If you get your news from ... well, the news, you'd be forgiven for thinking that human civilization is on a swift and violent free fall down the proverbial pooper. Hell, even the earth itself has had enough of our bullshit and is trying to get rid of us by messing with the thermostat, liked a pissed-off landlord.
Enlightened types have been talking about fixing this mess we're in for decades, but what have we got to show for it, other than a bunch of sappy songs and after-school specials? A whole lot, actually. As we like pointing out, there is good news happening these days; it's just that no one bothers giving it to you. For example, did you know that...
Fewer And Fewer People Are Dying Of Cancer
There's a whole industry built around tricking people into clicking on shady sites by telling them we finally found a cure for cancer, but let's face it: that's never gonna happen. What we call "cancer" is actually a collection of over a hundred related diseases, and nothing short of Harry Potter magic could get rid of them all. Might as well go back to injecting nicotine and snorting asbestos like we did in the '50s, everyone!
"How I've missed you, sweet nectar."
The Good News:
We haven't stopped cancer, but we're getting pretty good at taming the son of a bitch. Here's the cumulative number of people cancer has (and hasn't) killed since the '70s:
American Cancer Society
The red line represents the Mad Men universe.
Much like Clint Eastwood's characters, cancer has been getting dramatically less deadly in recent decades. Cancer deaths peaked in 1991 but had declined by 23 percent as of 2012, which translates to over 1.7 million Grim Reaper snubs. While some auxiliary cancer diagnoses are on the rise, actual deaths are down, especially in regards to the big four: breast, lung, prostate, and colorectal (yeah, a lot of things can go wrong up your butt).
So why the big change? Surely not all of that can be chalked up to the prolonged absence of the McRib. The boring answer: all those awareness campaigns and research fundraisers worked. Colorectal cancer deaths are on a 50 percent downswing due to a societal shift towards vigilant rectal care -- more men and women seeking colonoscopies, which can nip pre-cancerous polyps (literally) in the bud. Prostate cancer deaths, meanwhile, have dropped in half partially due to less stringent testing protocols, with many doctors ditching the types of tests that have a propensity for over-diagnosing friendly, transitory cancers that are best left to their own devices.
"See, your cancer really is a nice guy once you give him a chance."