ads with streaming services.

I agree and it is one of my fondest desires that advertising for drugs and treatments be stopped. I write letters but...

I also shut off tRump so I neither hear nor see him. I am repelled by him. It is in large part why I no longer watch the news on TV.

I have sisters imbibing in essential oils. $$ and one at least is foregoing ordinary medicines in favor of them. They smell nice but holy cow.

What I hate the most is when I hear someone say 'she smoked' or 'too much sun' it's like the person asked to get sick . I know people that never even tried to smoke - lung cancer. Others that smoked like a chimney all their life- had a heart attack at 89. Some never went into the sun , skin cancer. I have a cancer no one ever heard of. Well , a doctor but then some look it up. No blame here since no one knows. Our genes are what shows up in our bodies. Stop blaming the victims.

The drug ads are what drive me crazy, and they rush through the side effects that are so horrendous that you wonder how anyone would take it. The worst are the psych drugs, causing all these people to think maybe they are bipolar and should be taking it.
In This country we are so overmedicated. I used to work on a geriatric psychiatric/medical unit as a nurse and the number of drugs patients would come in on was insane. Our very wise medical director would stop everything except absolutely essential medication and then reevaluate each one. Often patients would be a lot better when the drugs were discontinued.

As usual, you hit the nail on the head, Ronni.

This country is so wracked by anxiety - afraid to die, afraid to get old, afraid of foreigners, afraid afraid afraid. And so we babble on about all this stuff we can't change instead of the stuff we can. The health industry runs on fear (and cynical corruption). All these magic cures on the internet are the equivalent of the snake oil that people used to buy.

Well, we're seeing how that works out!

I detest most all the ads on TV. Especially the ones for high priced drugs that say “ask your doctor for drug xyz”. Just for info I sometimes check GoodRx for drug prices and I am always shocked.
My mute button is always handy

Good luck getting into CTCA if you're on Medicare or Medicaid.

I share your politics and abhorrence of the loud sound of money behind cancer, getting old, dying; everything, every single thing in this country is up for commodification, our joys, sorrows, cradle to grave. And, of course, the planet and all of nature. It's a sickness far worse than cancer, it blinds and deafens those afflicted, and corrodes their hearts. Well yay for the mute, that was a good invention!

I mute all commercials. For one thing, they are loud, but I also just don't want to hear/watch them. If I need information about a condition or treatment or product, I poke around the Internet.

Drug ads are the main reason I avoid the major TV networks. Lucky for me, the NFL games run mostly beer commercials; those I can take.

I mute lawyers ads and if I thought it would help I would throw a shoe at one particular one here.

After reading this I will look at cancer ads differently. I have always disliked the little kids willing to send us a cheap blanket for our donation.

Spot on, Ronni! Loved all the comments, too.


Drug and device manufacturers are at odds with the researchers and doctors. Most people who go into medicine want to help people get well. Corporate predators want to help the quarterly report and the share price.

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