Propaganda Masquerading As News

On June 28, The New Yorker posted an article with the following headline:

Many Gazan Women Are No Longer Able to Enter Israel for Cancer Treatment

Horrible if true. Thankfully it is not true.

The article cites claims by patients Amani Abu Taema and Dena Mekhael, stating:

In 2012, Israel approved ninety-two per cent of medical permits for Gazans. In 2014, a year of deadly conflict, eighty-two per cent of patients were allowed in. But, since the beginning of 2018, with no announcement of a change in policy, more than half of applications for medical permits from Gaza have been turned down or left unanswered, according to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, or P.H.R.I., a nonprofit organization that represents many of these patients. A 2017 directive from the Defense Ministry gave Israel twenty-three working days to process requests for medical permits, an increase from the previous ten-day processing time. (The extension, according to the ministry, was due to a backlog of some sixteen thousand travel-permit requests, the result of an overwhelming number of applications and the time needed to run proper security checks.) The average case now takes months—if it’s approved at all.

Since Mekhael’s last checkup in Tel Aviv, a year ago, she has found a new lump, this time in her right breast. She applied for a medical permit last December (the permits are only valid for a few weeks) but has not been approved to cross the border. “I never got a refusal, but they keep saying it’s ‘under review,’ ” she told me. Her options in Gaza are dismal: its public hospitals provide very limited and sporadic access to functional MRI and mammogram machines, so she has no way of receiving a diagnosis, let alone treatment.

This is shenanigans. According to reliable sources:

• Had reporter Ruth Margalit bothered to check Dena Mekhael’s account with the Israeli authorities, she would have learned that it is the Palestinian side which is holding up her permit approval; she has valid security clearance from Israel but the Palestinian committee has failed to provide the needed updated hospital appointment information necessary for her request to be approved.

• It is not true that Israel “turned down or left unanswered” over half of the applications for medical permits from Gaza in 2018. According to figures from the World Health Organization and Israel’s COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), Israel approved more than half of the applications this year.

…Regarding Amani Abu Taema, Margalit had reported, “In January, she was allowed into Israel for an MRI and radiation therapy, but since then her application for a permit has been declined four times without explanation.” According to the Israeli spokesman, Abu Taema did indeed enter Israel in January for medical treatment, but since then has not reapplied for an additional entry. The Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee has likewise not received any requests from Abu Taema since her January visit. Thus, Abu Taema’s claim that her application permit was declined four times was flatly rejected and refuted by the Israeli authority, with whom New Yorker never consulted.  

In addition, the claim that there are no MRI machines in Gaza is also false:

…according to the United Nations, a scientific  journal, Palestinian sources, and the European Gaza Hospital (a public institution), along with mainstream media, there are indeed MRI machines in Gaza. Notably, a 2017 report in The Journal of Radiation Research and Applied Sciences (“Evaluation of advanced medical imaging services at Governmental Hospitals – Gaza Governorates, Palestine“), noted there are two MRI machines in the Gaza Strip per one million inhabitants. This compares to four MRI machines in Israel per one million inhabitants. Both Israel and the Gaza Strip lag significantly behind other countries, including Turkey, France, Australia, and especially Germany.

There are a few things that are noteworthy in this article. First of all, the women were able to get treatment for cancer in Israel. After all the money the world has poured into Gaza, why aren’t the medical facilities there adequate? Where is the money going? With all the rockets, etc., Gaza has aimed at Israel, Israel is still treating patients from Gaza. It seems to me that Israel is the humanitarian force here–not Gaza.

The story in The New Yorker is an example of misstating facts in order to achieve a specific goal–anti-Israel sentiment. Nowhere does the writer question the lack of infrastructure in Gaza after all the money poured in there. Nowhere does the writer note that Israel routine helps with medical needs in Gaza. Nowhere does the writer mention the terrorist activities against Israel that originate in Gaza–the rockets, the tunnels, the suicide bombers, etc.

This is a blatant example of fake news with the purpose of stirring up anti-Israel sentiment while Gaza continues its terrorist activities with no repercussions.

Sad News About A Great Commentator

Fox News posted an article today about Charles Krauthammer, a longtime regular panelist on various Fox News shows.

The article reports:

Charles Krauthammer, the beloved and brilliant Fox News Channel personality who gave up a pioneering career in psychiatry to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning political analyst, on Friday revealed the heartbreaking news that he is in the final stages of a losing battle with cancer.

