Secular Patient Advocacy?

Hey, I don’t know anything about this field, but I thought some of my readership might.  My best friend’s mother is in really bad shape because of cancer and because of delayed diagnosis because of doctors being indifferent to her care.  She sent me the following e-mail:

Can you ask the Secular community what patient advocacy resources are available, and where to demand better, more thoughtful treatment? I think a lot of the shit Mom’s had to deal with has been a combination of medical error and the terrible quality of health care in SC, but I feel like this process has been complicated because, in general, doctors and nurses are rude and dismissive. This is a huge problem because I think it sends people into the arms of quacks on the “alternative medicine” side, and I’d really like there to be some kind of secular answer to that bullshit. I just don’t know where else to start.
Any thoughts you have would be wonderful, and if you don’t know, that’s OK too.  Secular community help me out!

Hey Girls: You Deserve Cancer, you sluts!

I live in a state that is often accused of being the worst.  We have a saying in South Carolina: “Thank God for Mississippi!”  When it comes to diseases and listening to the religious right being absolutely beyond stupid, we are pretty close to the bottom.

There is a wonderful vaccine that prevents several kinds of cancer, including almost all cervical cancer, anal cancer, and other cancers as well.  The vaccine also reduces the risk of fertility problems!  The problem is that the vaccine prevents HPV, something people can get through sex.  It should be noted, however, that this is NOT the only way people get HPV.  The thing is, getting HPV from a non-human object can actually happen.  In that study, over half of the virgins tested had HPV.

And it’s frustrating that I should even have to make that point.  Sex is good, sex is healthy, sex is natural, sex should be accepted as an important part of the human condition.  But you don’t have to be a raging slut/whore/liberal to get HPV.

Which is why it is especially tragic that, in a state with incredibly high cervical cancer rates (9th in deaths in the nation, three times higher in African American women), less than 20% of eligible women are getting this vaccine.  I am sure the number is even lower for eligible young men.  Why? Because we won’t enact a mandate like we have for other vaccines.  And, just last week, the house would not overrule a veto from our evil governor, Nikki Haley, that prevents schools from getting funding to provide information on the vaccine.  Not to force anyone to have it, but to tell people it exists.

Nikki Haley: It’s better for people to die than for parents to possibly have to discuss sex with their children.

Also, if you are under 26, male or female, you should get the Gardasil vaccine.  For yourself and for others.

GARDASIL is the only human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV. In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL helps protect against 2 types of HPV that cause about 75% of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases. In boys and young men ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL helps protect against 90% of genital warts cases.

GARDASIL also helps protect girls and young women ages 9 to 26 against 70% of vaginal cancer cases and up to 50% of vulvar cancer cases.

Since I’ve had mine, does that mean I’m contractually obligated to be a slut/whore/liberal now?

Here are some sobering statistics given in the hopes of scaring people into getting the jab.

Christopher Hitchens Cancellations Explained: Cancer

I was really excited, I was supposed to go to a book signing in LA with Christopher Hitchens.  He was going to give a talk this week.  It was going to be awesome.  A couple weeks ago, there was a thing in Seattle that a friend of mine was trying to go to, he cancelled for “personal reasons”.  Not long after that, he cancelled the one in LA, also for “personal reasons”.

I threw myself into full internet research mode, but there just wasn’t any info out there.  I even tried to get the Pharyngulite Horde onto it, but no one really responded.

He’s got cancer.  Esophageal cancer for which he’s getting chemo, which means it’s probably advanced.  The average five year survival rate, according to Wikipedia, is 5%.  According to the following site, 14,250 are diagnosed each year, and 14,000 die.

While no surefire way to prevent cancer of the esophagus exists certain risk factors can be minimized to reduce the risk of cancer. Smoking and excessive alcohol multiply the risk of esophageal cancer up to 44 times, so avoiding these two factors decreases the risk and improves your overall health.

Well, that’s Christopher Hitchens in a nutshell, he smokes and drinks, it’s who he is.  It’s a shame if that means he’s going to die at 61.  He’ll probably laugh and say at least he got his memoir done before he died.  :(