Is it Time to Boycott This 'Anti' Cancer Charity?
It is riddled with conflict of interest.
And in fact, according to the report, the ACS has a reckless, if not criminal record on cancer prevention. Over and over again, they have promoted drugs and screening while ignoring environmental causes.
The report states, in part:
"The ACS ... [has] long continued to devote virtually exclusive priority to research on diagnosis and treatment of cancer, with indifference to prevention, other than faulty personal lifestyle, commonly known as 'blame the victim,' ... Not surprisingly, the incidence of cancer over past decades has escalated".
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
The American Cancer Society (ACS) is:
"[A] nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service."
That sounds all well and good, and a lot of people put their faith in this organization and dutifully participate in its highly publicized National Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign each year, which includes the widespread promotion of mammography screening.
Little do they realize that the ACS is doing precious little to combat cancer, at best, and may actually hinder real progress, at worst…
Rampant Conflicts of Interest
In the report titled AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY—More Interested In Accumulating Wealth Than Saving Lives, Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, plainly lays to bare the many conflicts of interest that hamper the effectiveness of this organization.
For example, the ACS has close financial ties to both makers of mammography equipment and cancer drugs. But that's just for starters. Other conflicts of interest include ties to, and financial support from, the pesticide-, petrochemical-, biotech-, cosmetics-, and junk food industries—the very industries whose products are the primary contributors to cancer!
Once you realize that these conflicts of interest are there, it becomes quite easy to understand why the ACS never addresses the environmental components of cancer, and why information about avoidable toxic exposures are so conspicuously absent from their National Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns.
"This is no accident," Dr. Epstein writes. "Zeneca Pharmaceuticals--a spin-off of Imperial Chemical Industries is one of the world's largest manufacturers of chlorinated and other industrial chemicals, including those incriminated as causes of breast cancer.
Zeneca has also been the sole multimillion-dollar funder of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month since its inception in 1984, besides the sole manufacturer of Tamoxifen, the world's top-selling anticancer and breast cancer "prevention" drug, with $400 million in annual sales.
Furthermore, Zeneca recently assumed direct management of 11 cancer centers in U.S. hospitals. Zeneca owns a 50 percent stake in these centers known collectively as Salick Health Care."
It's no small irony that Tamoxifen has been found to cause cancer and increase risk of death, while several top-notch preventive strategies and many safe and effective cancer treatments are ignored.
The ACS, along with the National Cancer Institute, virtually exclusively focus on cancer research and the diagnosis and the chemical treatment of cancer. Preventive strategies, such as avoiding chemical exposures, receive virtually no consideration at all.
"Giant corporations, which profited handsomely while they polluted air, water, the workplace, and food with a wide range of carcinogens, remain greatly comforted by the silence of the ACS. This silence reflected a complex of mindsets fixated on diagnosis, treatment, and basic genetic research, together with ignorance, indifference, and even hostility to prevention."
"Not surprisingly, the incidence of cancer over past decades has escalated, approximately parallel to its increased funding," Dr. Epstein writes.
Many also do not realize that when they donate money to the American Cancer Society, the majority of it may never go further than the bank accounts of its numerous well-paid executives.
Cancer Recommendations Based on Profit, Not Superior Science and Results
The two major cancer "prevention" strategies that the ACS continuously pushes, regardless of what the science says, are:
- Sun avoidance
Unfortunately, they're DEAD wrong on both accounts. Mammography has been shown to be an avoidable potential cause of breast cancer itself, and sun exposure has in recent years been proven to be essential for the prevention of cancer, including skin cancer. Why would they advocate what could be cancer-promoting behavior?
Follow the money!
"Indeed, despite promises to the public to do everything to "wipe out cancer in your lifetime," the ACS has failed to make its voice heard in Congress and the regulatory arena," Dr. Epstein writes.
"Instead, the ACS has consistently rejected or ignored opportunities and requests from Congress, regulatory agencies, unions, environmental and consumer organizations to provide scientific evidence critical to efforts to legislate and occupational, environmental, and personal product carcinogens."
The Two Myths of Cancer
Dr. Epstein also points out two glaring myths perpetuated by the American Cancer Society:
- Dramatic progress has been made in the war against cancer, and
- Rising cancer mortality statistics are primarily due to smoking and an aging population
Meanwhile, global cancer rates have doubled in the last three decades, and their "war on cancer" strategy completely ignores, and oftentimes denies the obvious links between cancer and toxic exposures through pesticide-laden foods, toxic personal care products, cancer-causing medical treatments and drugs, and industrial pollution.
This despite the fact that we know far more about these influences today than ever before in history—in fact, there is evidence suggesting that cancer is a recent man-made disease caused primarily by toxic overload.
