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Thread: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    Cesar Chelala
    April 6, 2020

    In 1991, I headed a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) mission of Latin American physicians to evaluate a national Cuban project involving the use of interferon to treat inoperable lung cancer. At the time, there was a rumor that Fidel Castro had lung cancer and had a particular interest in the research about it. Castro showed his interest, in part, when he came to visit us and discussed the findings. At the time, interferon didnít seem to have a significant effect, but Cuban doctors have now developed a new treatment for lung cancer that offers promising results.

    Keep reading: https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/04...ach-to-cancer/
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    Islander, thank you for posting this very informative article. I was both happy and sad reading this--happy to learn that there's a vaccine against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), but sad to learn most Americans cannot get their hands on it. This vaccine has been available to other countries for almost a decade (2011), but the U.S. can't find its way to approve the vaccine, known as CIMAVax. Many Americans are forced to break the law by traveling to Cuba, forced to purchase a plane ticket, and ultimately spend close to $10,000 for this 4 day treatment. Sadly, according to the American Cancer Society, NSCLC mostly impacts the elderly--average age of diagnosis is 70. Over 200,000 people will be newly diagnosed in 2020, with about 135,000 deaths. To know that there's a vaccine that could save lives, but it's only available to Americans who can afford $10,000--and who are willing to break the law--is just simply horrorfying.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    I have probably mentioned several dozen times that I was a member of a delegation of organic growers that spent 10 days in Cuba in 2015. One of the things that deeply impressed us all was the depth and breath and detail of their healthcare system. You may have read about teams of Cuban doctors traveling to Ziki-infected areas of Central America or ebola-stricken countries of Africa. These men and women are highly trained doctors; their education is free, the only expectation being that they commit to a couple of years of community service, either in or outside of Cuba, as demand requires.
    As you would expect in a socialist state, healthcare for Cubans is also free. I'm not sure what the $10,000 cost entails; unless you were flying from the West Coast, airfare can't be too high. I doubt that Americans are charged substantially more than Cubans for the same treatment, the same hospitalization, the same medications. I'd be curious to know the details, because the in-depth understanding that I reached of Cuba and its people in those 10 days does not compute with the charges mentioned in the story.
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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    Michael Moore made a film a few years ago: Where to Invade Next? It showed Americans travelling to Cuba for free health care. Care they could not afford in US. I wasn't aware that this was breaking the law?

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    Default Re: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    It was illegal for Americans to visit Cuba during the Castro regime. It could be done, but one had to depart from Canada. Obama relaxed these restrictions but our delegation still had to receive permission from Washington. And then Trump tightened everything again. Now I'm no longer sure what the rules are but I'm pretty sure it's illegal once again.
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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    Quote Originally Posted by Julieanne View Post
    ..."I wasn't aware that this was breaking the law?
    There is no private health care system in Cuba. It's government owned and operated. All docs and healthcare workers are employed by the government's National Health System. The current U.S. Administration has embargoed any and all business and tourism that puts money in the pockets of the central Cuban government. Group travel with a college or university for educational purposes and cultural exchange is OK. But, paying Cuban docs for medical care provides resources to the government and that's forbidden under the current administration regulations.

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    Default Re: Cubaís Promising Approach to Cancer

    Thank you for clarifying that, Mr. Wizard. There was a time during the Obama administration when tourism was approved, but my understanding is that tourism does not fall under "educational purposes" and is currently disallowed.
    ‚ě§ Happiness is the frosting on the cake of contentment.

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