Youssef Cohen gets checked by a nurse before underdoing cancer treatment on March 16, 2016 in New York City.

This year, more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. More than 600,000 Americans are expected to die of the disease. That’s the backdrop with which the White House launched the National Cancer Moonshot Initiative last year. Its goal is to achieve a decade’s worth of progress in the battle against cancer in only five years. Led by Vice President Joe Biden who visited San Francisco earlier this week to discuss the ambitious project, Moonshot calls on doctors, nurses, researchers and patients to identify what is really needed to gain ground on the big C. This hour, we’ll find out where the Moonshot stands one year in and discuss its future under a Trump administration.

Resources Recommended by Our Guests:

Guests:
Matthew Ong, reporter, The Cancer Letter
Deborah Mayer, professor, school of nursing and director of cancer survivorship, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center at UNC-Chapel Hill; member, Blue Ribbon Panel for Vice President Bidenโ€™s Cancer Moonshot
Jan Liphardt, associate professor of bioengineering, Stanford University; co-founder, Cancerbase.org
Alan Ashworth, president, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center; senior vice president for Cancer Services, UCSF Health Professor of Medicine

  • Kevin Skipper

    Ah, interesting. I was just thinking yesterday how ‘certain’ groups have been associated with cancer morbidity. Kaiser, UCSF and Summit ads fill the commercial breaks on the jazz, r&b and now even hip-hop radio stations. Some may argue but it seems to me that protracted cancer “treatment,” not a cure, is the only investment that the public is interested in offering these communities. At the same time, it seems that despite the increased awareness of how public policies and environmental practices can leave some more vulnerable, the most affected families and communities are still willing to place their faith in the same structure that so clearly benefits from inequities in care and access.

    This subject is of special importance to me as my maternal grandmother is currently dealing with a diagnosis of breast cancer. in addition to fear and frustration, she frequently mentions her exhaustion, not to much from her condition but from dealing with what has proven a middling system of hedging access to her inheritance and estate. While I an not particularly pleased to hear of her difficulty with this aspect of “care,” I have noticed that it has increased her interest in alternative and holistic forms of early treatment and therapy.

    My question for the guests is about natural alternatives to chemotherapy and surgery. I do some work as an herbalist and have offered my insight and would like to know more about your view of what new options might emerge in that respect.
    Anyone have thoughts on nervines such as Dipsacus fullonum (Teasel) or other ruderal species (plants attracted to recently disturbed soils commonly utilized for medicinal and wellness applications)?

    • William – SF

      My mother died from ovarian cancer almost a decade ago. I’m not sure what was worse, driving her to her treatments and watching her doctor put on a face of hope where there was none, or knowing there’s a place called Cancer Centers of . Best wishes.

      • Kevin Skipper

        My Nana just decided to forgo a double mastectomy and will likely do her best to avoid chemotherapy. I’m concerned that Cancer Centers of Upstate NY will attempt to convince her that she is cancelling out her options for a cure or reduction in suffering. She remains credulous and I’m doing my best to provide info and resources for support. I have to admit that hearing her exhausted and seeing to lose hope at times is extremely distressing and likely drives my aggression to indict those who insist upon misleading the public in regards to these diseases.

        When it come to me, my family and this racist system, it is, has been and will always be, War. F*ck the rumors.

        “Rumors of War”
        https://youtu.be/MEFbZp1qYn8

        • William – SF

          It’s far from easy. The system is set up to provide treatment, and hope. It was treatment that contributed to near 2 years of pain and suffering, motivated by hope. My mother would have it no other way. I watched her take her last breath at home, with us, as she wished. My last days, weeks, or months will not include futile medical expenditures. We’ll see about hope, I’m not sure. Wishing the best for you and your Nana.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Thanks a lot Man. I’ll be sure to pass it on.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Way to go, Suarez! Openly questioning a pedantic narrative. Sounds like Ms Mayer is speaking to a need to increase survivorship by maximizing preventative measures. This is great except for the fact that is says virtually NOTHING of the forces that have contributed to extreme racial and economic disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality.

