Politics

The sums of money spent are huge. We do not like to think that we can be influenced by crass political or financial motives, but we may not be so different from the French in 1650. President Nixon in the early seventies, seeking to restore his standing, decreed that Congress no longer had to approve grants for cancer research: they were to be sent to the President himself for his direct consent. [47]

The billions have been granted. At the University of California a researcher says: “You can’t do experiments to see what causes cancer...it’s not an accessible problem. You’ve got to live, you’ve got to eat, you’ve got to keep your postdocs happy.” [48]

Another, more sturdy, declares: “It wouldn’t bother me a bit...if the disease were wiped off the face of the earth. I have plenty of other ways to earn a living.” [49]

But a woman doctor at a dinner-party rounds on Raymond Damadian, inventor of the NMR scanner, with: “If you accomplish all you say, who is going to pay the tuition for my son at college?” [50]

The Cancer Mission says: “The cynical view is that, assured of a booty (if not a blank check) to conduct cancer research for the foreseeable future, the scientists could well afford to mouth a pious vocabulary. Instead, the targeting of cancer research as the paramount research priority raised a specter of success, a climate of expectation, and visibility that the biomedical community refused to endorse.” [51]

The impatient layman would interpret this as meaning that the biomedical community is refusing to do what it’s paid for, and it’d better move over and let the cats and terriers kill the mice.

As The Cancer Mission continues, in its way: “Has scientific growth been so equated with institutionalized forms that knowledge, rationality, and evidential norms - the object world - are rendered impotent, incidental epiphenomena to social forms? We think so”. [52] Are the scientists so much out of touch with reality that they don’t want to know?

“Why DON’T You Prevent It?”

The modern research scientist is described by Sigismund Peller as “an affluent young man of excellent knowledge and skill in a narrow field, with both feet on the ground, and with an ability to chit-chat and socialize in the correct circles.” [53] Robert S. Morrison, in the foreword to The Cancer Mission, speaks of the gradual realisation that “events outside science such as Mary Lasker’s cocktail parties or Sydney Farber’s Jimmy Fund had something to do with the setting of science policy.” He also wrote of the book as “an introduction to policy making in the era of Big Science”, and “...science policy...has also involved a number of special interests and people with axes to grind.” [54]

Raymond Damadian, who would without doubt be complimented by being described as nothing like the type of young scientist described above, has something to say about the cancer establishment: “Lots of people try to suppress breakthroughs...my general opinion of why we have had cancer around for the last fifty or seventy years is because we’ve suppressed the cure.” [55]

He goes on: “[it was] beyond the capacity of any one individual to do it, because the forces opposing it were too much.” [56]

“The vested interests in this business are decades deep, maybe centuries deep.”

“...the cancer establishment. They didn’t want this machine to happen. It might get rid of the disease. That’s why we still have cancer with us...the only thing we’ve got out of this expensive cancer research is that deaths from cancer keep going up.”

“The cancer industry may spend 45 billions a year...more people are living on cancer than dying from it.” [57]

He quotes a famous professor of chemistry who said: “It’s not important to me who’s right or who’s wrong but that I’m on the side of the majority...” [58]

The vested interests [my emphasis]” says Damadian, “the jealousy of other scientists, bureaucratic inefficiency, the simple ingrained hostility of Establishment authorities to new ideas...” [59]

With some pathos, Damadian expresses his hope that his scanner may be adapted to cure the disease. “Nobody else is going to cure cancer. So I’m going to have to do it.” [60]

Why?

Confirmation of all this comes from an article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, reported in January 1991 in the Daily Telegraph, in which Dr Denis Burkett says that progress against cancer has been negligible in spite of research costing 150 million a year. (And of course very much more than this in the United States). [61] Treatments developed through molecular genetics - the sort of work described in Natural Obsessions and The Cancer Mission, the most prestigious area of modern cancer research, which is swallowing a large part of the cancer budget, are several decades away, he says.

High-powered research is not winning the cancer war. Most advances against cancer have been achieved by “simple” research - for example, straightforward studies in animals have shown that fruit and vegetables are protective against cancer.

Why? Why?

But as Peller said: “Attention was only paid to those who joined the philosophical bandwagon or could be taken aboard. A researcher who in the nineteen thirties or forties presented new ways of looking at and combating cancer was ignored, pushed aside, and if this did not help, he was marked as a crack-brain. The researcher who did not play the game and applied for a grant did not have a chance. He was usually rejected for some such reason as ‘being too old’...

Is it any different today? Do those who are engaged in research and combat of cancer really want to find the way out of the labyrinth, no matter what it means to their petty problems, positions, prestige, power and income?”, (my emphasis]). [62]

"Just as the Russian government keeps its own population ignorant of Western thinking, so our representatives of cancer and medical science and business actually utilized unethical means to prevent our physicians and the public from listening to unorthodox views." [63]

“My impression is” he says “that our large cancer institutes have borrowed the Parkinson Laws from the bureaucratic establishment. This work goes on ad infinitum without budging the problem.” [64]

In 1980, Ralph W. Moss wrote a book about the failure of cancer research to produce a cure for the disease, and ten years later he rewrote it, under a new title: The Cancer Industry: Unraelling the Politics. He was formerly assistant director of public affairs at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York, probably the most prestigious cancer clinic in the United States.

