For the last 60-70 years cancer and heart disease have been the top 2 killers in the United States. Alzheimer’s Disease just became #3 and sadly I don’t think it’s going anywhere any time soon (more on that in a future post). Looking at worldwide statistics heart disease is still #1 and cancer is #5. Anyone find that statistic interesting??? Let’s continue…
In 1971, President Nixon declared a “War on Cancer” and signed the National Cancer Act of 1971. Its aim was to eliminate cancer as a major cause of death in the U.S. by increasing funding for research, cancer treatments and drug therapies. Funding increased from mere millions to billions. What about prevention of cancer causes? Where was the funding for that?
Did the war on cancer prevail? Well, survival rates tracked up to 5 years post cancer treatment show 65% survival rates. A pretty drastic improvement compared to what it was in 1971. However, according to cancer.org, current cancer rates today are astonishing. They report current rates of cancer in the U.S. are 1 in 3 for women and 1 in to 2 for men. I think it’s fair to ask again, did the war on cancer work? What are survival rates after 5 years? What is the quality of life of that person who underwent surgery, or chemotherapy, or radiation, or all 3? Do they continuously live with pain and fatigue struggling with basic activities of daily living? Do they return to the same stressed, pro-inflammatory, poor eating and sleeping lifestyle habits that fueled the cancer fire before treatment? With cancer rates the way they are, it is virtually impossible to NOT know a close family member, or close friend who has been touched by cancer.
In 2008-2009 President Obama decides to reignite this war on cancer campaign because it is after all still the #1 cause of death in the U.S. some 40+ years later. In this same year, The President’s Cancer Panel publishes their annual report on the development and execution of the National Cancer Program. The President’s Cancer Panel was brought into existence in 1971 by The National Cancer Act and consists of a 3-person panel where 2 of the 3 members must be distinguished scientists or physicians. The topic of the 240 page report Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk What We Can Do Now can be seen here: http://deainfo.nci.nih.gov/advisory/pcp/annualReports/pcp08-09rpt/PCP_Report_08-09_508.pdf
Here are a couple of key quotes directly from the report:
“The panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.”
“People have the idea that they are being protected and that things that are harmful aren’t getting onto the market, but that’s probably wishful thinking.”
“The American people even before they are born are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.”
In May of 2010, Time magazine wrote up an article summarizing the 240-page report. You can find it here: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1989138,00.html
In it they summarized the top 10 cancer panel recommendations to help decrease your risk for cancer. You may find this very interesting…
Drink filtered tap water
Store food and water in glass, stainless steel or BPA and phthalate free containers
Minimize children’s exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disrupting chemicals
Choose fruits and vegetables grown without pesticides or chemical fertilizer; wash all produce to remove residues
Choose free range meat that has not been exposed to antibiotics or growth hormones
Minimize consumption of processed, charred or well done meats
Turn off lights and electrical devices when they’re not in use (EMF hypersensitivity??)
Drive a fuel efficient care; walk, bike or use public transportation
Check home radon levels
Reduce radiation exposure from cell phones and medical tests; avoid UV exposure
One has to ask themselves what kind of crap is in our tap water that can give you cancer… Am I right?!! How many of these environmental risk factors do you think President Obama responded to? How many do you suppose are ignored due to special interests like Monsanto’s GMO seeds and pesticide/herbicide products? How many of these topics are even discussed in medical or oncology circles?
Have you ever heard an oncology department recommend any of these diet and lifestyle changes to a friend or family member? Neither have I. Even after the 3 years my father-in-law spent going in and out of the Stanford Oncology Department the most dietary advice we got was eat more protein. The few times he was admitted into their hospital they did feed him some pretty tasty flan and putting. The only place that did recommend on diet and lifestyle changes was an alternative cancer treatment center he visited in Tijuana, Mexico. I didn’t have a chance visit it, but from what I heard it was an amazing top of the line medical facility with American trained medical doctors. The clinic was actually founded in the U.S. and was formerly known as The Hoxsey Clinic. They had a team of chefs cooking fresh healthy organic foods with lots of veggies and serving clean filtered water. Then advised on better food choices and cooking habits for the family to implement as additional treatment. What a novel idea of educating on diet and lifestyle changes to improve health outcomes. MIND BLOWN!
Fast forward to 2016. VP Joe Biden and President Obama propose The Cancer Moonshot of 2020. A coalition aimed at increasing funding to cancer research by more billions to develop vaccine based immunotherapies to combat cancer. Both have received much praise and support for this proposed coalition. Sounds quite a bit like Nixon’s “War on Cancer” from 1971 doesn’t it? So I ask again… What about prevention of cancer in the first place? How much of the proposed Cancer Moonshot is dedicated to educating the public on items 1-10 listed above? Why haven’t those been addressed and why do they continue to be ignored?
I once heard a saying, ” To know the future, one must study the past”… Or something like that. Not sure where I heard that, but this sure looks like history repeating itself. My outlook for future improvements in cancer rates is pretty bleak if we continue on this same path for another 40 years.