• Donating for Cancer Research: Choosing Value

    Making donations to cancer research charitiesWhen I was 11 or 12, a popular local newspaper columnist was encouraging kids in our area to raise money for an organization focused on efforts to end muscular dystrophy. Taking up the challenge, my brother and sisters and I and some friends organized a neighborhood carnival to raise money for the organization.

    The carnival was a success–everyone had fun and we raised some money. Now, the charity that received our contribution had a solid reputation. But of course, the focus was entirely on the fundraising event and no questions were asked about how the money would be used. And why would we ask questions? There was simply a trust the money raised would be used well.

    That may have been fine back then, and under that particular set of circumstances. But is the “no questions asked” approach when it comes to supporting charities and causes the best approach today?

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  • Clinical Trials: How Can Patients Benefit More?

    Sharing of data from clinical trials could help accelerate progress against cancer.These days the media hype around cancer “breakthroughs” seems to have reached a new high. There have been advances, but there is still such a long way to go before we can say we have real breakthroughs that are changing the outlook for most patients.

    There are likely many reasons why progress is so slow. But one thing that would almost certainly make a big difference is if there were true collaboration among researchers conducting clinical trials.

    Clinical trials are expensive and time consuming. Patients in clinical trials have chosen to participate not just for their own benefit but also to make a contribution for the greater good. And yet, the knowledge we as a society draw from many clinical trials is often incomplete or even nonexistent.

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