What can the diabetes community learn from the cancer community?

I am in constant amazement about how massively ACTIVE the cancer patient community is. Not that we aren’t active in diabetes, but when I sit and realize that there are fifteen 3-day long 60-mile walks organized to raise awareness around breast cancer alone, I am in awe and can’t help but think we can learn a lot from the cancer movement.

Two things that strike me when I read about the work groups like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure do are:
"Eighty-five percent of the net proceeds raised from the Breast Cancer 3-Day will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which is leading the global movement to end breast cancer forever, by funding research and community outreach programs.

Fifteen percent of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit the National Philanthropic
Trust Breast Cancer Fund, a special field of interest fund that will provide support for breast cancer
initiatives including research, treatment, prevention and education."

  1. They are a global movement.
  2. Their work has room for awareness and for research for a cure.

Diabetes is a global epidemic. Yet, it seems to me we are SO fragmented in our thinking about it and how it affects us all.

Did you know there is a global entity called International Diabetes Federation? If you didn’t and even if you did, I invite you to check out their main web site and become familiarized with their work and see how you can become involved. At the bottom of their home page, they list other sites they run in their work to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.

Manny , I so agree with you …and this may not be political correct , but I state it anyway : my observation : diabetes is not a " sexy disease " as is breast cancer viewed as. I had breast cancer in 1984 .
I am familiar with IDF and we raised through my Lions Club and the Strides Walk , Novemberr 14 , World Diabetes Day
( 2008 ) $ 5000,00 to send kids with diabetes to Camp , here in British Columbia , Canada . The monies went to the Canadian Diabetes Association , Kelowna , BC Branch .Our home was lit with blue lights from Nov.11-Nov 15, 2008 . I am a very active member with Team Diabetes Canada through the CDA at www.teamdiabetes.ca ; funds raised go towards the 4 pillars : education , service , advocacy and finding the cure.There were 3 gents from the US with our team in Disney World, Jan. 2009 .Quite a few US people approached us and wanted to know more . It would be wonderful if ADA could do simelar . Excellent fund raiser and it gets people walking/running/cycling. Team D.Canada is on the Canadian site .
I am unable to send a picture of the donation , just because I don’t know HOW …
JDRF has walking events and recently cycle events …Indeed we need to do MUCH more …thanks for your post , Manny .

Well you don’t see the cancer people arguing about who’s type of cancer is the proper cancer. Are we more depressed therefore less showbiz?

I personally know 3 women who are breast cancer survivors

Cancer is perceived differently than diabetes and perception is reality. Perception of an issue defines how any individual will react to that issue.

When cancer can kill someone in months and diabetes take years or even decades to kill someone…

I can’t say more. Cancer is so immediate, so sudden

I know we deal with this for decades, but we have so much more individual control of our outcome. The long term mental stress is the only thing that can possibly compare, IMO

Agree that perception is reality. Intensive & extensive awareness/education is needed. You’d think that diabetes becoming epidemic would lead to more funding, education & research. In a strange way, I think this almost works against us. The sheer numbers, rather than grabbing attention as a staggering global health issue, seems to have made diabetes just another health problem. I say this from how blase & lax healthcare professionals treat us (& how woefully uneducated many are on proper diagnosis & appropriate treatment). Oh yea, yet another diabetic–ho-hum.

Also agree with Scott that there’s a horrible drama & devastating immediacy associated with cancer, coupled with the perception (back to perception) that PWD bring this upon themselves.

A dear friend is struggling with breast cancer. Sadly, don’t we all know someone with this? She was upset at my diagnosis. I was touched by her caring when she was dealing with chemo & surgery. Told her not to worry about me & she replied: “I’ve got a good chance of surviving & I will. You’ve got diabetes forever.” One of the very few people I’ve met without D who got it.

This is the reason I started the discussion " Reframing Diabetes " some time back …the perception is that " diabetes is not as serious as cancer " . I am trying to be awere NOT to negate this statement , but say instead and I am quoting someone , who did his home work :
" diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease ( in Canada ) with terrible health consequences, accounting for almost a third of heart attacks ( in Canada ) , 30 percent of strokes , half of new kidney dialysis cases and 70 percent of amputations " .
Globally every 10 seconds one dies of diabetes and it’s complications .
I know of 3 young people between the ages of 18 and 25 , who had type 1 diabetes and died in their sleep .Another lady I knew was 47 , type 1 and died. They died within the last 2 1/2 years . We as people with diabetes better start holding this disease differently , otherwise the perception , that diabetes is not as serious as cancer will not go away .It is serious !

Breast cancer is a particular type (or subtype) of cancer(s), and it can have particularly visible circumstances. The diabetes analogy would be something like undiagnosed adult rapid-onset T1… which is not as visible except among those for whom dramatic weight loss looks “sick” rather than “healthy”…

Regarding IDF, I’ll wear the pin and put up the blue lights, but for political reasons I will not support them in any other fashion.

