by: Tony Isaacs
(SilverBulletin) The American Cancer Society (ACS) was back in the news this month when they disputed the findings of the President's Cancer Panel on the role of toxins in causing cancer. Though the new report echoes what other experts have maintained for years, the ACS went out of its way to attack the report and downplay the role of toxins. Many critics have questioned the ACS's apparent conflicts of interest due to numerous ACS ties to chemical industries' influence and donations.
Another example is the ACS's continued support of mammograms. Concerns over the safety and efficacy of mammograms have been widely reported dating all the way back to 1977, including several notable studies supporting such concerns. In spite of those studies and concerns, the ACS has remained a staunch supporter of mammograms. Notably, the ACS has strong ties to the mammography industry.
Last year the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported that mammograms increased "the burden of low-risk cancers without significantly reducing the burden of more aggressively growing cancers and therefore not resulting in the anticipated reduction in cancer mortality". After the JAMA paper, it was initially reported that the ACS would finally change their stance on mammograms – as they once did with tobacco after years of stonewalling. However, the pro-mammogram interests in the ACS apparently won out and such reports were later denied.
As Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society stated: "We are not redoing or rethinking our guidelines at this time, nor are we going to restate our guidelines to emphasize the inadequacies of screening."
Although the ACS annually pleads poverty, it actually takes in more money than any other US charity and has huge cash reserves, property and other assets. Further, despite public promises to do everything to "wipe out cancer in your lifetime," the ACS has failed to make its voice heard in Congress and regulatory agencies. Instead, the ACS has repeatedly rejected or ignored opportunities and requests from Congressional committees and other agencies and groups to provide scientific testimony critical to legislate and regulate a wide range of occupational and environmental carcinogens.
The scope of the ACS failure to act is illustrated by increases in a wide range of cancers, including:
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has increased 76 percent mostly due to phenoxy herbicides and phenylenediamine hair dyes.
Testicular cancer has increased by 49 percent due to pesticides, harmful ingredients in personal care products and estrogen residues in meat.
Malignant melanoma has increased by 168 percent due to the use of toxic sunscreen products that fail to block long wave ultraviolet light.
Thyroid cancer has increased by 124 percent due in large part to ionizing radiation.
Childhood leukemia has increased by 55 percent due to ionizing radiation, domestic pesticides, nitrite preservatives in meats and parental exposures to occupational carcinogens.
Ovarian cancer (mortality) for women over the age of 65 has increased by 47 percent in African American women and 13 percent in Caucasian women due largely to genital use of talc powder.
Breast cancer has increased 17 percent due to a wide range of factors including birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy, ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products, and mammogram and other diagnostic radiation.
In future installments in this multi-part series we will take a closer look at the long and dubious history of the American Cancer Society.