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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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We need cures, not prevention!

By Clayton Norlen

It is the week we have all been waiting for-Public Health Awareness Week! I’m sure everyone has been anticipating April 3 through 9 as much as little kids looking forward to Christmas.

Public health programs have cured the nation of polio and eradicated the smallpox disease.

But what is being done to cure diseases that are currently plaguing the American population? Not much-instead, these programs now tend to focus on prevention. Because of this, the public is forced to turn to private, nonprofit organizations to find cures for the diseases that plague our society.

This Saturday, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is holding a walkathon at the Gateway in hopes of raising funds to find a cure for multiple sclerosis-a disease with which an estimated 400,000 individuals across the nation have been diagnosed.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms vary between patients-but typically include numbness, tremors, impaired vision and, in accelerated cases, paralysis.

The specifics behind why one person is more likely than another to be diagnosed with MS are still in question. Doctors have noticed a trend that should have Utahns more concerned than others-people born in colder climates tend to be more susceptible to MS.

You would think that public health officials would want to end something so debilitating. Maybe they should help with finding a cure instead of leaving it to nonprofit organizations.

This trend isn’t unique to diseases like MS. What steps have our public health officials taken to protect citizens from cancer?

While prevention and early screening help with some types of cancer-such as lung cancer-what is public health doing to prevent breast, colon and prostate cancer? While encouraging people to have screening tests is nice, these publicly funded programs also need to be searching for a cure.

Today, Relay for Life, another nonprofit organization, will be raising funds to help find a cure for cancer.

More than a million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, and as with MS, there is still no cure in sight. One out of two men will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in his life and one out of three women. Not the best odds to bet against.

Ailments like these have become a part of everyday life for Americans. No one truly worries until the diagnosis hits close to home.

While we may not all suffer from these diseases, we all can think of an individual in our lives who has. In honor of Public Health Awareness Week, we should all do what we can to help find cures to these diseases and others.

Make a donation or write your government leaders and request that more funding be given to assist in finding cures.

When the nation was plagued by polio, America did all it could to find a cure. Now with diseases such as MS and cancer, the need for another great cure has arrived. Let’s give health back to the public for Public Health Awareness Week.

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