Now, if they were completely grassroots and not associated with any governmental or multigovernmental organization (like the UN), my attitude might be different.

I am quoting " Now, if they were completely grassroots and not associated with any governmental or multigovernmental organization (like the UN), my attitude might be different." …please help me understand your statement : I live in Canada , a country compared to many others , where we have a decent standard of living .The Canadian Diabetes Association and it’s advocates are always in contact with the politicians, Federally and Provincially . We present the CDA’s ASK for better medications, devices etc. for all Canadians living with diabetes. And there is more work to be done .In my mind one will have to involve the country 's decision makers , where /if monies ( tax payers ) are going to be spend towards health .Other groups do the same and so they should.
I always have maintained, if I had lived in Africa , I may not be alive today .

Politically, I am libertarian. Libertarians do not believe the government should have any involvement in social programs, whether that is unemployment, medical insurance, socialized medicine, postal/telephone/Internet services, etc. We believe that this is much more efficiently handled through the private sector. Just look at how the FDA has bastardized and degraded the process it takes to get safe, effective drugs to market (only Big Pharma drugs get looked at and they are fast-tracked at 5-15 years without any long-term studies done, whereas smaller concerns that might have cheaper/more-effective drugs can’t even get their drugs into the pipeline for consideration)…

I support private organizations that provide for research and care, so long as those organizations are not governmental in origin. (Note that many international NGOs are just government lobbyists and spend their time and money on government-based stuff rather than going direct-to-consumer.)

Woo hoo! Another Libertarian!

You’re absolutely right. Untreated, uncontrolled diabetes can cause a swift death. Almost killed me. I was referring the perception of diabetes & perception is misleading.

Thanks for your explanation about your political view .I googled the word " Libertarian " . I am all for it , that we as humans have to take responsibility for one’s actions and coach others to do same . I have the impression that the International Diabetes Federation ( IDF ) does this.
My simple mind feels that it is far fetched not to include my Governments in raising the issue , that for every dollar spent on health matters to manage diabetes 4 dollars will be saved across the health care system .A matter of mathematics and if it works in my country , others just may pay heed…
What is there available in the US regarding " private organizations " to find a cure , awereness , care about diabetes and what are you able to do on a personal level ?
I say it again , if I had been borne in Africa , I likely would not have been alive today.

I agree, Nel! Too often we look at “who should we exclude” instead of “how can we include.” I say, anyone (or any entity) who wants to get involved - welcome!!

Manny asks why we can’t sort of get it together like the various cancer movements?
"…it seems to me we are SO fragmented in our thinking about it and how it affects us all."

Yeah - we’re fragmented. In fact, there’s way too much DIVISIVENESS!!! I see much love and support on this forum - but recently I’m seeing the opposite far too often. I’m growing weary of the in-fighting and sniping and snarkiness I’ve been seeing on this forum - and the vying for who is right, who it wrong - with an air of superiority and little respect. What happened to being able to vent without being “corrected?” It makes me sad. And I’m sure it turns some people, who might otherwise choose to share, into permanent “lurkers.”

Look around at some of the recent discussions and some who are such prevalent, omnipresent voices…we’re still fighting over terminology and definitions. Geez!!! What happened to “sharing” versus “telling”? What happened to kindness?

Bottom line, we can’t pull together when we’re too busy pulling each other apart. And we will certainly have a problem changing public perceptions without some unity…the “connectedness” you see around cancer.

Dear Libertarians.

You libertarians are like the dinosaurs. Obama is dishing out the trillions. Big Govt is the in thing. Are you also against military spending? that is the greatest money grab in the US budget? there is a lot to be said for this philosophy since for every $1.00 of service you get from the Govt it costs at least $2.00 of tax payer money. The govt politicians and employees are the only ones with rock solid guarantied pensions, very good health care, decent working conditions and total job security.

Dear Nel

My Endo used precisely your argument to our health minister and the man did not understand a thing. But this is worth trying some leaders may be more allert to the finer points of capitalism.

If we wait for private organizations to find a cure we will wait a really long time. My feeling is that the venture capital is dried up and the risk to reward is too great. Hope I am wrong.

for some time now, I’ve been wanting to write on this subject…I feel that I can look at it from both sides…no, I KNOW I can. My daughter (7) was Dx with T1D at 22 months. Just 1 1/2 years later, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through all the treatments possible…mastectomies, chemo, recontruction, medication…changed my life to say the least.
But, then there’s diabetes, it’s constant, relentless…yet invisible to others.
My cancer experience, though continuing my whole life, was an intense concentrated time, though recurrence is always a thought…
But, diabetes…it’s 24/7…no break
I wrestle w/all of this. I have participated in breast cancer walks…in the 3day intensely emotional walks. And you’re right…they know how to do it right.
I’m not even sure where i’m going with this. But I want the dialog to continue