    Recenly N.C., Charleston, in particular has been identified as the communty offering the LEAST class mobility. I would challenge anyone who denies the connections between this reality and the region’s history of racism and segregation.

    How do we address the increase in GMO’s and food additives in ‘food-desert communities?
    How do we address the economic, stress and environmental markers that identify the sources of cancer and poverty as being one and the same?

    • Kevin Skipper

      How do we identify the connection reluctance in eliminating the causes of carcinoma and the assurance of profits from long-term multi-pronged treatment regimens?

      • Kevin Skipper

        I would question the future of GMO’s in terms of their affect over plants’ and foods’ ability to prevent and fight illness.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Thanks for the mention. I’m satisfied that while we recognize access issues to healthcare, the ACA will only continue the story with which we have become so wearily familiar. Cancer is too profitable and too good at maintaining current social immobility. Much like church, it presents itself as the affective drain for any discretionary or generational family income. Health threats are an effective lock on what has always been a sturdy gate in the fence of this Plantation Nation.

  • Kevin Skipper

    Why am I the only one commenting!?!?

    • William – SF

      It’s cancer, dude. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Kevin Skipper

        It’s all the same to me.

        “Chant Down Babylon”
        https://youtu.be/CJDIdHJwjpU

        While other subjects are compelling, this one has the ability to push me to the point where if I don’t fight, I’ll lose it. I’ll break something. Throw something. Search out and destroy things. If I don’t write, I risk the misplaced faith and credulity that hass allowed a slave state to rule it’s captives by way of fear, illness, and isolation. How DARE N.C. send a nurse to tell Bay Area residents that she or any part of the current health management system has any interest in reducing barriers to cancer cures. They only want to decrease barriers to TREATMENT so that they can have access to the welfare, growth and survival or a still-coveted slave class.

        My Nana has sacrificed a lot. Caring for her children grandchildren and great-grandchildren while dedicating her spare time to a Christian SDA Church who she refuses to identify as part of the means of CREATING a population of dedicated, devout patients.
        It literally sickens me that the conversation around cancer represents the same foot-dragging that characterizes our nations response to virtually ALL other threats to minority well-being, from gun-violence to food deserts to public water to neighborhood proximity to busy freeways and ports. Derivative-based policies are a death sentence to the historically disenfranchised.

        • William – SF

          Your Nana sounds like an amazing woman. That we all could be thought of so highly.
          Yes, much to change.

  • Kevin Skipper

    …Prof. Liphardt, what is the outlook of gene editing techniques such as Crispr? I’ve read that they have shown limited effectiveness for certain conditions including MS and a few forms of cancer. What can we expect for the future of this technology?

  • Kevin Skipper

    …Listening to Jan Liphardt: If up-to-the-minute data can help doctors fight clinical cases, what do you think of the ability of up-to-date information about alternative, natural treatments to help patients do the same for themselves?

  • Kevin Skipper

    Is this segment being overseen by Merck and Eli Lilly? Not to sound paranoid…

  • Robert Thomas

    I’m an engineer who’s too young to have worked on the programs that put men on the moon, and I’ve only been lucky enough to have worked alongside NASA personnel, not as a NASA employee.

    I’m very uncomfortable with the clumsy “moonshot” metaphor.

    Humans were put on the moon by engineers, not by scientists. Engineering is the application of a combination of novel techniques and the re-employment of techniques developed and used earlier, to attack new problems. That’s what technology IS. It’s the determined development and use of universal technique to address specific problems. Problems of engineering yield to effort, and an understanding of existing knowledge gained by scientific inquiry.

