The only way we're ever going to beat cancer is through research. There's no doubt about it. The silent and anonymous work being carried out by scientists has to be valued, praised and appreciated. The more money spent on fighting tumours, the more patients can be cured.
If all cancer research stopped today, by 2030 someone would die every two seconds from a carcinoma. On the other hand, if Spain doubled the funds it spends on cancer research the patient survival rate would reach 70 per cent by 2030; it's currently 53 per cent.
This difference between what there is and what there ought to be is equivalent to the number of patients who could win a battle that they'll lose if more isn't invested in science.
To mark this week's International Cancer Research Day, the Spanish cancer association AECC encouraged the general public to sign a petition to call for the creation of a national strategy on cancer research. It also aims to convince the government to double, at least, the money it has spent on oncological research in the last decade, going from 1.5 to 3 billion euros over the next ten years. That is the only way. You can't play with people's lives.
Every time funds designated for science are cut, we're taking one step backwards in curing illnesses. Any government with a bit of common sense knows that. The crisis suffered in Spain in recent years, among other harmful issues, did away with many research projects that came to nothing due to a lack of resources. This must not happen again.
The Spanish state has no excuse not to be open to the need to fight cancer with strength. The money spent on this will bring benefits in the form of human lives (the most important) as well as in future health service savings. Society must stand undivided to ensure that biomedical research is a priority for our leaders, whatever political party they belong to. Scientists must be given sufficient means to carry out their work with the guarantee that they will be able to continue. One factor that indicates the development of a country is the percentage of its GDP that it spends on scientific investigation. Spain is weak in this field. The time has come for our leaders to take Spanish science seriously. There are a lot of important issues, but none is as important as health.