How Conspiracy and Fraud
Sabotage the War on Cancer
A review of the new book by Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.,
released May 17, 2011
National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society:
Criminal Indifference to Cancer Prevention and Conflicts of Interest
In 1971 the American Cancer Society (ACS) aggressively promoted the “War Against Cancer” — running a full page ad in The New York Times declaring, “Mr. Nixon, You Can Cure Cancer”. President Nixon enthusiastically embraced the National Cancer Act, increased NCI’s budget from $150 to $220 million for the first year, and gave NCI broad new powers and independence.
But the NCI surrendered to the enemy before the war began. . .
The Case Against Detoxing
Why detoxing can actually make your body more toxic…Plus what to do instead to rid your body of pesticides, heavy metals, and other dangerous chemicals
You’ve probably heard that detoxing is good for your health. You’ve heard it can remove pesticides, heavy metals and chemicals from your body. You’ve heard that it can bolster your immune system and help support a healthy liver.
But here’s something you should know: Detoxing can actually make your body more toxic! That’s right, detoxing can actually make you sicker!
Forty years and tens of billions of dollars later, this war clearly has not been won. But why not — with all the resources that have been thrown at it?
Samuel S. Epstein, MD, professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois-School of Public Health, shows how conspiracy and fraud may have sabotaged the war on cancer. Just for the record, I met Dr. Epstein once, and he’s an extremely serious scholar and scientist. This isn’t tabloid stuff.
One of the NCI’s own poobahs dropped this bombshell — “The NCI has become what amounts to a government pharmaceutical company.” (From a 1998 Washington Post interview with Dr. Samuel Broder, NCI’s former Director, who then went on to become successive Chief Officer of two major cancer drug companies.)
Since 1971 the NCI and the ACS have reassured us again and again that the war is going well, with a blizzard of press releases, briefings, and media reports. They claim major progress in the war on cancer… including ‘miracle breakthroughs’ and promises (1984, 1986) that cancer mortality would be slashed in half by the year 2000.
But eleven years after that deadline, we’re much farther from winning the cancer war than when it was first declared… as proven by dramatic increases in childhood cancers and cancers that have no relation to smoking.
Take a look at these incidence rates for major cancers, 1975 – 2007. Male lung cancer is down, as you’d expect in view of the decrease in cigarette smoking. But there are shocking increases in other types of cancer…
|Childhood (ages 0-19)
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
Female Breast — Postmenopausal
Kidney and Renal Pelvis
Meanwhile, how are the generals faring in this war? Very well, thank you. NCI enjoys the benefit of 34 times as much of the taxpayers’ money — to the tune of $5.2 billion this year. Of course, some of that increase is from inflation. Adjusted for inflation, they’re getting almost six times as much money as they were getting in the last year before Nixon declared war on cancer.
What’s more, this “war” helps the ACS, a private charity, raise tens of millions in public donations.
After decades of highly publicized and misleading promises of progress, we’re still left with the sad reality…
We’re losing this war in a ROUT…
Dr. Epstein cites strong scientific evidence that the cancer epidemic is caused by exposure to industrial carcinogens in our environment — in our air, water, soil, workplaces and consumer products like food, toiletries, cosmetics and household products, and even common prescription drugs. Most of these toxins and pollutants could be avoided.
Says Dr. Richard Clapp, epidemiology professor at Boston University School of Public Health: “We have not begun to win the war on cancer. We have not even turned the corner. We have to move beyond the body count and begin to prevent exposures before they occur.”
Two reasons we’re being trounced in this war…
1. NCI and ACS focus their vast resources and medical-doctor mindsets on trying to treat cancer once it strikes, not on cancer prevention.
Case in point: the NCI allocates less than 3% of its budget to environmental causes of cancer, while the ACS allocates less than 0.1% toward the same. ACS, as you’ll see in a moment, devotes quite a bit of effort to DEFENDING carcinogens!
These cancer generals insist on a “damage-control” strategy, similar to treating wounded soldiers, instead of trying to halt the further advance of the enemy.
2. The cancer generals are in bed with special interests that either oppose policies that could prevent cancer, or treat prevention as a minor sideline.
For example, the ACS depends heavily on their big “Excalibur donors” — mostly made up of chemical companies opposed to regulating carcinogens and pharmaceutical companies seeking approval for their highly-touted “miracle” drugs.
Likewise, the NCI has incestuous relationships with cancer drug companies, evidenced by the Washington Post quote above, and more…
NCI’s revolving door with the cancer industry
From its beginning, the NCI stank up the place with conflicts of interest — more than space allows me to review here. A few examples will give you the idea:
1. The first chairman of Nixon’s 1971 NCI Executive Cancer Panel, Benno C. Schmidt, was an investment banker and senior drug company executive — with close ties to oil, steel, and chemical industries.