Cancer is on the Rise, and Toxic Chemicals are MAJOR Factors
According to the latest statistics compiled by the American Heart Association, cancer surpasses heart disease as the top killer among Americans between the ages of 45 to 74. The odds are very high that you or someone you know has cancer or has died from it.
Environmental/lifestyle factors are increasingly being pinpointed as the culprits, such as:
|Pesticide- and other chemical exposures||Pharmaceutical drugs||Processed and artificial foods (plus the chemicals in the packaging)||Wireless technologies, dirty electricity, and medical diagnostic radiation exposure|
|Obesity||Stress||Poor sleeping habits|
Genetics have more or less been ruled out as a primary factor, although diet, lifestyle and toxic exposures have been found to turn genes on or off that contribute to the development and malignancy of cancer.
Still, focusing on research into the genetic underpinnings of cancer along with screening methods that can also cause harm cleverly avoids the obvious, which is finding the underlying contributing factors so that people can avoid them!
The "problem" with that solution is that it would put tremendous financial strain on all the industries that support the ACS…
American Cancer Society has Financial Interests in Mammography
The health risks of mammography have been discussed since the early 1990's when Dr. Epstein began speaking out about them. As for how these misguided mammography guidelines came about,
Epstein has previously said:
"They were conscious, chosen, politically expedient acts by a small group of people for the sake of their own power, prestige and financial gain, resulting in suffering and death for millions of women. They fit the classification of "crimes against humanity.""
As Dr. Epstein points out in his report, ACS' role in the promotion of mammography is far from altruistic as the Society has numerous ties to the mammography industry, which includes but is not limited to:
- Five radiologists have served as presidents of ACS
- ACS commonly promotes the interests of mammogram machine and film manufacturers, including Siemens, DuPont, General Electric, Eastman Kodak and Piker
- The mammography industry not only conducts research for the ACS and its grantees, its representatives also serve on ACS advisory boards, and donates considerable funds.
- DuPont, who makes mammogram film, is also a substantial backer of the ACS Breast Health Awareness Program; produces educational films; and aggressively lobbies Congress for legislation promoting the nationwide availability of mammography services.
Unfortunately, what the American Cancer Society is not making clear in their heavy mammography marketing materials are the risks involved, some of which may actually raise your risk of breast cancer, particularly if you follow the ACS' recommended regimen of yearly mammograms starting at the age of 40.
In 2009, revised mammogram guidelines were issued by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF); a group of health experts that makes preventive health care recommendations based on their review of published research.
They found that the benefits of mammogram screening do not outweigh the risks for women under the age of 50. Therefore, they recommend that women wait to get regular screenings until the age of 50, and only get one every other year thereafter. The ACS did not modify their recommendations however, and still recommend yearly mammograms starting at 40.
There ARE Safer Screening Options
Many still believe that mammography is the only breast cancer screening method out there. This is highly unfortunate, and I urge you to educate yourself and your female friends and family members on this matter.
The reason you may not have heard about this option is because it's not financially tied to the ACS or any other public health agency. It's called thermographic breast screening, and works by measuring the radiation of infrared heat from your body and translating this information into anatomical images.
Thermography uses no mechanical pressure or ionizing radiation—the two factors that can contribute to the creation of breast cancer.
It detects the potential for cancer by imaging the early stages of angiogenesis -- the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size. This early diagnostic power is yet another major benefit of thermography.
Breast Cancer Prevention Tips
"The verdict is unassailable. The ACS bears a major decades' long responsibility for losing the winnable war against cancer," Dr. Epstein writes.
Reforming the ACS is, in principle, relatively easy and directly achievable. Boycott the ACS. Instead, give your charitable contributions to public interest and environmental groups involved in cancer prevention. Such a boycott is well overdue and will send the only message this "charity" can no longer ignore."
I agree. It's profoundly sad that one of the so-called leaders against cancer simply will not spread the word about the many ways women can help prevent breast cancer in the first place, and ignores research into safer alternative screening methods and treatment of cancer, choosing instead to protect the financial interests of the biggest contributors to the toxic overload that's at the root of this growing problem.
Cancer Advancements that Need to Become Mainstream Knowledge
In the last 30 years the global cancer burden has doubled, and is estimated to nearly triple by 2030. We must begin to take cancer prevention seriously. Three cancer advancements in particular merit special mention. These advancements have not yet been accepted by conventional medicine, and they must be.
Number 1: Radically Reduce Your Sugar Intake—Normalizing your insulin levels is one of the most powerful physical actions you can take to lower your risk of cancer. Unfortunately, very few oncologists appreciate or apply this knowledge today. The Cancer Centers of America is one of the few exceptions, where strict dietary measures are included in their cancer treatment program.