The 68-year-old’s incisive takes on politics of the day have been missing from Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” for nearly a year as he battled an abdominal tumor and subsequent complications, but colleagues and viewers alike had held out hope that he would return to the evening show he helped establish as must-viewing. But in an eloquent, yet unblinking letter to co-workers, friends and Fox News Channel viewers, Krauthammer disclosed that he has just weeks to live.

“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months,” the letter began. “I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.”

This is Charles Krauthammer’s public statement regarding his illness:

Charles Krauthammer

 June 8, 2018

I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me. 

In August of last year, I underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor in my abdomen. That operation was thought to have been a success, but it caused a cascade of secondary complications– which I have been fighting in hospital ever since. It was a long and hard fight with many setbacks, but I was steadily, if slowly, overcoming each obstacle along the way and gradually making my way back to health.

However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.

I wish to thank my doctors and caregivers, whose efforts have been magnificent. My dear friends, who have given me a lifetime of memories and whose support has sustained me through these difficult months. And all of my partners at The Washington Post, Fox News, and Crown Publishing.

Lastly, I thank my colleagues, my readers, and my viewers, who have made my career possible and given consequence to my life’s work. I believe that the pursuit of truth and right ideas through honest debate and rigorous argument is a noble undertaking. I am grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.

I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.

This is a man I do not always agree with, but for whom I have a great deal of respect. We need a miracle here.

Wonderful News From Israel

On October 26th, The Times of Israel posted a story about a breakthrough in cancer research that has occurred in Israel.

The article reports:

“Our interim results in a major study of patients with leukemia shows that our system yields the maximum efficiency from chemo, with a minimum of toxicity,” said Dr. Ruth Ben Yakar, CEO of BioSight. “Our method of using chemo does not cause brain damage or weaken blood cells,” with all its attendant phenomena, such as lethargy, loss of hair, etc.

BioSight’s “Trojan horse” chemo technology doesn’t only work for leukemia patients, said Ben Yakar. “We believe it will be effective in many other kinds of cancer as well. It’s a matter of finding the amino acid that a specific cancer is ‘allergic’ to, and packaging it in a structure that the cancer cell thinks contains material that strengthens it, while in reality it contains material that destroys it.”

I am sure everyone reading this has watched someone they love go through the agonies of chemotherapy because that was the only hope of survival. It would be wonderful if this procedure can cure cancer without doing major harm to the patient.

The article further reports:

While further tests are needed, Ben Yakar is very optimistic that the technology – which, she said, could be applied to other cancers as well — will receive recognition as a Breakthrough Therapy, able to treat patients who have no other medical recourse.

“We are excited with the results obtained to date with treatment of AML and ALL patients with Astarabine,” said Ben Yakar. “These patients would have otherwise had very limited treatment options. We are optimistic that Astarabine could bring real hope to many patients and an answer to unmet needs in the treatment of hematologic malignancies.”

This is fantastic news.

Something American Women Need To Know

There is a website called Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. On that site is a page dealing with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) dealing with the relationship between abortion and breast cancer.

Here is an example of two of the questions and answers:

1. How many breast cancer risks are associated with abortion and what are those risks?

 Two breast cancer risks are associated with abortion.  All experts agree that increased childbearing, starting at a younger age, and increased duration of breastfeeding significantly reduce breast cancer risk. Cancer fundraising businesses recognize that the following factors raise a woman’s risk for breast cancer: 1) Childlessness; 2) Small family size; 3) Little or no breastfeeding; and 4) Having a late first full term pregnancy.

 There can be no question that abortion contributes to the breast cancer rates of all nations where the procedure is accessible.  Few experts, however, possess either the intellectual honesty or the political courage to acknowledge that abortion has anything to do with the loss of the protective effect – unless, of course, they are compelled to testify under oath.

 Even an expert witness for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Dr. Lynn Rosenberg of Boston Medical School, was compelled to agree with this medical fact while under oath: “A woman who finds herself pregnant at age 15 will have a higher breast cancer risk if she chooses to abort that pregnancy than if she carries the pregnancy to term, correct?”

Scientists debate only one of the breast cancer risks associated with abortion – the question of an independent link.  In other words, does an abortion leave a woman with more cancer vulnerable breast lobules than she had before she became pregnant?