    Such scientific inquiry, on the other hand, can’t just serve up useful results on demand, with a sufficient budget. President Kennedy demanded a difficult but nevertheless predictably achievable accomplishment. On the other hand, no one has been able to produce a sustainable, useful fusion reaction after decades of work and the expenditure of billions of dollars, because the precise behavior of matter is insufficiently well understood.

    Journalists and politicians have no detectable understanding of the nature either of science or engineering, so I guess that expecting them to appreciate the difference between these pursuits is too much to ask for.

    • William – SF

      I agree, has always been grating on the ear with conflicting images, and disheartening since they can’t simply say “cancer cure.”

      • Kevin Skipper

        If they did, they’d be prosecuted for false advertising.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Hey, Mr. Thomas. I’ve recently done some research on aerospace, exploration, and the role that is has played in the last 45 years of Western expansionist policy.
      Without hashing out the ugly details, I’d ask you how a metaphor like ‘Cancer Moonshot’ might reflect the lack of belief that such an effort would be successful.
      NASA never denied the ability to land on the moon. What they have failed to do is to reconcile the fact that public awareness of basic ideas like the melting point of T-6061 aircraft grade aluminum under re-entry stresses and its likely effect on human astronauts. The cancer community has never denied that ability to greatly reduce the incidence of cancer cases. They have failed to reconcile that the treatment structure, as it exists, is a worthy generator of profits and the means to maintain social conditions that benefit an elite minority.

      Could it be that our story of pursuing a cure for cancer is no more important than an incomplete pursuit of a (publicized) moon landing?
      I ask the question in the context that the existing evidence of our previous moon landing has proven questionable as the video content is inconsistent with known physical conditions on the surface of our sole natural satellite. Could cancer be yet another pantomimed exercise in futility and cash shuffling?

      • Robert Thomas

        The denial of the landing of humans on the moon is a personal insult to myself and to honorable persons I have known and with whom I’ve had occasion to collaborate over the last thirty-eight years, or so; it is an insult also to the broader engineering community and to the men and women of the armed forces and astronautical corps who have repeatedly offered up their lives and on a couple of occasions delivered them up, to the cause of exploration of our nearby celestial partner, to the vacuum of space and to the proof of systems and processes that have protected human beings in extremely harsh environments.

        I should say I am unequivocal about this. The assertion is scurrilous, ridiculous, cowardly, and utterly without merit.

        • Kevin Skipper

          I don’t take your reaction personally. It’s sickening idea to suggest that the work of a professional community be misrepresented or subject to disrespect or undue scrutiny. Taht said, I frequently make comments and interpretations that many openly see as unqualified, hyperpolarized and even insane. More than once, I have been compelled to retract a statement made in haste, anger or resentment. I’m prepared for that to be the case with my view of the depiction of 1969’s events.

          I have no quarrels with the engineering and genius that went into the design and planning of lunar missions. It’s somewhat similar to my feelings about the truly professional journalists who find themselves embroiled in a mixture of informational, political, ideological and economic interests, all of which harbor different needs of the resource that is creative and productive power.

          In favor of further offense, and seeing that this subject is tangential, I will move the lunar conversation to a separate message board.

          • Robert Thomas

            An honorable and accommodating exercise in tact.

          • Kevin Skipper

            I’m finding that there is a certain value in restricting my conversations to topics for which there are existing resources and space available to make progressive and measurable change. I can’t change the way that certain contractors manage their intellectual resources, or the lack thereof. What I can change is the way that I use my time, particularly that which I dedicate to processing information and ultimately, my education.

            I have an opportunity to further educate myself and others. With the proper focus and management, I have the time at my disposal to create opportunities and channels to serve the existing need to enrich, brighten and diversify the ways in which people around me approach opportunity. There is opportunity in intellectual and technical work. I can use that opportunity to drive the change and ultimately, the healing that I want to see. The only limitation is wasted energy sunken into wasteful conversations.

