APPENDIX B: PRESS RELEASES AND HUFFINGTON POST BLOGS
October 14, 1994 / Breast Cancer Unawareness Month
October 18, 1995 / National Mammography Day
April 1, 1998 / Cancer Report Card Gets A Failing Grade
August 25, 1998 / The Cancer Drug Industry 'March' Seriously Misleads The Nation
October 26, 1999 / American Cancer Society Indicted For Losing The Winnable War Against Cancer
May 30, 2000 / American Cancer Society: Long On Promise, Short On Delivery
June 12, 2001 / The American Cancer Society Is Threatening The National Cancer Program
May 9, 2002 / Escalating Incidence Of Childhood Cancer Is Ignored By The National Cancer Institute And American Cancer Society
February 25, 2003 / National Cancer Institute Leadership Is Out Of Touch With Reality
May 23, 2003 / The American Cancer Society Misleads The Public In The May 26 Discovery Health Channel Program
February 23, 2004 / Spinning The Losing Cancer War
February 28, 2005 / Time To Protect Babies From Dangerous Products
October 28, 2005 / The Look Good...Feel Better Program. But At What Risk?
October 16, 2007 / Breast Cancer Awareness Month Misleads Women
July 22, 2009 / Safe Breast Self Exam By Young Women Vs. Dangers Of Mammography
December 16, 2009 / Reckless Indifference Of The American Cancer Society To Cancer Prevention
May 7, 2010 / The American Cancer Society Trivializes Cancer Risks: Blatant Conflicts Of Interest
October 14, 1994
BREAST CANCER UNAWARENESS MONTH
Commenting on the anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness month (NBCAM), Dr. Samuel Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) stated, "A decade-old multi-million dollar deal between National Breast Cancer Awareness Month sponsors and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) has produced reckless misinformation on breast cancer." Dr. Epstein, a leading international authority on cancer causing effects of environmental pollutants, will be speaking on breast cancer prevention at a conference, "Women, Health, & the Environment" in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 14-15. It is sponsored by CPC, in conjunction with Greenpeace and Women's Environmental and Development Organization (WEDO).
Zeneca Pharmaceutical, a U.S. subsidiary and recent spinoff of ICI, has been the sole founder of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 1984. ICI is one of the largest manufacturers of petrochemical and chlorinated organic products, such as acetochlor and vinyl chloride, and the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, the world's top-selling cancer drug used for breast cancer. Financial sponsorship by Zeneca/ICI gives them editorial control over every leaflet, poster, publication, and commercial produced by NBCAM. NBCAM is promoted by the cancer establishment, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) with their corporate sponsors.
ICI has supported the NCI/ACS blame-the-victim theory of the causes of breast and other cancers. This theory attributes escalating cancer rates to heredity and faulty lifestyle, rather than avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens contaminating air, water, food, consumer products, and the workplace.
Dr. Epstein will summarize the evidence on avoidable environmental and other causes of breast cancer ignored in NBCAM promotional materials:
• Since the 1950's scientific evidence has incriminated chlorinated organic pesticides as breast cancer risk factors because of their carcinogenicity, estrogenic effects, and accumulation in body fat, particularly the breast.
• The unregulated use of growth promoting hormonal cattle feed additives has resulted in near universal contamination of meat products. This results in life-long exposure to carcinogenic estrogens, and poses a major avoidable risk of breast cancer.
• Where you work increases your breast cancer risks.Excess breast cancers were found in the 1970's in women working with vinyl chloride. There is similar evidence among petrochemical and electrical workers. In spite of more women working in such industries, NCI recently admitted that it has still not investigated these risks among working women.
• Where you live increases risks of breast cancer. Based on a review of 21 New Jersey counties, and more recently 339 nationwide counties, statistically significant associations were found between excess breast cancer mortality and residence in counties where hazardous waste sites are located.
• Living near a nuclear facility increases your chances of dying from breast cancer. Based on a nationwide survey of 268 counties within 50 miles of 51 military and civilian nuclear reactors, CPC member Dr. Jay Gould, showed that breast cancer mortality in these "nuclear counties" has increased at 10 times the national rate from 1950 to 1989. Counties near military reactors, such as Hanford, Oak Ridge and Savannah River, have registered the greatest increases, ranging from 27 to 200%. Dr. Gould charged NCI with "misrepresentation of such findings."
• Premenopausal mammography increases your risk of breast cancer. Increases in breast cancer mortality have been consistently reported following repeated mammograms in younger women in six randomized controlled clinical trials over the last decade. Based on this evidence, NCI has recently withdrawn recommendations for pre-menopausal mammography. ACS, with financial support from Dupont and General Electric (both heavily invested in mammography equipment), and self-interested radiologists are still promoting this dangerous practice.
• Participation in the 1972 NCI/ACS reckless, high dose mammography experiments has increased breast cancer risks for the 400,000 women involved.
• Breast implants, particularly polyurethane foam, pose serious risks of breast cancer. Evidence on the carcinogenicity of polyurethane foam dates back to the early 1960's. One breakdown product of polyurethane is 2,4-toluenediamine which was removed from hair dyes in 1971 following discovery of its carcinogenicity. Frank admission of these risks are found in internal NCI, FDA and industry documents.