2) How many medical organizations acknowledge that abortion is independently linked to breast cancer and what is the evidence that supports this effect?

 As of October, 2006, eight medical organizations acknowledge that abortion increases a woman’s risk in this way.  Most of the recent epidemiological research examines only the debated risk – the effect of the independent link.  Most of the recent research omits the effect of the first risk (the loss of the protective effect of childbearing) because it is already accepted as a well-established fact in the medical literature. 

 An overwhelming majority of the epidemiological studies support an independent link.  Seventy epidemiological studies dating from 1957 have been conducted, and approximately 80% report a correlation between having an abortion and increased breast cancer risk.  Animal research and considerable biological evidence also support a link. Even the most zealous opponents of the abortion-cancer link agree that the biological reasons for it are physiologically correct.  No scientist has ever refuted or even challenged the biological explanation.

 Considering the sheer extent of the evidence that has accumulated over the last half-century, why didn’t the cancer fundraising at least warn women about the existence of this research, as well as the fact that abortion would result in the loss of the protective effect of childbearing?

Shouldn’t this information be part of the discussion about women’s healthcare?

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A Moment To Be Carefree

To be carefree is a wonderful thing. It’s one of the first things cancer patients give up when they are diagnosed with the disease.  The Mimi Foundation decided that it would change that for some cancer patients. Please read the article at the Business Insider to understand the whole story and to see some wonderful pictures.

Meanwhile, YouTube posted the video:

Enjoy.

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There Really Is Nothing New Under The Sun

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail reported that scans of a 2, 250 year-old mummy show that the man died a slow and painful death due to prostate cancer.  The man is believed to have been between 51 and 60 years old when he died.

The article reports:

The earliest diagnosis of‭ ‬metastasising prostate carcinoma came in‭ ‬2007 ‬when researchers investigated the skeleton of a‭ ‬2,700-year-old Scythian king who died,‭ ‬aged‭ ‬40 to 50,‭ ‬in the steppe of Southern Siberia,‭ ‬Russia.‭

‘This study shows that cancer did exist in antiquity,‭ ‬for sure in ancient Egypt.‭ ‬The main reason for the scarcity of examples found today might be the lower prevalence of carcinogens and the shorter life expectancy,‭’ ‬Paula Veiga,‭ ‬a researcher in Egyptology,‭ ‬told Discovery News.

Evidently we have a higher incidence of cancer today because we live longer and we have more things that cause cancer. Who knew? Might it be possible that we have more incidences of cancer today because we live longer and there are many more of us?

I do actually find it encouraging that cancer has been with us for a very long time. To me, that is an indication that man did not cause it and that science can find the cause and medicine can cure it!

 

 

 

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Unintended Consequences Of Changes In Food And Drug Administration Policies

The American Spectator reported today that there is a shortage of essential cancer drugs due to some changes in policy at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The article reports:

The shortfall is the result of stricter FDA regulation, government price controls on already discounted but complex drugs, and policies that discourage the use of new medications. Companies, facing lower prices, tighter regulation and increasing government control over what drugs will be used and when, are exiting the U.S. market and investing in product development in China and India where, sadly, it is easier and cheaper to produce next-generation medicines.

As usual, government interference in the free marked is having a negative impact on the lives of Americans.

The article further points out::

Provenge, the first cancer vaccine, stalled at the FDA for years. Once approved, it faced 18 months of additional delay while the Obama administration figured out whether to pay for it. The gauntlet cancer patients face with Provenge is being extended to everyone waiting for a medical breakthrough under Obamacare. Before a medical innovation can be used or paid for, the government will now demand additional research demonstrating that a new product will be more effective and cheaper than existing technologies. Since most new products come from small start-ups with limited cash, such a requirement means life-saving innovations will not be available at all.

There will always be some risk associated with a new drug, but is it better to let people die than to take a reasonable risk?

This is the same government that decided that in order to save money, women under the age of fifty should not get mammograms. Since breast cancer can occur at any time and tends to be more aggressive in women in their thirties, this is the kind of decision that will result in women dying. I know a number of women who had breast cancer in their thirties and forties. They would never have discovered the cancer in time if the government policies of no mammograms until age fifty had been in effect.

Let the government do government things and the medical community do medical things. All Americans are negatively impacted when the government attempts to micromanage healthcare.

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