Candidates need to support the war

As the eyes of the nation begin to focus on tomorrow night’s debate between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney, one thing is sure, millions of Americans will be focused on where the two candidates stand on various issues.

The economy.

Foreign policy.

The national debt.

And the war.

Granted, the war has preoccupied the minds of Americans because we are bombarded with images and reports of dastardly attacks against Americans in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya.

And the images these attacks permeate the media, and justifiably so, candidates needs to address funding and strategy for the war.  The funding needs to increase.  Not, however, for the war in the aforementioned countries, a war being waged right here at home.

It is not just the war on terrorism, or the war on hungry – the war against cancer.

With October being proclaimed by many cities, counties and states as Breast Cancer Awareness month, the attention focuses on Breast Cancer.  The American Cancer Society reports that so far in 2012, nearly 230,000 cases of new breast cancer were reported nationwide.  Think that’s high?  The ACS also reports the same number of new cases of lung and bronchus cancer for the same time period.

Do the math – that’s almost a half a million new cases of cancer report.  Those are, however, second and third place tallies so far.  In first place in reported new cases of cancer is Prostate Cancer with nearly 242,000 new cases reported.  The total for new cases of all types of cancer is nearly 1.7 million.  And there are still three months left in the year.

Is it a special interest vote?  Unfortunately, yes.  People whose lives have been turned upside down by a battle with cancer are more than likely to be at the forefront in the war and, in this case, the well orchestrated effort to put funding for the war on cancer front and center.  Breast Cancer seems to get the lion’s share of coverage.  Susan B. Komen walks attract thousands of women annually to raise awareness.  As mentioned, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

It is the “it doesn’t affect me” attitude that may be alarming.  You can’t avoid cancer as you can the flu.  There’s no vaccine against it, nor is there an age differentiation.  Adolescents and people in their 20s and 30s need to be aware of cancer risks and the importance of funding.

Testicular Cancer and Skin Cancer are two cancers that can strike young people.  With Breast Cancer Awareness month abutting the Nov. 6 election, the timing seems ideal for candidates in all races, not just the presidential battle, to explain their position and, hopefully, support for a continued, if not increase in funding against the war on cancer.

Locally, one congressional race that will attract a considerable amount of interest is in the 8th congressional district where incumbent Joe Walsh is being challenged by Tammy Duckworth.  It’s a media dream – A right-wing Republican taking on a physically challenged female war veteran.  If anyone knows what it takes to overcome obstacles, it’s Duckworth.  Her dedication and injuries as a member of the military have, at times, become an issue, courtesy of Walsh.

Which is too bad, because images of a physically challenged vet are over riding other key issues.  Like the war against cancer.  In the nearby 10th district, incumbent Bob Dold is being challenged by Brad Schneider.  Again, it’s charges of tea party politics against the democrats.

Issues please?

The need for funding the war on cancer is not a special interest vote.  Funds are not needed solely for research, although that is a primary concern.  Funding helps organizations like the American Cancer Society help people undergoing treatment by offering emotional support and resources to help them get through their battle.

It’s not a small battle – not with 1.7 million people involved.

It’s not a specialized battle – cancer affects men and women, blacks, whites and Hispanics.

It’s not an age battle – cancer strikes the young, the middle-aged, and elderly.

It’s an ongoing war, which needs the support of the nation’s law makers.

It’s the one time when Americans need to be remember three simple words.

Support the war.

(Additional information can be found at cancervotes.org).

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