• The Tamoxifen "chemoprevention" trial is a travesty! Since 1992, the cancer establishment recruited 16,000 healthy women in a Tamoxifen "chemoprevention" trial. NCI and ACS claimed in their patient consent forms that Tamoxifen could substantially reduce breast cancer risks, while trivializing risks of drug complications. There is strong evidence of Tamoxifen's toxicity, including high risks of uterine, gastrointestinal and fatal liver cancer. "This trial is scientifically and ethically reckless, and participating institutions and clinicians are at serious risk of future malpractice claims," warned Dr. Epstein.
"The ICI/NBCAM public relations campaign has prevented women from knowing of avoidable causes of breast cancer," concluded Dr. Epstein.
October 18, 1995
NATIONAL MAMMOGRAPHY DAY
Commenting on tomorrow's National Mammography Day, Dr. Samuel Epstein, Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC), charged that "this is a recklessly misleading and self-interested promotional event, more aptly named NATIONAL MAMMOSCAM DAY."
National Mammography Day, October 19, is the flagship of October's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). NBCAM was conceived and funded in 1984 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) and its U.S. subsidiary and spinoff Zeneca Pharmaceuticals. NBCAM is a multimillion-dollar deal with the cancer establishment, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Cancer Society (ACS) and its multiple corporate sponsors, and the American College of Radiology.
ICI is one of the largest manufacturers of petrochemical and organochlorines, and Zeneca is the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, the world's top selling cancer drug widely used for breast cancer. Zeneca/ICI's financial sponsorship gives them control over every leaflet, poster, publication, and commercial produced by NBCAM.
ICI supports the NBCAM blame-the-victim theory of cancer causation, which attributes escalating rates of breast (and other) cancers to heredity and faulty lifestyle. This theory diverts attention away from avoidable exposures to carcinogenic industrial contaminants of air, water, food, consumer products, and the workplace—the same products which ICI has manufactured for decades. Ignoring prevention of breast cancer, NBCAM promotes "early" detection by mammography.
There are a wide range of serious problems with mammography, particularly with premenopausal women:
• There is no evidence of the effectiveness or benefit of mammography in pre-menopausal women.
• By the time breast cancers can be detected by mammography, they are up to 8 years old. By then, some will have spread to local lymph nodes or to distant organs, especially in younger women.
• Missed cancers (false negatives) are commonplace among younger women, as their dense breast tissues limit penetration by x-rays.
• About 1 in every 4 "tumors" identified by mammography in pre-menopausal women turns out not to be cancer following biopsy (false positive). Apart from needless anxiety, repeated surgery can result in scarring, and delayed identification of early cancer that may subsequently develop.
• Regular mammography of younger women increases their cancer risks, particularly for women already at risk for familial reasons. Analysis of controlled trials over the last decade, has shown consistent increases in breast cancer mortality within a few years of commencing screening. This confirms evidence on the high sensitivity of the pre-menopausal breast, and on cumulative carcinogenic effects of radiation.
• Pre-menopausal women carrying the A-T gene, about 1.5 percent of women, are more radiation sensitive and at higher cancer risk from mammography. It has been estimated that up to 10,000 breast cancer cases each year are due to mammography of A-T carriers.
• Radiation, particularly from repeated pre-menopausal mammography, is likely to interact additively or synergistically with other avoidable causes of breast cancer, particularly estrogens (natural; medical; contaminants of meat from cattle feed additives; and estrogenic pesticides).
• Forceful compression of the breast during mammography, particularly in younger women, may cause the spread of small undetected cancers.
Pressured by this evidence on the ineffectiveness and risks of pre-menopausal mammography, NCI recently withdrew recommendations for such screening. This evidence is still ignored by NBCAM, supported by radiologists and giant mammography machine and film corporations, which has specifically targeted pre-menopausal women with high-pressured advertisements.
CPC urges the immediate phase-out of pre-menopausal mammography. Post-menopausal mammography should be restricted to major centers and exposure reduced to a minimum. Women should be provided with actual close measurements, rather than estimates. NCI and ACS should develop large-scale use of safe screening alternatives, including imaging techniques, and blood or urine tumor markers or immunologic tests.
A medical alert should be sent to women subjected to the Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project high dose radiation experiments commencing in 1972. These experiments were conducted in spite of explicit prior warnings by a National Academy of Sciences committee, and also by former senior NCI staffer, and noted epidemiologist, Dr. John Bailar. He cautioned, "Such radiation in pre-menopausal women would be likely to cause more breast cancers than could be detected." Dr. Bailar now concludes, "This experiment could well account for an "immediate investigation of the cancer establishment's reckless conduct by the President's Committee on Human Radiation Experiments."
April 1, 1998
CANCER REPORT CARD GETS A FAILING GRADE
At a highly publicized March 12, 1998, Washington, DC press briefing, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Cancer Society (the cancer establishment), together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released a "Report Card" announcing the recent reversal of "an almost 20-year trend of increasing cancer cases and death," as detailed in the March 15 issue of the journal Cancer. "These numbers are the first proof that we are on the right track," enthused NCI director Dr. Richard Klausner. This news received extensive and uncritical nation-wide media coverage.
