Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wars and profits

On June 15, 2009, a letter to Congressional leaders urging drastic reform of the Obama Cancer Plan to mandate prevention, besides urging the annual publication of a public registry of carcinogens, was released by the five scientists listed below. This letter also listed seven cancers, summarized their avoidable causes, and their increasing incidence since 1975, based on 2005 NCI data: (read more at truthout.org)

  • Malignant melanoma (mortality) of the skin in adults has increased by 168% due to the use of sunscreens in childhood that fail to block long wave ultraviolet light;
  • Thyroid cancer has increased by 124% due in large part to ionizing radiation;
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has increased by 76% due mostly to phenoxy herbicides; and phenylenediamine hair dyes;
  • Testicular cancer has increased by 49% due to pesticides; hormonal ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products; and estrogen residues in meat;
  • Childhood leukemia has increased by 55% due to ionizing radiation; domestic pesticides; nitrite preservatives in meats, particularly hot dogs; and parental exposures to occupational carcinogens;
  • Ovary cancer (mortality) for women over the age of 65 has increased by 47% in African American women and 13% in Caucasian women due to genital use of talc powder;
  • Breast cancer has increased by 17% due to a wide range of factors. These include: birth control pills; toxic hormonal ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products; diagnostic radiation; and routine premenopausal mammography, with a cumulative breast dose exposure of up to about five rads over ten years.

However, and as an expert in cancer treatment, Varmus is unlikely to be aware of such scientific evidence, which was not widely recognized until relatively recently.

Based on recent estimates by the National Institutes of Health, the total costs of cancer are about $219 billion each year. The annual costs to taxpayers of diagnosis and treatment amounts to $89 billion; the annual costs of premature death are conservatively estimated at $112 billion; and the annual costs due to loss of productivity are conservatively estimated at $18 billion. The human costs surely are of far greater magnitude. Much of these costs could be saved by cancer prevention.

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