            A Moonshot, Moon Landing, or any other undertaking that seeks to change the nature of collective understanding represents the nature of collaboration towards any objective-ized goal. If education and greater participation are my goal, than I must dedicate my existing resources to their realization. That process is the only real catalyst to developing to necessary relationships that can, themselves make my individual hopes a collective reality.

          • Kevin Skipper

            I wonder about the future of a historical, philosophical, technical and social educational curriculum focused on providing the kind of early discipline, exposure and developmental strategies needed to direct needed talent to existing opportunities. I imagine that it would help dissolve many of the presumptions that serve to misdirect so many of our most valiant efforts to create harmonious futures for everyone.

  • Kevin Skipper

    While I research my own question, I’ll ask another simple one. I understand that pancreatic and colorectal cancers are considered statistically more deadly. I also know that much of this has to do with challenges of early screening and diagnosis of these fast-growing forms. How many forms of cancer are actually completely untreatable? Seems the vast majority of restrictions to treat has nothing to do with treatment options but rather payment methods.

  • Kevin Skipper

    I cannot yet find anything on the site but I do remember certain shows being sponsored by Cancer Treatment Centers of America…

    • William – SF

      Yup, heard them too. Always brings shudders.

  • Another Mike

    I was saddened to learn that Gwen Ifill died from the same endometrial cancer that killed my mother over forty years ago. Are some cancers just as hard to treat now as they were back then?

    • Kevin Skipper

      If they are, is it because of some organic quality or is it because of the fact that women and their endometrium, as well as men and our prostates (and hearts) are regarded as ‘private’ matters (no pun intended) that, despite their vital and sensitive nature, can be easily ignored before it is too late for most treatment options?

      • Kevin Skipper

        Any coincidence that the frequency of reproductive cancers is more strongly correlated to increased stress and trauma than to any ethnicity or race? If women are a resource to create true wealth and well-being, what’s to be said of the collective interest in protecting them and their health? Seems very similar to the selective enthusiasm with which we address issues of environment and other gifts of great intrinsic value.

  • Robert Thomas

    I fear that the “moonshot” metaphor is employed by the researchers – who need increased resources – in order to plant the thought that mere effort will achieve results, as it did in 1969, rather than admitting that significant advance is at all guaranteed.

    • Kevin Skipper

      Wishful Funding?

    • Kevin Skipper

      If your’e interested, I’d love to share the ‘results’ of 1969’s alleged lunar landing. For now, pull up a video of Aldrin or Armstrong of whoever ‘moon’walking.” While the guy in the suit bounces gently in a manner consistent with the moon’s low gravity, the lunar rover and the dust kicked up by its wheels and the “astronaut’s” feet behave an a conspicuously terrestrial manner. At 36, I have no claim to having witnessed this story in it’s time. One of my earliest memories is a sunny morning in Eugene. My mother had made fried eggs and was watching the news as my brother and I ate breakfast. As I finished, the news aired their coverage of the Challenger Tragedy.
      My research into this story provided similar conclusions.

      • William – SF

        I’d rather RT respond, but very briefly, F=ma, force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. Acceleration then is F/m.
        The astronaut is viewed under the force of the moon’s gravity, and his own abilities to move.
        The dust kicked up by the wheels is viewed by the force of the rotational wheels, and to a much lesser degree, the moon’s gravity.
        Naturally, all forces are not equal, as experienced by a punch or pat. The dust would naturally move faster since the force that created its motion is greater than the gravity of the moon. (One can compute all these forces.)
        Also note, that under no force, a body in motion stays in motion.

        Were you expecting the dust to exhibit similar floating behavior as what the astronaut exhibited?
        And as an editorial, …nope, I’ll skip the editorial. There are great videos on learning physics. Really cool stuff.

        • Kevin Skipper

          I agree. They’re great for learning. If the rate at which a solid object falls is constant, regardless of its forward velocity, then the force generated by the lunar rover’s wheels should ostensibly throw some dust and rocks straight into the air and other’s to some degree, backward. The distance that they are thrown should be greater than we would see here on Earth because the rate at which they fall is lesser, due to reduced gravity. This effect would likely be increased by the virtual absence of fluid resistance in an airless environment.