These claims were based on a comparison between NCI’s published statistics for 1973- 1990 and 1973-1995. However, the more recent information remains unpublished and, according to senior NCI statistician Dr. Lynn Ries, is still being analyzed. More importantly, a critical review of the Cancer publication is hardly reassuring. The claimed reversal in overall mortality rates is not only minimal but exaggerated. It is largely due to a reduction in lung cancer deaths from smoking in men, reflecting personal lifestyle choices, and to improved access to health care rather than to any improvements in treatment and survival rates. Additionally, any true decline would be considerably less if the mortality rates were appropriately based on the current age distribution of the U.S. population, rather than that of 1970, with its relatively higher representation of younger age groups, as misleadingly calculated by NCI. These criticisms are in general consistent with those detailed in a May 1997 New England Journal of Medicine article, "Cancer Undefeated," by former NCI epidemiologist Dr. John Bailar.
The claimed reversal in the incidence of cancers of "all sites" is minimal and statistically insignificant, as are similar claims for leukemia and prostate cancer. Even this minimal reduction of prostate cancer is highly questionable as admitted by Report Card authors: "The decreased incidence rates [of prostate cancer] may be the result of decreased utilization of PSA [prostate specific antigen] screening tests . . . during the early 1990’s." While there were significant reductions in the incidence of lung, colon/rectum and bladder cancers, there were significant and sharp increases in uterine cancer, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Moreover, there was no decline in breast cancer rates, which remain unchanged at their current high level. Curiously, no reference at all was made to testicular cancer in young adults nor to childhood cancer, whose rates have dramatically increased in recent decades.
The Report Card apart, there are disturbing questions on the reliability of NCI’s incidence statistics. This is well illustrated by wild reported variations since 1973 for the percent changes in the incidence of childhood cancer:
1973-1980 / +21%
1973-1989 / +10%
1973-1990 / +1%
1973-1991 / -8%
1973-1994 / +31%
The Report Card’s optimistic and misleading assurances, the latest in a series of smoke and mirror break-through since 1971 when President Nixon launched the "War Against Cancer," are designed to divert attention from the escalating incidence of cancer, which has reached epidemic proportions. Cancer now strikes 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women, up from an incidence of 1 in 4 a few decades ago. Meanwhile, our ability to treat and cure most cancer, apart from relatively infrequent cancers particularly those of children, remains virtually unchanged. The Report Card is also designed to neutralize criticism of NCI’s intransigent fixation on diagnosis, treatment, and basic genetic research, coupled with indifference to prevention, which receives minimal priorities and resources—less than 5% of NCI’s budget. Further illustrative is the fact that NCI has never testified before Congress or regulatory agencies on the substantial published evidence on the wide range of carcinogenic industrial contaminants of air, water, the workplace, and consumer products—food, household products, and cosmetics—and on the need to prevent such avoidable and involuntary exposures. Nor has NCI recognized the public’s right-to-know of such critical information, which plays a major role in escalating cancer rates, nor have they developed community outreach prevention programs. Finally, the Report Card is designed to further buttress aggressive lobbying by the cancer establishment and cancer drug industry for a major increase in NCI’s budget from the current $2.6 billion, up from $223 million in 1971, to the requested $3.2 billion in 1999.
Rather than increasing NCI’s bloated budget, drastic reforms are needed to explicitly reorient its mission and priorities to cancer causes and prevention.
August 25, 1998
THE CANCER DRUG INDUSTRY 'MARCH' SERIOUSLY MISLEADS THE NATION
On September 25 and 26, the cancer drug industry will hold the "March," led by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere in the nation, under a banner promising "Research Cures Cancer". Well-meaning but misled citizens will march for a seemingly important crusade which, in reality, promotes enormous profits for the pharmaceutical industry.
Funded with over $3 million by multibillion dollar cancer drug industries — including the global giants Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eli Lilly, Pharmacia & Upjohn — with support from main stream cancer survivor groups, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and, behind the scenes, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the goal of the "March" is to mobilize grass roots backing for doubling NCI's current budget from $2.6 billion to over $5 billion by 2003.
This is déjà vu all over again. In a full-page December 9, 1969 New York Times advertisement entitled "MR. NIXON, YOU CAN CURE CANCER," paid for by the "Citizens' Committee for the Conquest of Cancer" whose leaders represented the cancer establishment, the public and government were exhorted: "We are so close to a cure for cancer. We lack only the will and the kind of money and comprehensive planning that went into putting a man on the moon. — Why don't we try to conquer cancer by America's 200th birthday." Responding to these misleading assurances, in December 1971, President Nixon was duped into declaring the "War Against Cancer" and sharply increasing NCI's budget.
Some $25 billion and 25 years later, there has been little if any significant improvement in treatment and survival rates for most common cancers in spite of contrary misleading hype by the cancer establishment and periodic claims for the latest miracle cancer drugs, claims which rarely have been substantiated. Meanwhile, the incidence of cancer, particularly non-smoking cancers, has escalated to epidemic proportions with lifetime cancer risks now approaching one in two.
The reason for losing the war against cancer is not a shortage of funds but their gross misallocation. NCI and ACS remain myopically fixated on damage control — diagnosis and treatment — and basic genetic research with, not always benign, indifference to cancer prevention. The establishment has trivialized escalating cancer rates and explained them away as due to faulty lifestyle, to the virtual exclusion of the major role of unwitting and avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens in air, water, consumer products -- food, cosmetics and toiletries, and household products -- and the workplace. NCI and ACS have devoted the most minimal resources and priorities to research on such avoidable causes of cancer, failed to warn the public of these avoidable risks, and failed to provide Congress and regulatory agencies with available scientific information which would allow development of corrective legislative and regulatory action. Responding to recent criticisms, NCI has defensively claimed $1 billion expenditures for cancer prevention. However, more realistic estimates are well under $100 million, less than 3% of NCI's total budget.
Cancer establishment policies are strongly influenced by pervasive interlocking relationships and conflicts of interest with the cancer drug industry. With taxpayers' money, NCI funded the R & D for the anticancer drug Taxol manufactured by Bristol-Myers. Following completion of expensive clinical trials, the public paid further for developing the drug's manufacturing process. Once completed, NCI gave this industry exclusive right to sell Taxol at an inflationary price, about $5 per milligram, over 20 times the cost of production.
Taxol is not an isolated example. Taxpayers have funded NCI's R & D for over two-thirds of all cancer drugs now on the market. In a surprisingly frank admission, Samuel Broder, NCI director from 1989 to 1995, stated the obvious: "The NCI has become what amounts to a government pharmaceutical company." It should further be noted that the U.S. spends about five times more on chemotherapy per patient than Great Britain, although this is not matched by any difference in survival rates.
Not surprisingly, with enthusiastic support from the ACS, NCI has effectively blocked funding for research and clinical trials on promising non-toxic alternative cancer therapies in favor of highly toxic and largely ineffective patented drugs developed by the cancer drug industry. Additionally, the cancer establishment has systematically harassed the proponents of alternative cancer treatment.
These basic criticisms of cancer establishment policies and deceptive practices, with particular reference to minimal prevention priorities, were strongly endorsed in a February 1992 statement by a group of 65 leading national experts in public health and cancer prevention, including past directors of federal agencies, who urged drastic reforms of NCI policies and that funding for cancer prevention should be increased to equal that for all other NCI programs combined. This was followed in 1995 by a warning from 15 public interest organizations, representing some 5 million Americans, of the misleading industry-sponsored "Research Cures Cancer" campaign, and a recommendation that NCI be held accountable for its failed policies in losing the war against cancer.
Rather than increasing NCI's budget, it should be frozen and held hostage to urgent needs for drastic monitored reforms directed to major emphasis on cancer prevention rather than damage control. Furthermore, Congress should subject the cancer establishment/drug industry complex to detailed investigation and ongoing scrutiny.
October 26, 1999
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY INDICTED FOR LOSING THE WINNABLE WAR AGAINST CANCER
An article, "American Cancer Society: The World's Wealthiest 'Non-Profit' Institution," by Dr. Samuel Epstein, just published in the International Journal of Health Services, the leading international public health and policy journal, charges that the American Cancer Society (ACS) "is fixated on damage control...diagnosis and treatment...and basic molecular biology, with indifference or even hostility to cancer prevention." ACS also trivializes the escalating incidence of cancer which has reached epidemic proportions and makes grossly misleading claims on dramatic progress in the treatment and cure of cancer. This myopic mindset and derelict policy is compounded by interlocking conflicts of interests with the cancer drug, agrichemical, and other industries. The following is illustrative:
• Since 1982, the ACS has adopted a highly restrictive policy insisting on unequivocal human evidence on carcinogenicity before taking any position on cancer risks. Accordingly, the ACS has actively campaigned against the 1958 Delaney law banning the deliberate addition to food of any amount of chemical additive shown to induce cancer, even in well-validated federal animal tests.
• In a joint 1992 statement with the Chlorine Institute, the ACS supported the continued use of organochlorine pesticides in spite of their recognized environmental persistence and carcinogenicity.
• In 1993, just before PBS Frontline aired the special entitled "In Our Children's Food," the ACS sent a memorandum in support of the pesticide industry to some 48 regional divisions which preemptively trivialized pesticides as a cause of childhood cancer and reassured the public that residues of carcinogenic pesticide in food are safe, even for babies.
• In Cancer Facts & Figures, the ACS annual publication designed to provide the public with "basic facts" on cancer, there is little or no mention of prevention. Examples include no mention of: dusting the genital area with talc as a known cause of ovarian cancer; parental exposure to occupational carcinogens, domestic use of pesticides, or frequent consumption of nitrite colored hot dogs (resultantly contaminated with carcinogenic nitrosamines) as major causes of childhood cancer; and prolonged use of oral contraceptives or hormonal replacement therapy as major causes of breast cancer. Fact & Figures, 1997, also misrepresented that "since women may not be able to alter their personal risk factors, the best opportunity for reducing mortality is early detection." This statement ignores overwhelming evidence on a wide range of ways by which women of all ages can reduce their risks of breast cancer, including regular use of the cheap non-prescription drug aspirin.
• The ACS, together with the National Cancer Institute, has strongly promoted the use of Tamoxifen, the world's top-selling cancer drug ($400 million annually) manufactured by Zeneca, for allegedly preventing breast cancer in healthy women, evidence for which is highly arguable at best. More seriously, ACS has trivialized the dangerous and sometimes lethal complications of Tamoxifen including blood clots, lung embolism, and aggressive uterine cancer, and fails to warn that the drug is a highly potent liver carcinogen.
Conflicts of interest are further reflected in the ACS Foundation Board of Trustees which includes corporate executives from the pharmaceutical, cancer drug, investment, and media industries. They include David R. Bethume, president of Lederle laboratories, Gordon Binder, CEO of Amgen (a leading biotech cancer drug company), and Sumner M. Redstone, chairman of the Board of Viacom, Inc.
Other concerns relate to the "non-profit status" of the ACS whose annual budget is some $500 million. Most funds raised go to pay high overhead, salaries fringe benefits, and travel expenses of national executives in Atlanta, CEO's who ear six-figure salaries in several states, and hundreds of other employees working in some 3000 regional offices. Less than 16% of all monies raised are spent on direct patient services; salaries and overhead for most ACS affiliates exceed 50%, although most direct community services are handled by unpaid volunteers. While ACS cash assets and reserves approach $1 billion, it continues to plead poverty and lament the lack of funds for cancer research. Not surprisingly and as reported in the Chronicle of Philanthropy, the leading U.S. charity watchdog, the ACS is "more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives." It should further be noted that the ACS uses 10 employees and spends $1 million a year on direct lobbying, and is the only known charity that makes contributions to political parties.
Based on these considerations, the International Journal of Health Services article urged that, in the absence of drastic reforms, contributions to the ACS should be diverted to public interest and environmental group directly involved in cancer prevention. This is the only message that this "charity" can no longer ignore.
May 30, 2000
AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY: LONG ON PROMISE, SHORT ON DELIVERY
The American Cancer Society (ACS) claims to be dedicated to "preventing cancer and saving lives -- through research education, advocacy, and service." What could be more worthy objectives, especially in view of the escalating incidence of cancer, with lifetime cancer risks now reaching one in two men and one in three for women?
Unfortunately, the ACS fails to meet its objectives. Instead, the charity is accumulating great wealth, with $900 million reserves in cash, real estate and other assets. Most of its funds come from public donations of under $100. Additional funding is provided by bequests and high profile fundraising events, such as the springtime daffodil sale and relay races.
In 1998, the society spent about $150 million on "Supporting Services," overhead, salaries in the $300,000 range, benefits and travel for national executives in Atlanta, fundraising, and public relations. Typical ACS affiliates, which raise national funds, spend over half of their budgets on salaries, pensions, fringe benefits and overhead, with under 16 percent on direct community services, most of which are handled by unpaid volunteers. Meanwhile, five of the society's division executives received salaries of about $230,000.
As the ACS purse grows, its spending on research and other programs remains low. While the 1998 budget report gives the clear impression that generous resources are allocated to its four "Program Services," they receive under 50 percent of its budget, as follows: "Research on the causes, cure and prevention of cancer," $91 million; "Prevention programs that provide the public and professionals with information on how to reduce risks of developing cancer," $80 million; "Detection/Treatment" programs, $59 million; and "Patient Services" programs, $77 million.
Responding to recent well-documented criticism of not always benign indifference to cancer prevention, the ACS claims that it funded 19 large research grants in 1998 on "Environmental Carcinogenesis" at a cost of $2.6 million. However, only two grants funded for $330,000, could reasonably qualify as environmental cancer research, while virtually all other were in the unrelated field of molecular biology. The ACS also claims that it funded 92 "Prevention" grants with $23 million, while these also largely dealt with molecular biology research. Tobacco related programs accounted for only $1.3 million, while research on diet per se, excluding any consideration of contamination with carcinogenic pesticides, accounted for $1.1 million. In fact, analysis of its $2.6 million carcinogenesis programs reveals that expenditures on environmental, occupational, and industrial causes of cancer totaled $1 million, well under 1 percent of its annual budget.
More than anything else, the society seems scared of becoming just another face in the crowd of cancer interests in Washington. Thus, in 1998, Linda Hay Crawford, then vice president for governmental relations, admitted to the Associated press that the society had used 10 employees for direct lobbying at costs approaching $1 million. "Lobbying" also including $30,000 donations, equitably balanced between Democratic and Republican governor's associations. "We wanted to look like players and be players," Crawford explained to AP.
This practice, however, has been sharply challenged. The AP story quoted the national Charities Information Bureau as stating that it "does not know of any other charity that makes contributions to political parties." The director of the IRS Exempt Organization Division, Marcus Owens, warned that: "The bottom line is, campaign contributions will jeopardize a charity's exempt status." Other troubling misallocations on the national political scene include hiring public relations firms that also represent tobacco clients. Recently, the society had to discontinue its association with two such firms: Shandwick International and Edelman Public Relations.
In an effort to dominate the national cancer agenda, nearly two years ago, ACS recruited former President George Bush to run a curious political structure called the National Dialogue on Cancer. This was recently followed by a related closed door ACS initiative to rewrite the 1971 National Cancer Act by an "Independent Advisory Committee," sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). Shunned by many major patient advocacy groups, the National Cancer Institute and professional oncologists, and with strong protests by cancer prevention groups, the future of the ACS-Feinstein initiative, seems questionable. More pointedly, John Durant, former executive vice president of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, charged in the January 21, 2000 Cancer Letter, a respected trade publication, that the underlying motivation for these initiatives "was an issue of control by the ACS over the cancer agenda. They are protecting their fundraising capacity."
Based on an analysis of ACS budgets and programs, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the leading charity watchdog, published a statement that the ACS is "more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives." Donors wanting to make contributions to a worthy cancer charity should think twice before selecting the ACS.
June 12, 2001
THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY IS THREATENING THE NATIONAL CANCER PROGRAM
Operating behind closed doors and with powerful political connections, Dr. Samuel Epstein, charges the American Cancer Society (ACS) with forging a questionably legal alliance with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in attempts to hijack the National Cancer Program. The ACS is also charged with virtual neglect of cancer prevention.
Dr. Quentin Young, warns: "The ACS political agenda reveals a pattern of self interest, conflicts of interest, lack of accountability and non-transparency to all of which the media have responded with deafening silence".
Among their concerns:
• The National Cancer Act, the cornerstone of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) war on cancer, is under powerful attack by the ACS, the world's largest non-religious "charity". The plan was hatched in September 1998 when, meeting behind closed doors, the ACS created a "National Dialogue on Cancer" (NDC), co-chaired by former President Bush and Barbara Bush, with representatives from the CDC, the giant cancer drug industry, and Collaborating Partners from survivor advocacy groups. The NDC leadership then unilaterally spun off a National Cancer Legislative Committee, co-chaired by Dr. John Seffrin, CEO of the ACS and Dr. Vincent DeVita, Director of the Yale Cancer Center and former NCI Director, to advise Congress on re-writing the National Cancer Act.
• The relationships between the ACS, NDC and its Legislative Committee raise questions on conflicts of interest. John Durant, former executive president of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, charged: "It has always seemed to me that this was an issue of control by the ACS over the cancer agenda--. They are protecting their own fundraising capacity" from competition by survivor groups.
• The ACS-CDC relationship is focused on diverting political emphasis and funds away from NCI's peer-reviewed scientific research to CDC's community programs, which center on community screening, behavioral intervention, and tobacco cessation rather than prevention.
• There are major concerns on interlocking ACS-CDC interests. CDC has improperly funded ACS with a $3 million sole source four-year cooperative agreement. In turn, ACS has made strong efforts to upgrade CDC's role in the National Cancer Program, increase appropriations for CDC's non-peer reviewed programs, and facilitate its access to tobacco litigation money.
• The ACS priority for tobacco cessation programs is inconsistent with its strong ties to the industry. Shandwick International, representing R.J. Reynolds, and Edelman, representing Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company, have been major PR firms for the NDC and its Legislative Committee.
• ACS has made questionably legal contributions to Democratic and Republican Governors' Associations. "We wanted to look like players and be players", ACS explained.
• DeVita, the Legislative Committee co-chair, is also chairman of the Medical Advisory Board of CancerSource.com, a website launched by Jones & Bartlett which publishes the ACS Consumer's Guide to Cancer Drugs; three other members of the Committee also serve on the board. DeVita thus appears to be developing his business interests in a publicly-funded forum.
• The ACS has a longstanding track record of indifference and even hostility to cancer prevention. This is particularly disturbing in view of the escalating incidence of cancer now striking one in two men and one in three women in their lifetimes. Recent examples include issuing a joint statement with the Chlorine Institute justifying the continued global use of persistent organochlorine pesticides, and also supporting the industry in trivializing dietary pesticide residues as avoidable risks of childhood cancer. ACS policies are further exemplified by allocating under 0.1 percent of its $700 million annual budget to environmental and occupational causes of cancer.
These considerations clearly disqualify the ACS from any leadership role in the National Cancer Program. The public should be encouraged to redirect funding away from the ACS to cancer prevention advocacy groups. ACS conduct, particularly its political lobbying and relationship to CDC, should be investigated by Congressional Appropriations and Oversight committees. These committees should also recommend that the National Cancer Program direct the highest priority to cancer prevention.
Co-Author Of This Release
Quentin D. Young, M.D.
Chairman of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group
Past President of American Public Health Association
May 9, 2002
ESCALATING INCIDENCE OF CHILDHOOD CANCER IS IGNORED BY THE NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE AND AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY
Since passage of the 1971 National Cancer Act, launching the "War Against Cancer," the incidence of childhood cancer has steadily escalated to alarming levels. Childhood cancers have increased by 26% overall, while the incidence of particular cancers has increased still more: acute lymphocytic leukemia, 62%; brain cancer, 50%; and bone cancer, 40%. The federal National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the "charitable" American Cancer Society (ACS), the cancer establishment, have failed to inform the public, let alone Congress and regulatory agencies, of this alarming information. As importantly, they have failed to publicize well-documented scientific information on avoidable causes responsible for the increased incidence of childhood cancer. Examples include:
• Over 20 U.S. and international studies have incriminated paternal and maternal exposures (pre-conception, during conception and post-conception) to a wide range of occupational carcinogens as major causes of childhood cancer.
