icon Volume 9 Issue 2 - Editorial

Time to come clean

All over the world, right now, there are scientists working hard on cancer; trying to find the causes, the ways to prevent and the ways to cure. Some are Doctors but the majority are Biochemists, Microbiologists and the like. Some work for big pharmaceutical companies, or charities such as Cancer Research UK, while others for concerned groups like the Environmental Working Group or the Cancer Prevention Coalition in the USA.

No one in their right mind is going to claim that the top scientists at Cancer Research UK are better than those working for the Environmental Working Group, nor those at Professor Samuel Epstein’s CPC or vice versa.

However, that is in effect exactly what happens when research on drugs is lauded whilst research on ’possible’ causes is virtually ignored.

In the last year from America to Australia, there are excellent and concerned scientists lobbying their Governments and approval bodies such as the Federal Drug Administration about chemicals like retinyl palmitate (found in many sunscreens and linked to skin cancer), alcohol-based mouth wash (linked to increased levels of throat and oral cancers), and formaldehyde (found in all manner of in-home toiletry and household products and a known carcinogen. Some, like Bisphenol A (found in white can linings, plastics including children’s’ toys and babies bottles) which lowers sperm counts and causes DNA damage are already banned in concerned countries such as Norway and Canada.

Euro MP’s voted to control several hundred common chemical ingredients; manufacturers of toxin-free products avoid over a thousand such chemicals, IARC (the top cancer body in Europe and based in Lyon) has issued studies on everything from pesticides and herbicide residues entering the water system to melatonin depletion and cancer risk.

Go onto the web sites of the major UK Health bodies and cancer charities and you would think I was making all this up.

Problem? What problem?

The major cause of cancer?

Instead we hear that ’50 per cent of cancers are your fault’ according to the powers that be and the front page of the tabloid press. You smoke, eat a poor diet, go in the sun, don’t take exercise. What do you expect?

And then along comes a study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, on eating two portions of fruit and vegetables a day concluding that eating a good diet only prevents about 2.5 per cent of all cancers. Immediately it is seized upon by the press. ’Government recommendations cast in doubt’ was one front page headline.

As usual the focus of attention is all in the wrong direction. Like some expert illusionist the media seems to get the audience to look the wrong way at the critical moment.

The question every one of us should be asking is ’What causes the other 50 per cent? What factors contribute to the other 97.5 per cent if the diet factor on its own is so small? If not poor diet, what is the major cause of cancer?

The new epidemic

In the UK, we don’t seem to have a clue. Two years ago when we started writing our cancer overviews on the web site we used to look at different cancer to see what the other major charities said. ’The causes are unknown’. It’s not much better now.

But go to America. Read the Research from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, the Cancer Prevention Coalition site, the research from UCLA finding respirators with toxins like formaldehyde and dichlorobenzene heading the list at CANCERactive we have covered it all. Look up almost any cancer and everybody from MD Anderson to Sloan-Kettering will tell you the cause.

Back in the UK we covered research from the WWF showing that 27 toxic chemicals can be found in our population’s blood streams on average, with the worst person at 49 out of the searched list of 77 of the most dangerous chemicals! Other studies show it is higher in the grandchildren than the grandparents. It’s getting worse!

One article covered in this issue of icon is lymphoma we have but a short briefing note on it. This cancer is well below the everyday person’s radar. The audience gazes at breast and lung and colorectal and prostate cancers.

But for how much longer? At current growth rates, lymphoma will pass those ’big’ cancers in the next 15 to 20 years! It is a complex cancer, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York say there could be 40 different forms. And it is caused by toxic chemicals.

I could have looked at leukaemia, kidney cancer, multiple myeloma; this list goes on. Multiple myeloma; higher occurrence in farmers; one cause pesticides; in the over 50’s a sticky blood protein, MUGS.

Look at icon Cancer Watch on our web site we cover research from all over the world continuously. True, one study might not be conclusive. But add Cancer Watch together with all the other studies and a huge and undeniable body of evidence is forming.

The chemicals, including drugs, surrounding us in our homes, in our fields, in our water are causing this illness called cancer. It’s time to come clean. But will we?
In some cases the very people helping to produce the cures are also making the causes. Since when did our society praise an arsonist for driving a fire engine to the scene of the fire he started?

Obama’s Report

The wake up call may be coming. The American Cancer Society already estimates that 6 per cent of cancer deaths are caused by environmental toxins. That may be far too low says a new report. Every year since President Nixon declared his war on cancer, the President of America receives a report from his official cancer panel on the latest thinking. Obama has just received his.

The 240-page report was produced by cancer specialists LaSalle Lefall and Margaret Kripke, both of whom were appointed by President Bush and who heard from dozens of experts over the past two years. The primary conclusion is that the US government (never mind the UK one!) has grossly underestimated the problem, because of lack of research they could have added ’and vested interests’. Much of the suffering could have been prevented through appropriate national action’.

The report urges the administration to act even where the evidence is not definitive. (At CANCERactive we call it the ’Precautionary Principle’ - that where there is expert evidence expressing concern we will warn you so that you can take appropriate action; it’s your right to know.)

Nearly 80,000 chemicals are used in the West today, ’many of which are unstudied and largely unregulated’, the report says, adding that ’Children seem especially vulnerable’.

Although Jeanne Rizzo, president of the American Breast Cancer Fund, an environmental advocacy group, said the report was "a watershed that could transform federal policy not just on cancer, but on chemicals" we can only hope action amidst the sea of vested interests occurs. It’s time to come clean.

Readers can follow some of the very latest research in the ’Chemical World’ section of every Cancer Watch at CANCERactive (you can sign up on line for a regular e newsletter at www.canceractive.com). Meanwhile you will find some of the chemicals you’d be wise to avoid in our centerfold, and Janey Lee Grace looks as useful alternatives in her regular feature.

On the Rainbow Foods web site (www.chriswoollams4health.com) they are trying to build the UK’s top shop for toxin-free product ranges. And their profits go to CANCERactive!!

Happy Reading

Chris Woollams

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