          I would invite you to observe the behavior and handling of the rover itself which is essentially an battery-powered dune-buggy. How would your SUV handle in a low-gravity environment with the nearly unlimited rotational torque available from a DC powered drivetrain?

          My point is not space conspiracy per se. It’s about agreement with your discomfort with the idea of a Cancer Moonshot.

          The issue is the codified language with which our government and media refer to achievement? If we were to shoot to a cancer cure the way we shot for the moon, we would serve only a need for narrative borne upon the teetering shoulder of public misunderstanding of science and medicine. If nothing, we must become smarter than the effort to feed us empty certifications in lieu of actual progress.

          • William – SF

            I’m all for government funded research, I care less about the name than the effort involved. I wholly support the idea of addressing the affects of cancer, and am intimately familiar with the actual affects of cancer. Those two are pretty far apart. Maybe someday they’ll be closer.

        • Kevin Skipper

          I would expect the dust cloud to be magnified as the forces that would dissipate, disperse, or settle the cloud would be drastically less.

          • William – SF

            What forces are acting on the dust?

            It would depend on the particles of dust, or rock, or whatever the wheels were applying their forces on – their size, shape. The clouding behavior, as exhibited on earth, is largely influenced by the surrounding air – particles themselves, providing a force, perhaps more like a medium, to keep the particles closer to one another, cloud like. On the moon, as you might imagine, no air particles but likely some particles – it’s hard to have a vacuum when there’s stuff getting disturbed. However, on the moon, the dust thrown up by the wheels doesn’t have as much to bump into to cause it to cloud – to provide a force that reduces the force applied by the wheels to project the ground dust.

          • Kevin Skipper

            You know, I didn’t realize that I was neglecting to account for atmospheric pressure as it relates to the behavior of clouds. I’m going to think further about that before responding further.
            In the meantime, as this subject takes us in a divergent direction, I propose a change of venue. I’ll start a separate discussion on this platform and we can continue from there.

          • Kevin Skipper

            The conversation is already hot!

          • Kevin Skipper

            I’m back. Took me about 30 minutes. Pseudoscience community couldn’t handle me. Showed their cowardice by resorting to brute fascism. Further proof…

            Anyway. Im pretty sure Newton’s Laws of motion provide sufficient grounds for critical review. Add to that obvious discrepancies in film speed and the lack of explanation for dynamic issues such as how a LRV could make a right turn without the necessary weight to provide the necessary friction at the point of tire contact….

            I could do this forever. Seeing everything and trying to explain it. Problem is, there are supposed geniuses with half the discernment and none of the curiosity who have actually taken their conversations somewhere. Despite my faith in my own intelligence, it’s always a drag to field people’s offended or polarized hatred of all things unsubstantiated by structural authority. If I must do this, I’ll do it once. Perfect time to write a book about herd mentality and mind control.

          • Robert Thomas

            No atmosphere, no cloud.

          • Kevin Skipper

            Good to see you came, RT! (Phrasing, Boom!)

            That could be true.

            If you look at the video I included, there is, indeed a beautifully captured cloud of particles spot out from underneath each tire. I imagine it’s so uncommonly clear because of the increased frame speed employed in filming a scene intended for slow motion playback.

            I thought about that but then I realized that there exist in our solar system visible environments of similar atmospheric pressure with higher gravity environments yet their entire atmosphere ( and much of their lithosphere) appear to be mostly clouds. That may not support my theory about the veracity of the moon landing story but I do find it interesting.

        • Kevin Skipper
        • Kevin Skipper

          You missed a short debate ended by an act of sheer totalitarian fascism. It wasn’t a total loss. Mythbusters’ video taught me that when burdened with the desire to tell unnecessary truth, we must feign ignorance or accept censorship with dignity.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Since we’re on the subject, observe NASA’s Archive Film of the Challenger shuttle disaster. Watch carefully as the astronauts ‘enter’ the shuttle by way of the jetty.