• There is substantial evidence on the risks of brain cancer and leukemia in children from frequent consumption of nitrite-dyed hot dogs; consumption during pregnancy has been similarly incriminated. Nitrites, added to meat for coloring purposes, have been shown to react with natural chemicals in meat (amines) to form a potent carcinogenic nitrosamine.
• Consumption of non-organic fruits and vegetables, particularly in baby food, contaminated with high concentrations of multiple residues of carcinogenic pesticides, poses major risks of childhood cancer, besides delayed cancers in adult life.
• Numerous studies have shown strong associations between childhood cancers, particularly brain cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and leukemia, and domestic exposure to pesticides from uses in the home, including pet flea collars, lawn and garden; another major source of exposure is commonplace use in schools.
• Use of lindane, a potent carcinogen in shampoos for treating lice and scabies, infesting about six million children annually, is associated with major risks of brain cancer; lindane is readily absorbed through the skin.
• Treatment of children with Ritalin for "Attention Deficit Disorders" poses risks of cancer, in the absence of informed parental consent. Ritalin has been shown to induce highly aggressive rare liver cancers in rodents at doses comparable to those prescribed to children.
• Maternal exposure to ionizing radiation, especially in late pregnancy, is strongly associated with excess risks of childhood leukemia.
It is of particular significance that the cancer establishment ignored the continuing increase in the incidence of childhood cancer in its heavily promoted, but highly arguable, March 1998 "claim to have reversed an almost 20-year trend of increasing cancer cases."
The failure of the cancer establishment to warn of these avoidable cancer risks reflects mindsets fixated on damage control — screening, diagnosis, and treatment — and basic genetic research, with indifference to primary prevention, as defined by research and public education on avoidable causes of cancer. For the ACS, this indifference extends to a well-documented longstanding track record of hostility, such as supporting the Chlorine Institute in defending the continued global use of chlorinated organic pesticides, and Assurances in the 2002 Cancer Facts and Figures that cancer risks from dietary Pesticides and ionizing radiation are all at such low levels as to be "negligible." This indifference to primary prevention is compounded by conflicts of interest, particularly with the giant cancer drug industry. Not surprisingly, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the nation's leading charity watchdog, published a statement that: "The ACS is more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives."
The minimal priorities of the cancer establishment for prevention reflects mindsets and policies and not lack of resources. NCI's annual budget has increased some 20-fold since passage of the 1971 Act, from $220 million to $4.2 billion, while revenues of the ACS are now about $800 million. NCI expenditures on primary prevention have been estimated as under 4% of its budget, while ACS allocates less than 0.1% of its revenues to primary prevention and "environmental carcinogenesis."
It should be particularly stressed that fetuses, infants and children are much more vulnerable and sensitive to toxic and carcinogenic exposures than are adults. It should also be recognized that the majority of carcinogens also induce other chronic toxic effects, especially in fetuses, infants and children. These include endocrine disruptive and reproductive, hematological, immunological and genetic, for which there are no available incidence trend data comparable to those for cancer.
The continued silence of the cancer establishment on avoidable causes of childhood, besides a wide range of other, cancers is in flagrant denial of the specific charge of the 1971 National Cancer Act "to disseminate cancer information to the public." As seriously, this silence is a denial of the public's inalienable democratic right-to-know of information directly impacting on their health and lives, and of their right to influence public policy.
Whether against cancer or terrorism, war is best fought by preemptive strategies based on prevention rather than reactively on damage control. As importantly, the war against cancer must be waged by leadership accountable to the public interest and not, as is still the case, special agenda private interests. The time for open public debate on national cancer policy is long overdue.
Co-Author Of This Release
Quentin D. Young, M.D.
Chairman of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group
Past President of American Public Health Association
February 25, 2003
NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE LEADERSHIP IS OUT OF TOUCH WITH REALITY
In a speech to an advisory board, the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) pledged to eliminate "the suffering and death" from cancer by 2015.
NCI Director Andrew von Eschenbach in a Feb. 11 speech to the National Cancer Advisory Board stated: "I have set out . . . a challenge goal that shapes our mission and shapes our vision . . . to eliminate the suffering and death due to cancer, and to do it by 2015."
Dr. von Eschenbach's goal is irresponsible and unrealistic, said Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition. "What is the possible scientific basis for such claims?" Epstein asked. "Does Dr. von Eschenbach know something no one else knows? Is he familiar with the NCI data on incidence and mortality? What great advances or breakthroughs does he know, of which no one else is aware? Has he been talking with God?"
Since 1971, the overall incidence of cancer has escalated to epidemic proportions, now striking about 1.3 million and killing about 550,000 annually; nearly one in two men and more than one in three women now develop cancer in their lifetimes. While smoking is unquestionably the single largest cause of cancer, the incidence of lung cancer in men has declined sharply. In striking contrast, there have been major increases in the incidence of a wide range of non-smoking cancers in men and women, and also of childhood cancers.
The current cancer epidemic does not reflect lack of resources. Paradoxically, NCI's escalating budget is paralleled by the escalating incidence of cancer. Since 1971, NCI's budget has increased approximately 30-fold, from $220 million to $4.6 billion.
