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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Commentary: Lung Cancer Causes 32% of All Cancer Deaths. Why Does It Get 10% of Research Funding?

Empathy with any disease is based on the psychological classification of ambushed vs self-inflicted. The degree of one's response is directly proportional to the degree of empathy. Those diseases which are perceived to be ambushes in an innocent life elicit the greatest empathy and, following, the greatest response. To the contrary, those disease which are perceived to be self-inflicted elicit less empathy and, thus, less of a response. Hence, research funding (one type of response) is greater for breast cancer than for lung cancer. It's easy to say do not condition funding by one's emotional state as this may not be a "fair" allocation of resources based upon the prevalence, morbidity or mortality of a given disease. It's difficult to do, however, because the mind so categorizes whether the person is consciously aware of it or not. Perhaps third party distributors of funds may allocate funds more equitably, but might that violate the good faith trust of the donor who intends the donation to a specific cause?
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD