The End of Cancer Starts Here
“Odds are it’s nothing but get it checked out... just in case...”
The important things in life are usually said no louder than a whisper...
"Will you marry me?"
"You got the scholarship."
It’s the last one that feels like a punch to the gut.
One September several years ago, my mom was in a minor car accident. It was a small fender bender — nothing too serious but very typical for New York drivers.
She was stopped at a light when a car bumped her from behind. The young driver had been fiddling with his radio (this was before smartphones). He'd taken his foot off the brake, and then his bumper hit mom’s car.
Other than a sore neck and being a little shook up, she was alright.
A few weeks later, mom told us that she'd felt a small lump near her breast. She wasn’t too concerned — the spot was right where the shoulder strap of the seat belt had been across her chest.
She brushed it off as “probably a bruise from the seat belt.” None of us were concerned, but we asked her to get it checked out “just in case.”
Mom’s doctor thought it was from the fender bender, too, and didn’t think much of it. But he suggested a mammogram “just in case.”
From the mammogram, the doctor saw “something” and sent mom to a specialist. My brother took her. The appointment was at 2 p.m., and he told us he’d call as soon as they knew anything.
It was a cold afternoon in December, and I'd been sitting at my desk. It was about 4 p.m. when my secretary buzzed me on my intercom. “Mr. Miz, your brother is on line 2.”
When I heard his voice, I knew...
“It’s cancer,” he whispered. "I gotta go — the doctor just came back in the room.” And then the phone went silent...
The 3 Words You Never Want to Hear: "It Came Back"
The next few months were tough — some days tougher than others.
After the surgery, mom had aggressive chemotherapy. Her hair fell out, and she was tired a lot. She lost her eyebrows, too, and had to draw them on. That was very hard for her. Cancer not only attacks your body, it takes away your dignity, too.
After one year of treatments and mom’s fighting spirit, the doctor said with a big grin, “You’re cancer-free. Now, go on and enjoy life.”
My mom had been cancer-free for more than 22 years...
That was until this summer when it came back...
Mom’s doing great. Her doctor is happy with the way things are going, and everything is in check.
All those years ago, we'd waited for the “all clear” phone call after each doctor’s visit. Time is measured in good reports and bad ones — that’s life for a cancer survivor and their family.
Despite the “all clear” sign, cancer survivors always live with a ticking time bomb in the back of their minds. They know it’s there and that they have to come to grips with the fact that it could go off at any minute.
My mom’s story is nothing unique.
This story happens more than 250,000 times each year in the U.S. — that’s how many women are diagnosed each year.
And each year, about 40,000 women — kid sisters, young moms, loving wives, middle-aged grandmas, the wealthy, and the poor — die of it.
And it doesn’t care; it doesn’t discriminate. No one is immune to breast cancer...
Time to Fight Back
When my kids were younger and asked what I did for a living, I told them “I read for a living.” When they asked me where I went every day to work, I answered "the library."
It wasn’t far from the truth...
I spend most of my day reading company reports, industry journals, and SEC filings. As an investor, these are the tools of the trade.
Over the past six months, I’ve been doing a deep dive into cancer therapies.
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I stumbled across one when I was looking at a biotech company that was working on a new therapy. The results were promising — very promising. So, I kept reading.
Each year, more than 13 million people discover that they have cancer. And close to 8 million people die from it each year.
A disease that keeps taking the lives of our loved ones. A disease that's as old as the pyramids...
Cancer Has Been Around
Cancer dates back to 3000 B.C. — to the time of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. It was then that an Egyptian textbook was written. The author of the text, known as the Edwin Smith Papyrus, describes eight cases of tumors.
The author also writes about removing these tumors with fire, basically burning them off. Because there was no way to put the patient to sleep (anesthesia wouldn’t be discovered until 1846 in Boston), it was extremely painful.
Ancient Egyptian “doctors” were successful in removing tumors but not in getting rid of the cancer. In more than 4,000 years, we’ve made advances. But just like in ancient times, there's no guarantee that the patient is actually cancer-free and that the cancer won’t come back.
Hippocrates, who lived 1,000 years later, is credited with giving cancer its name. He used the Greek word for crab, carcinos, to describe it, and it was later translated into Latin.
When Hippocrates first saw cancer, it had finger-like projections and looked like the shape of a crab.
Ancient physicians were at a huge loss. They didn’t understand why a person got cancer, and more importantly, they couldn’t figure out why it would spread.
Any surgical procedure would end up doing more harm than good. Surgery was extremely risky. Even though a tumor could be cut, poisoned, and burned, it still didn’t mean that a patient would end up being disease-free.
The patient would have a little more time to live but would still die from the disease spreading.
There was no fighting back — cancer was winning.
It would take until the 1800s and early 1900s for science to be able to punch back.
Cancer wasn’t on the ropes just yet, but its legs were starting to wobble...
Since then, hundreds of biotech and pharmaceutical companies across the globe have spent hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of hours researching, developing, and testing countless cancer treatments and drugs.
Many of these drugs have saved lives. Some have stopped cancer’s progression. And others have helped cancer patients live longer.
But there’s still no true cure...
But trust me when I say cancer is losing the battle.
I just returned from a research trip to Israel where I spent many hours talking with a pioneer in the fight against cancer.
It was truly amazing, and I’ll have my report ready for you next week, Thursday, December 21st.
All my best,
Founder, Park Avenue Digest
Charles cut his chops on the trading floor of the New York Futures Exchange before moving on to become a wildly successful money manager on Wall Street.
And with more than 35 years of recommending stocks under his belt, Charles has knocked the cover off the ball, compiling an amazing record of success and posting gain after gain for his loyal readers. He is the founder of Park Avenue Investment Club and the Insider Alert newsletters.
Charles is also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Getting Started in Value Investing.