          I can do this all day. How to make it serve a greater purpose?

          • William – SF

            APOLLOgize for the absence – life getting in the way… ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Robert Thomas

        In the recorded lunar moving pictures, dust particles on the Moon kicked upward from the surface don’t form clouds, as there is no atmosphere in which the particles may excite any vortex, or then in turn, be born in any vortex. They travel quite high, due to the force that motivates them against the low gravitational field and then follow individual parabolic arcs, independent of one another. On carefully designed atmospheric sound stages for films such as Capricorn One, From the Earth to the Moon and Apollo 13, conversely, clouds of dust form briefly before they fall, as they would even if action in atmosphere was photographed in camera over-crank.

        Look, all of this nonsense was in the news and well investigated upon the appearance of Capricorn One in 1977, at which time there was no shortage of easily ruffled engineers and other NASA personnel who were not only willing to explain why the gimmicks depicted being utilized in the fake Mars landing in the film were absurdly inconsistent with photographic evidence available of the Moon’s human exploration during the six successful Apollo missions, but who were not averse to settling such absurd, insulting jibes with their fists. The Hare Krishna sect was among the world-wide sources of crackpottery that inveighed against the truth of the events, concluding that it was impossible to travel to the moon within a hundred hours, since, ipso facto, according to Hindu tradition the Moon is a million miles farther from the Earth than the Sun – duh.

        • Kevin Skipper

          Well, I’m back. Seems that not only are the Disqus Administrators intolerant of unpopular science questions, they appear to be the exact same techie scum that we Bay Area natives have come to equate with everything that is disgusting about living in a nerdocracy still devoid of diversity of views opinions or anti/corporate agenda.

          Sad. I actually fee really dirty for even sharing the same internet with those fascist goons.

          I like I said. The video shows a cloud and it’s obviously in slow motion. Mythbusters did a show. It’s pretty obvious that they had to try really hard NOT to figure out how the original NASA film was made.

          As for the Hare Krishna sect, I’ve learned my lesson. I reserve Western interpretations of Vedic accounts of ancient Tantric astronomy and philosophy for transcendental meditation sessions.

          Honestly, it all seems pretty obvious to me. Engineers and pilots have the ability to each the moon. Maybe they ( you) did. That’s not my concern. The point is, the film’s don’t depict it and there’s nothing but 50 year old film the forceful dismissal of doubt to deny that.

          I hate to offend or alienate anyone, particularly someone from whom I can learn bit on this topic, I have yet to be offered reason to budge. My commitment to maintaining my healthy skepticism when I see masked hypocritical censors abruptly cancel my posts with no recourse. Speaks to exactly what I write every morning on Forum.
          Everyone else is free to play games and be fooled, I’m not the one.

          If that means I must face a world of covered ears and averted eyes, so be it. It doesn’t change thing for me.

          • William – SF

            And where does hope fit in?
            One can only hope to learn, to understand, and to make sense of.

          • Kevin Skipper

            That’s priceless.
            I can hope but must remain unattached to ego-serving outcomes.
            I wonder if this is how liberals feel when they imagine leaving the Bay Area …

  • Daryl Wells

    What is your opinion on the use of Tamoxifen for pre-cancerous conditions like atypical hyperplasia?

  • Robert Thomas

    Oh, for crying out loud! – Cell phone radiation! Jezus H. Criminy, what will it take to put that stupid, stupid crud in its grave? Alongside extraterrestrial lower gastric probes?

    • William – SF

      Voodoo baby. Voodoo sells.

      • Kevin Skipper

        May I interest anyone in a selection of hand-made foil hats?

  • sage

    It’s such a pleasure to hear Ray moderate a discussion again. What a great voice and how well he provides an inclusive discussion!

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