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J Morris Hicks

J Morris Hicks

Posted May 8, 2012

Published in Health

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Early Detection; then slash, burn and poison...

Read More: cancer treatment paradigm

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There has to be a better way---and there is!

President Richard Nixon signs the National Cancer Act on December 23, 1971.

 

Since Richard Nixon declared war on cancer back in 1971, a huge cancer business has gotten much bigger. In the past 41 years, the watchword of the day has become "early detection" followed by some combination of slash, burn and poison---more commonly known as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Just this week, a friend of mine passed away after spending the last few years of his life suffering through the standard treatment paradigm for this horrible disease. I continue to ask myself, where would we be today if our leaders had focused on prevention instead of early detection and treatment of symptoms?

I recently blogged about a new book, How We Do Harm, highlighting many of the flaws within our current medical paradigm. While the author presented some very interesting information, he missed the main point in my opinion. In a book review of over 1,000 words, there was not a single mention of addressing our toxic diet as the primary driver of most of our diseases—including cancer. A direct quote from Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study):

“The U.S. government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.”

World's 3rd Richest Man has prostate cancer at 81

Almost every day, we hear news about our flawed medical system when it comes to cancer and other chronic disease. A few weeks ago, we heard about Warren Buffett's decision to be treated for prostate cancer at the age of 81.

Then we heard a great debate in the media about whether or not that made any sense and was Mr. Buffett sending the wrong message to older men who had recently been advised against continuing to have the P.S.A. test. From a 4-24-12 article in USA Today (see link below):

The first question to ask: Should an 81-year-old even be screened for prostate cancer? The evidence says no. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of clinicians providing data-based practice guidelines, recommends against routine prostate cancer screening for healthy men of any age. Studies over the years, which have included participation of more than 300,000 men of various ages, have shown that harm from prostate cancer screening outweighs the benefits.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University---says that our government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.

An  earlier New York Times article (See link below) suggested the same thing. "A late outcry among many physicians and patients over a government panel’s recent announcement that healthy men should no longer receive P.S.A. blood testing to detect prostate cancer is rooted in a long and impassioned history among cancer screening advocates that early detection must always save lives. But as science has taught us, that’s not always the case." The article continues:

As early as 1913, physicians and laypeople formed the American Society for the Control of Cancer, which later became the American Cancer Society, bearing this hopeful message: “With early recognition and prompt treatment, the patient’s life may often be saved.” The idea had some scientific basis.

Patients whose cancers appeared to be less extensive at diagnosis lived longer, on average, than those whose cancer was more widespread. The organization put this philosophy in action, publicizing a series of “danger signals” that suggested possible early warning signs of cancer, including breast lumps, irregular bleeding, sores that did not heal and persistent weight loss. “Delay kills!” posters bluntly warned.

Early detection continues to trump true prevention---the elimination of the cause. Maybe $10 billion a year would help get that word out there, with or without the support of the ACS.

Same Old, Same Old. In article after article, all of the emphasis continues to be on the management of the disease after it has been detected. That means learning more about how every single form of cancer in every part of the body grows, spreads and kills. Treatments are then designed to minimize the spread of each cancer and thereby lengthen the patient's life. But questions remain:

  1. Do we ever know for sure if the treatment regimen actually extends the patient's lifespan?
  2. Are there cases where the treatment regimen actually shortens the patient's life?
  3. Is the pain, suffering, and mental anguish for all concerned worth a few more months of surviving---even if surviving in misery?

Are the results worth it? What about the cost of early detection and subsequent treatment? In the USA Today article below we learn that the annual  cost of screening for just prostate cancer in just the United States is $3 billion. Are the results worth it? Even the inventor of the PSA test has his doubts:

The cost of PSA testing contributes $3 billion annually to health care spending, much of it paid for by Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In fact, Richard Ablin, the scientist who discovered PSA, calls the testing's widespread use a "public health disaster."

Then there's screening for colon cancer which is a whopping $50 billion business in just the United States. If you include breast cancer, we're probably talking about a total of over $100 billion that is spent for early detection on these three most common cancers.

My final question is this. What if we spent just ten percent of that number ($10 billion) on educating the public regarding the primary cause of cancer and how to prevent it in the first place. What if we used that money to let them hear the wisdom of Dr. T. Colin Campbell?

“The U.S. government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.”

The bottom line. Address the cause and win the war on cancer. If we started spending $10 billion per year on educating the public about the cause---we'd win this war on cancer and it wouldn't take another forty-one years. This message needs repetition, just like any other advertising message. People will have to hear it many times before they start believing it.

*****************

  1. The Shortfalls of Early Cancer Detection New York Times
  2. What's right for Buffett may not be right for every man USA Today
  3.  Older Men Still Being Screened for Prostate Cancer New York Times
  4. An earlier blog on this topic: Early detection of prostate and breast cancer…

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

 


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