Cameron University assistant professor delves into “The Politics of Cancer” with presentation and book signing

Cameron University’s Dr. Wendy Whitman-Cobb, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Sciences, will present a talk on her book, “The Politics of Cancer: Malignant Indifference,” on Monday, October 23. Her presentation will be following by a question-and-answer session and a book signing. The event is open to the public at no charge and takes place in the CETES Conference Center at 2 p.m.

Published in March 2017, “The Politics of Cancer: Malignant Indifference” examines how political players attempt to fight cancer in the US. In the 195-page volume, published by Praeger, Whitman-Cobb argues that while support for fighting cancer is largely bipartisan, cancer policy is largely unconnected and piecemeal.

Whitman-Cobb, whose father’s long-term fight with kidney cancer inspired the book, says, “Because of the political system we find ourselves in, creating and implementing a coherent and cohesive plan to fight cancer is nearly impossible in the United States.”

In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared a war on cancer, yet finding a cure is not simply a frustrating challenge for medical science. There are political, social, and economic factors at play. “The Politics of Cancer: Malignant Indifference” enables readers to gain insight into the realities of science policy and the ways in which the federal government is both the source of funding for much of cancer research and often deficient in setting comprehensive and consistent anti-cancer policy. Readers will also come to understand how Congress, the president, the bureaucracy, and the cancer industry all share responsibility for the current state of cancer policy confusion and consider whether pharmaceutical companies, for-profit cancer treatment hospitals, and interest groups like the American Cancer Society have a personal incentive to keep the fight alive.

Whitman-Cobb argues that despite the so-called "war on cancer," no strategic, comprehensive government policy has been imposed, leading to an indecisive cancer policy that has significantly impeded cancer research.

Whitman-Cobb received a B.A. and M.A. in political science from the University of Central Florida. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Florida where she focused her research on the interaction of institutions with public policy. She is the author of “Unbroken Government: Success and Failure in Policymaking” and has published research in Congress and the Presidency, Space Policy, and the Journal of Political Science Education. She joined the Cameron faculty in August 2013.

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October 18, 2017