I totally agree. I guess because I owned a golden who died way too young from cancer and the vet who treated her cancer taught me alot about Goldens and cancer, I look at the risks differently now. Goldens are more prone to cancer then any other breed out there (recent years). I love goldens dearly and have owned both labs and goldens. The search for a golden today is such a different ballgame then years past - deposits on litters not even born yet, wait lists, questionnaires foe the buyers, just such a different experience.
How many years ago did you get your last golden puppy?
My feeling is that if you did not put down a deposit, fully vet breeders, get on a waitlist, questionnaires (or at least some form of those things) then perhaps you did not get a golden retriever from someone who was considered to be a reputable breeder who was breeding for health, longevity and adhering to the standard and following the CoE.
Was your golden AKC registered? Did your breeder do any health testing? Did you have a pedigree where you could trace back your dog's ancestors to see cause of death? Did you talk to your breeder back then about cancer in his/her lines? Did you neuter or spay early?
The Golden Retriever Club of American has been around since the 1930s, and although certainly the standard for quality breeders has evolved since then, there have always been breeders doing things the right way. Goldens have become SO popular today, that there are many dogs that are dying way too young of cancer among other things. When you take into account the number of backyard breeders, puppy mills or commercial kennels there are today...that number starts to make sense. The ratio of good to bad breeder is not equal.
My point is, acquiring a puppy today seems to be this extraneous process to some, but it is 2019. When you consider all of the things that a good breeder does to ensure that puppies and future generations are living long and healthy lives, it makes sense to pay that price for a truly well-bred dog with generations of health tests and longevity. When you purchase a puppy from a breeder who adheres to the CoE you significantly stack the odds of getting a healthy dog who will live a log life. No reputable breeder breeds without longevity in mind.
FWIW I had close friends who had two, male lab-golden mixes. They both died of cancer...which makes sense because both breeds are prone to cancer. One looked like a yellow lab, one looked like a golden and they were from the same parents so you never know what you are going to get.