According to the Cancer Prevention Coalition, the fundamental reason why we are losing the winnable war against cancer is because NCI's mindset is fixated on damage control-screening, diagnosis, and treatment-and basic research. This is coupled with indifference to preventing a wide range of avoidable exposures to industrial carcinogens, contaminating the totality of the environment -- air, water, and soil -- the workplace, and consumer products -- food, cosmetics and toiletries and household products. This denial of the public's right-to-know of such avoidable cancer risks is in contrast to NCI's stream of press releases, briefings, and media reports claiming the latest advances in treatment and basic research.
The silence of the NCI, besides the American Cancer Society (ACS), on avoidable causes of cancer has tacitly encouraged corporate polluters and industries to continue manufacturing and marketing carcinogenic products. This silence also violates amendments of the National Cancer Act, calling for "an expanded and intensified research program for the prevention of cancer caused by occupational or environmental exposure to carcinogens."
Nevertheless, NCI's prevention policies are virtually restricted to faulty lifestyle considerations. As strikingly exemplified in von Eschenbach's recent speech, prevention is defined only in terms of tobacco, "energy balance" and obesity. However, this is hardly surprising as von Eschenbach was President-Elect of the ACS prior to his appointment as NCI Director. The ACS Cancer Facts and Figures 2002 dismissively reassures that carcinogenic exposures from dietary pesticides, "toxic wastes in dump sites," ionizing radiation from "closely controlled" nuclear power plants, and non-ionizing radiation, are all "at such low levels that risks are negligible."
Dr. von Eschenbach also remains Director of the ACS 1998 National Dialogue on Cancer, which seeks a major role in federal cancer policies. It may be further noted that The Chronicle of Philanthropy, the nation's leading charity watch dog, has published a statement that the ACS "is more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives."
These concerns are detailed in the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC) report, "Stop Cancer Before It Starts Campaign: How to Win the Losing War Against Cancer," released at a Feb. 20 Washington, D.C., press conference. This report is endorsed by some 100 leading cancer prevention scientists, public health and policy experts, and representatives of concerned citizen groups, who advocate major reforms of national cancer policies.
May 23, 2003
THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY MISLEADS THE PUBLIC IN THE MAY 26 DISCOVERY HEALTH CHANNEL PROGRAM
In a one-hour special on the "TOP 10 CANCER MYTHS," the American Cancer Society (ACS) claims to set the record straight. However, these claims are seriously flawed.
While admitting that number of people diagnosed with cancer is increasing, the ACS explains this away as due to aging of the population, and the frequency of cancer in the elderly. However, federal statistics adjusted for aging show a 24% increased incidence rate over the last three decades. What's more, most major increases have involved non-smoking related cancers. These cancers include: non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 87%; thyroid, 71%; testis, 67%; postmenopausal breast, 54%; and brain, 28%. More disturbing is the escalating incidence of childhood cancers: acute lymphocytic leukemia, 62%; brain, 50%; bone, 40%; and kidney, 14%. Of related interest is an analysis of leading causes of death from 1973 to 1999. Cancer has increased by 30%, while mortality from heart disease decreased by 21%.
Worse still, the ACS has failed to inform the public about scientifically well-documented causes of a wide range of non-smoking related cancers. The ACS goes further by dismissing evidence on risks from domestic use of pesticides, although several studies have clearly shown a strong relationship with childhood cancers. In its recommendation for high vegetable, fruit, and grain diets, ACS ignores the fact that these, including baby foods, are highly contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides, while ignoring the availability of safe organic products. The ACS goes even further in dismissing such concerns. In its Cancer Facts and Figures 2002, ACS reassured that cancer risks from dietary pesticides, besides hazardous waste sites, and ionizing radiation from "closely controlled" nuclear plants, are at such low levels as to be "negligible."
The CANCER MYTHS are consistent with its longstanding track record on prevention, policies, and conflicts of interest. In 1978, the ACS refused a Congressional request to support the Clean Air Act. In 1992, the ACS supported the Chlorine Institute by defending the continued use of carcinogenic chlorinated pesticides. In 1993, just before PBS aired the Frontline special, "In Our Children's Food," the ACS came out in support of the pesticide industry. In a damage- control memorandum, sent to some 48 regional divisions and their 3,000 local offices, the ACS trivialized pesticides as a cause of childhood cancer. ACS also reassured the public that food contaminated with carcinogenic pesticides is safe, even for babies.
In 1994, the ACS published a highly flawed study designed to reassure women on the safety of dark permanent hair dyes, and to trivialize the risks of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast, and other cancers as documented in over six prior reports.
Analysis of the 1998 ACS budget revealed that it allocated less than 0.1% of its $700 million revenues to "Environmental Carcinogenesis."
In 2000, it was discovered that the ACS had close ties to PR firms for the tobacco industry -- Shandwick International, representing R.J. Reynolds Holdings, and Edelman, representing Brown & Williamson Tobacco Company. These firms were promptly dismissed once the embarrassing news leaked out.
This indifference or hostility of the ACS to cancer prevention is less surprising in view of its pervasive conflicts of interest with the cancer drug, petrochemical, cosmetics, power plants, and other industries.
Not surprisingly, the authoritative U.S. charity watchdog, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, has warned against the transfer of money from the public purse to private hands. "The ACS is more interested in accumulating wealth than in saving lives."