Chronic insulin resistance will cause major damage in your body. The most recognized of these is diabetes, but that is far from the only one. As Ron Rosedale, M.D. said in one of my most popular articles, Insulin and Its Metabolic Effects:
"It doesn't matter what disease you are talking about, whether you are talking about a common cold or cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis or cancer, the root is always going to be at the molecular and cellular level, and I will tell you that insulin is going to have its hand in it, if not totally control it."
The good news is that controlling your insulin levels is relatively straightforward. First, limit your intake of processed foods, grains and sugars/fructose as much as possible to prevent your insulin levels from becoming elevated in the first place.
Number 2: Vitamin D—There's overwhelming evidence pointing to the fact that vitamin D deficiency plays a crucial role in cancer development. Researchers within this field have estimated that about 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented each year simply by optimizing the vitamin D levels in the general population. Countless people around the world have an increased risk of cancer because their vitamin D levels are too low due to utter lack of sun exposure...
On a personal level, you can decrease your risk of cancer by MORE THAN HALF simply by optimizing your vitamin D levels with sun exposure. And if you are being treated for cancer it is likely that higher blood levels—probably around 80-90 ng/ml—would be beneficial.
The health benefits of optimizing your levels, either by safe sun exposure (ideally), a safe tanning bed, or oral supplementation as a last resort, simply cannot be overstated. In terms of protecting against cancer, vitamin D has been found to offer protection in a number of ways, including:
- Regulating genetic expression
- Increasing the self-destruction of mutated cells (which, if allowed to replicate, could lead to cancer)
- Reducing the spread and reproduction of cancer cells
- Causing cells to become differentiated (cancer cells often lack differentiation)
- Reducing the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones, which is a step in the transition of dormant tumors turning cancerous
To learn the details on how to use vitamin D therapeutically, please review my previous article, Test Values and Treatment for Vitamin D Deficiency.
Number 3: Exercise—If you are like most people, when you think of reducing your risk of cancer, exercise doesn't immediately come to mind. However, there is some fairly compelling evidence that exercise can slash your risk of cancer.
One of the primary ways exercise lowers your risk for cancer is by reducing elevated insulin levels, which creates a low sugar environment that discourages the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Controlling your insulin levels and optimizing your vitamin D level are two of the most powerful steps you can take to reduce your cancer risk. For example, physically active adults experience about half the incidence of colon cancer as their sedentary counterparts, and women who exercise regularly can reduce their breast cancer risk by 20 to 30 percent compared to those who are inactive.
Additionally, exercise improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood. Your immune system is your first line of defense against everything from minor illnesses like a cold right up to devastating, life-threatening diseases like cancer.
The trick about exercise, though, is understanding how to use it as a precise tool. This ensures you are getting enough to achieve the benefit, not too much to cause injury, and the right variety to balance your entire physical structure and maintain strength and flexibility, and aerobic and anaerobic fitness levels. This is why it is helpful to view exercise like a drug that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve its maximum benefit.
It's important to include a large variety of techniques in your exercise routine, such as strength training, aerobics, core-building activities, and stretching. Most important of all, however, is to make sure you include high-intensity, burst-type exercise, such as Peak 8. Peak 8 are exercises performed once or twice a week, in which you raise your heart rate up to your anaerobic threshold for 20 to 30 seconds, and then you recover for 90 seconds.
These exercises activate your super-fast twitch muscle fibers, which can increase your body's natural production of human growth hormone. For detailed instructions, please see this previous article.
Additionally it is likely that integrating exercise with intermittent fasting will greatly catalyze the potential of exercise to reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate widespread healing and rejuvenation.
Additional Anti-Cancer Strategies
Additional lifestyle guidelines that will help protect you against cancer include:
- Get appropriate amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats.
- Eat according to your nutritional type. The potent anti-cancer effects of this principle are very much underappreciated. When we treat cancer patients in our clinic this is one of the most powerful anti-cancer strategies we have.
- Eat as many vegetables as you are comfortable with. Ideally, they should be fresh and organic. Cruciferous vegetables in particular have been identified as having potent anti-cancer properties. Remember that carb nutritional types may need up to 300 percent more vegetables than protein nutritional types.
- Have a tool to permanently erase the neurological short-circuiting that can activate cancer genes. Even the CDC states that 85 percent of disease is caused by emotions. It is likely that this factor may be more important than all the other physical ones listed here, so make sure this is addressed. My particular favorite tool for this purpose, as you may know, is the Emotional Freedom Technique.
- Maintain an ideal body weight.
- Get enough high-quality sleep.
- Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins like pesticides, household chemical cleaners, synthetic air fresheners and air pollution.
- Reduce your use of cell phones and other wireless technologies, and implement as many safety strategies as possible if/when you cannot avoid their use.
- Boil, poach or steam your foods, rather than frying or charbroiling them.
May 24, 2011