Following him in the 1980s was Armand Hammer, chairman of Occidental Petroleum — which was responsible for the Love Canal disaster.
2. Dr. Frank Rauscher, an initial NCI director, later resigned to become senior VP of ACS. In 1988, he became executive director of the Thermal Insulation Manufacturers Association — which fought regulation of carcinogenic fiberglass.
3. Board members of NCI’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1993 had extensive ties to cancer drug companies… plus oil, steel, fiberglass and tobacco — in addition to $4 million in institutional holdings in drug companies.
4. Dr. Vincent DeVita, NCI director (1980-1988) and Dr. John Mendelsohn, president of NCI’s University of Texas MD Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center, were consultants and board members of ImClone Systems Inc. — which was seeking FDA approval of its cancer drug, Erbitux. Neither DeVita nor Mendelsohn disclosed these interests in media interviews promoting the cancer drugs.
5. DeVita published an article, “The War on Cancer” in the Cancer Journal — of which he is co-editor — claiming major progress in cancer drug treatment (2002). But, he conveniently failed to disclose his commercial interests in these drugs in the article, or on his website CancerSource.com… contrary to the Journal’s disclaimer about no conflicts of interest…
6. Board members of the National Dialogue on Cancer (NDC) — a spinoff from ACS — included names with clearly vested interests in keeping the cancer industry alive… 100 representatives of the cancer drug industry, and Shandwick International PR, whose major clients include RJ Reynolds Tobacco Holdings.
Later, NDC hired Edelman — another tobacco PR firm — with Edelman’s pledge it would sever its industry ties. Edelman represents Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, the Altria Group (parent company of Philip Morris) — plus Kraft, and fast-food and beverage company giants.
Instead of severing its ties with the tobacco industry, it continued to fight tobacco control programs in the U.S. from its overseas operations.
7. With your tax money, NCI funded research for the cancer drug Taxol (Bristol-Myers). After expensive clinical trials, you, the taxpayer, paid again for developing its manufacturing process. And finally, NCI gave Bristol-Myers exclusive right to sell Taxol at the inflationary price of $5 per milligram — more than 20 times the cost of production.
8. And Taxol is not alone. We taxpayers made possible the government’s funding for over two-thirds of all cancer drugs now on the market.
9. Meanwhile, NCI effectively blocked all funding for R&D or clinical trials for promising nontoxic alternative cancer therapies.
Meanwhile, back to the ACS, the tail that wags the NCI dog…
Super strong ties to a harmful “diagnostic”…
The ACS is linked at the hip to the mammography industry. Epstein notes that ACS’s every move reflects the interests of mammogram machine and film manufacturers. No wonder the ACS continues to encourage mammography even though it’s now not recommended at all for pre-menopausal women!
The annual revenue to health care facilities would be a staggering $5 billion if every woman followed ACS/NCI mammography guidelines. Incredible!
The hyped-up National Breast Cancer Awareness Month…
Each October, the highly publicized National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) campaign uses funding from its sole sponsor, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, to get its message out. And just what is that message?
Well, a bit of background on Zeneca is revealing…
It’s a spin-off of UK’s Imperial Chemical Industries, one of world’s largest manufacturers of chlorine and other industrial chemicals, including those implicated as causes of breast cancer.
Zeneca is the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, the world’s top-selling breast cancer prevention drug ($400 million in annual sales). Interestingly, Zeneca also now directly manages 11 cancer centers in U.S. hospitals, and owns a 50% stake in these centers known as Salick Health Care.
For all practical purposes, they cause cancer, and then profit from cancer drugs and patient care centers…
ACS and NCI aggressively promote Tamoxifen. Zeneca is proclaimed on every NBCAM leaflet, poster, publication and commercial as its sole sponsor.
It’s a masterful PR coup for Zeneca — providing them with “goodwill” besides big money from millions of Americans.
Vicious attacks on the docs who push alternative choices…
The $12 billion cancer drug industry and ACS devote a large part of their energy and resources to ferocious attacks on their opponents.
The ACS’s Committee on Unproven Methods of Cancer Management periodically reviews alternative therapies. But its members are all advocates of expensive and usually toxic drugs — and opponents of alternative therapies.
They maintain what amounts to an official blacklist of non-approved cancer treatments. They claim — often falsely — that there’s no scientific evidence for these treatments, and they hand down their opinions as law to clinicians, their cheerleader science writers, and the public.
Once an oncologist is associated with “unproven methods” he or she is ousted by the cancer establishment. The poor heretic is denied all future funding — and then systematic harassment really gets started.
They conduct witch-hunts against alternative practitioners, in sharp contrast to their adoring, unquestioning endorsement of conventional chemotherapy.
And then there’s the pesticide industry…
In 1993, just before PBS Frontline aired a special report, “In Our Children’s Food,” the ACS launch a counter-attack in strong support of the pesticide industry. It trivialized pesticides as a cause of childhood cancers, and reassured the public that carcinogenic pesticide residues in food are safe — even for babies.
Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that ACS would rush to defend pesticides? Even assuming they’re right — and pesticides are nearly harmless — why is it at the top of their agenda to discredit a public television report about a substance that might cause cancer?
This is the same group that insists it’s a wonderful idea for women to get a mammogram every year that exposes them to massive amounts of cancer-causing radiation — all for a test that’s known to be inaccurate and nearly useless.
The ACS has also repeatedly failed to warn us about environmental toxins. A few examples:
1. They reassure women that dark hair dyes are safe, and trivialize the six studies that show a link to cancer.
2. They pressured the FDA to ease restrictions on silicone gel breast implants, which are clearly linked to cancer in several rodent studies and more…
3. They denied any risks of cancer from drinking genetically-engineered (rBGH) milk, despite strong scientific evidence linking it to breast, prostate and colon cancers.
4. Formaldehyde exposure has been associated with breast cancer deaths for years… Yet there’s no warning from a long-standing study showing cosmetics and personal care products may contain up to eight ingredients which are precursors to formaldehyde.
5. Even Nobel Laureate Harold Varmus, now NCI director, seems unaware of the nearly 700 carcinogens to which you are exposed every day.
6. The 2010 “President’s Panel” report suggests the true burden of environmentally caused cancer is grossly underestimated. Nearly 80,000 chemicals are now on the U.S. market and used regularly or daily. The panel listed a wide range of cancers caused by carcinogens — breast, kidney, leukemia, liver, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Disturbingly, NCI has failed to develop — let alone publicize — a registry of avoidable exposures to carcinogens… and has failed to respond to Congressional requests to create one — though they are required to by law (the National Cancer Act of 1971).
Do you see? NCI and ACS are largely devoted to defending the makers and sellers of chemicals that cause cancer!
Where your donations to this cancer charity really go
The ACS has an incredible fund-raising apparatus that would thrill any politician running for office.
Here’s what Dr. Epstein reveals about the wide reach of ACS wealth:
1. Besides public donations, ACS boasts more than 300 “Excalibur industry donors” — each donating a “mere” $100,000 every year… Drug-makers Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Eli Lilly, Amgen, Genentech, and Johnson & Johnson… polluters British Petroleum, DuPont, Akzo Nobel, Pennzoil, Concho Oil… And global cosmetic companies (that put carcinogens in their products) Elizabeth Arden, Revlon, Christian Dior and Givaudan.
Further, Edelman PR (major lobbyist for tobacco, fast food and beverage industries) handles all ACS legislative initiatives.
2. In 1988, the ACS had assets of more than $400 million — with $69 million in land, building, and equipment holdings. But ACS spent only $90 million on medical research and programs. Sixty percent of its budget went to generous salaries, pensions, executive benefits, and overhead.
3. One year later, ACS assets zoomed to $700 million.
4. In 1991, the public gave almost $350 million to the ACS — believing ACS was really helping fight cancer. This money came from donations averaging $3500, plus high-profile campaigns like the springtime daffodil sale and the May relay races.
5. The American Cancer Society Foundation was created in 1992 to solicit donations of over $100,000. Corporate execs from pharmaceutical, investment banking, and the media industries drove this forward — specifics are in the book.
It’s little wonder the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the nation’s premier charity watchdog, charged in 1993: “The ACS is more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives.”
Shockingly, less than16% of all the money raised directly supports cancer patients, i.e., driving them to/from chemo sessions or providing pain meds.
Most funds always have and still do pay overhead, salaries, fringe benefits, and travel expenses of ACS national executives… and its regional chief executive officers, some of whom earn six figures, plus hundreds of other workers in regional offices around the country.
Aside from high salaries and overhead, most of the rest of the budget goes to fund research on profitable patented cancer drugs.
By 1998, ACS had a $380 million budget.
Yet its fundraising campaign continued to plead poverty and lament the lack of money for cancer research.
At the same time, it does almost nothing to combat dangerous contaminants in our everyday lives.
And it’s still silent about its insider relationships with wealthy cancer drug, chemical, and other damaging industries.
Dr. Epstein overwhelmingly concludes there’s a clear link between losing the cancer war and the failure to control costs and save lives through prevention. Prevention is likely the easiest, most effective way to reduce the number of cancer cases and deaths. Cancer is not only one of the most costly and often fatal diseases — it’s also one of the most avoidable.
And the evidence is in…
The world’s largest “charity” squanders your hard-earned dollars… so you’d be well advised to deny them your dollars.
After all, money talks.
And if you’ve got cancer, you might be better off getting bitten by a poisonous snake! Well, not exactly. But there is a remarkable substance in snake venom that may hold out new hope for a cancer treatment. Scroll down and take a look. . .