In the United States of America, progress has always seemed to be a primary theme. Whether it is with technology, architecture, or even athletics, we are always breaking boundaries and finding new and improved ways to enhance our lives and take care of problems. One area that has been especially full of progress is the medical field and all its new technology. Most recently we have seen a very effective and new way to treat cancer called immunotherapy. This is an alternative treatment to chemotherapy and the results have been incredibly promising. There is only one problem with the treatment here in the U.S. and that is that it isn’t being distributed fairly amongst the people who need it. In both studies on immunotherapy that have so far been completed, the first involving 582 patients and the second involving 821, 92 percent and 88 percent (in respective studies) of patients who were chosen to receive treatment. The remaining few percent were labeled as Asian, African-American, and other. Now, the argument could be made that there are far more White people who live in the United States and for that reason the studies are so heavily focused on White patients, but that isn’t the excuse that researchers are choosing to use. In this article it is clear that Doctors and Researchers have simply assumed that minorities aren’t good candidates for the study simply because they can’t afford the constant hospital visits and medical bills that come along with it.
This assumption doesn’t really sit well with me. I would understand if the reason for these studies being so focused on White patients was that there are simply more of them effected by cancer, but the real reason is far from that. There are some incredible people in the healthcare world that are currently trying to fix this problem through programs and hospitals like Queens Hospital’s Cancer Center that basically accepts anyone, even the uninsured. However, there are not nearly enough people out there willing to help make this change. With all the progress that has taken place in this country, especially along the lines of racial discrimination and how far we have come there, shouldn’t we be able to find a way to equally distribute these life-saving treatments? It’s certainly not a matter of the patients wanting it more than others, because no matter what color their skin is, they want to be saved just as bad as the next person. What it really comes down to is who is chosen by healthcare officials and doctors to participate in these studies and receive treatment. I really hope that researchers mean what they say when they state that they are “trying to fix this issue” because it definitely needs fixing.