Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Personal Look Behind the County's Cancer Rate

I received the following email today from Brenda Malone a friend of long standing and publish it here with her permission.

I was just incensed after looking at the Cancer data rates as graphed by the Plain Dealer today. I am equally amazed at all of the ignorant, uninformed comments that are being made by the readers who are marveling that the more affluent suburbs of Chagrin Falls and Moreland Hills have such “high” cancer rates in comparison to the rest of Cuyahoga County.

What they don’t understand is that the data is actually confirming Environmental/Class/Race bias bestowed on the “rest of” the County.

What they don't understand is that the rates of Cancer in the inner city is actually equally high, if not, logically, much much higher than the rates of suburban people, but the since the inner city, poorer people DO NOT RECEIVE EQUAL LEVELS OF MEDICAL CARE AND CONCERN, their cancer levels are GROSSLY understated.

There should be an immediate investigation to discover WHY the inner city rates are lower than national trends. They celebrate when they should be crying out for equality and justice in the health system in Cuyahoga County, which incidentally, boasts the best hospitals in the country.

The affluent can afford doctor's visits and tests. The struggling inner city resident chooses between food and medicine.

The physicians who care for the affluent leave no test undone to diagnose and prevent any malaise in their patients.

The physicians who are charged with caring for the rest of us, do the barest, passable amount of testing and diagnosing because the insurers have assumed the role of physician to them and are concerned only with the bottom line, not the bottom feeders.

And the Plain Dealer will never tell its majority, uneducated, sheep/readers what the data TRULY reveals.

Will there EVER be equity for us?

This scenario hits especially close to home for me. For two years before my mother's painful death from multiple cancers of unknown origins, we took her to doctors at University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, and several private physicians with symptoms of massive headaches, dizziness and wasting away. They literally gave her no hope, NO MRI TESTS, NOTHING, except to tell her that she was probably suffering from, and I swear to God I am quoting: ". . . .old  person's symptoms."

It was not until 9 months before she died that an Indian doctor in the Cleveland Clinic ER demanded that an MRI be performed because my mother could not hold her head up without vomiting. MRI results showed massive brain tumors, bone cancer and colon cancer. A far cry from "old person's disease."

So, when I see that data, I become incensed. I know the truth behind the data.

Can you write about this data in The Real Deal? I would write a letter to the pathetic editorial board of the Plain Dealer, but come on, you know that would be as useful as a tit on a bull. 

Jesus help us,

• • •
Editor’s Notes:
1.    Brenda’s  mother was 63 years old when diagnosed with "old people's dizziness". She died seven months after her 64th birthday.

2.    The Cuyahoga County Board of Health Comprehensive Cancer Report of 2011 can be found here.

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