Why? Over And Over Again...

He says roundly that the “cancer establishment” plays games with statistics to create the illusion of success, at the same time rejecting alternative treatments. The example he gives is that for 1973 to 1978, that is, after the leap in funding initiated by President Nixon, the five-year survival times, after which a patient is judged cured (though many die after a longer time), went up miserably from 38.5 to 40.1 percent. So, he says, the “cancer warriors...found a more impressive set of figures to bring before Congress, a variant of the five-year survival statistic called the relative survival rate.”

This assumed that a certain number of those dying of cancer in the five years could have died of something else: a heart attack or axe murder or something. By applying this new standard, the “cures” jumped from 40 percent to 49.2 percent, and all looked well. [65] How many other such lying statistics are we fed?

The question of those who have actually claimed that they have budged the question is another subject altogether, and one that is likely to arouse a particular fury in those committed to the establishment view. There have been many such claims, many made by qualified medical persons. Many of us know of at least one victim who has been cured against the odds by unorthodox treatments, but we are wary about saying so.

I’m Tired Of Asking Why

There is also the more important question of immunisation and other possible protective measures. Tuberculosis was checked by the segregation of patients, and by the general improvement in living and housing standards, before anyone knew what the bacteria causing it actually did. Plague was checked in Europe long before anything at all was known about the causes of it, by a rigid system of quarantine. Bauemler says: “The dramatic history of medicine clearly proves that it has so far been possible successfully to control or check diseases without elucidating their ultimate cause.” [66]

Italy, true to its distinguished medical record in other fields, seems to be leading the way. Having noticed the probable link between victims of Hepatitis B (which is highly infectious) and cancer of the liver, observed by the Nobel Prize winner Blumberg, who hoped that a vaccine preventing Hepatitis B might prevent liver cancer, the Italian government, according to The Lancet, has ordered compulsory vaccination of all Hepatitis B victims. The vaccine has also been offered to health care workers, drug addicts, prostitutes, homosexuals, and babies of mothers found to be Hepatitis B positive. A bill was to be brought forward asking for compulsory vaccination for all children. [67] There is also a vaccination programme being carried on in the Gambia, with help from the Italian government. It is interesting to note that this programme was begun in 1986. [68]

In the lecture quoted above, in 1986, Sir Richard Doll also said: “Other vaccines may eventually become available to prevent the several other cancers that now seem likely to owe their origin at least in part to viral infection...”

The Lancet also describes a programme of mass immunization in Greece [69], and in an earlier issue states that a vaccine is now available in more than 20 other countries, including the UK at a cost of £31.50. [70] The article in Life in 1962 described the work of Dr Clara J. Fonti, who won a prize from France for research; she ran a clinic in Milan, and had produced a cancer vaccine that she gave to her patients; it also showed Dr W. Mervyn Crofton, FRSM, who had also produced a vaccine (though he found he had to do his work in his own time and publish his findings at his own expense). [71]

Just Once More - Why?

The published Proceedings of the Royal Society tell us that in 1984 a prototype vaccine was developed to prevent tumours associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. By 1967, Dr Maurice Hilleman (of the American Drug Company, Merck, Sharp and Dohme, which is involved in the Gambia programme), and others before him, had treated hamsters with an anti-tumour vaccine. Immunisation against leukemia is available for cats at a cost of £50. [72] And a vaccine has been developed that will really prevent lymphomas (types of cancer) in cotton-top tamarin monkeys. [73]

It is not necessary, perhaps, to hold any ideas about establishment plots and elaborate cover-ups. Ordinary human stupidity and obstinacy will do just as well.

A curious parallel has just turned up to do with peptic ulcers. Two Australian doctors had identified the virus that causes these unpleasant things. Now, like other virus-borne diseases, they can be treated with antibiotics, according to an article in the Sunday Telegraph, of the April 28, 1991. It has taken ten years for this to be accepted. Dr Peyton Rous’ followers might well think them very lucky. Simone Weill, asked how long, once a scientific theory had been disproved, it took for that theory to be discredited, replied: “When the last scientist holding it is dead”.

Doctors in the past, unable, as it seemed, to do anything to help the tragic sufferers from tuberculosis, would recommend them to stop this and that: not to live in towns, not to work, not to eat rich food, not to drink, not to take exercise, not to dance, not to marry, not to love. The doctors were safe in recommending these futile remedies, because they knew that very few of their patients could obey them all, so their deaths could always be shown to be their own fault.

Do vets tell chickens what they must not do? No, they immunize them. To quote the Veterinary Record: “Vaccines against Marek’s Disease [cancer in chickens] are the most exciting advance in the realm of control of cancer...Marek’s Disease vaccines represent the first and only effective vaccine for the control of naturally occurring malignant neoplasia in any species.” [74]

If you would like to take a reasonable precaution against cancer for yourself or your family, what can you do? Go to Italy or the Gambia? Or to a vet?


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