The War On Cancer

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy’s spotlight onglobal corporations.

In 1971, many sponsors of the War on Cancer predicted a cure by 1976. Instead, this multibillion dollar research program has proven to be a failure.




The age adjusted total cancer mortality rate climbed steadily for decades until the early 1990s, when the rate started to fall slowly, due largely to reduced smoking. To encourage continued support for cancer research, now exceeding two billion dollars annually in the U.S. alone; researchers and administrators have misled the public. In 1987, the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) found that the statistics from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) “artificially inflate the amount of ‘true’ progress”, concluding that even simple five-year survival statistics were manipulated. The NCI termed five-year survival a “cure” even if the patient died of the cancer after the five-year period. Also, by ignoring well known statistical biases, the NCI falsely suggested advances had been made in certain cancer therapies. [1]

Failure of toxic “therapies”

In 1971 when the U.S. declared war on cancer, scientists still hadn’t identified the immune defense system. Doctors and scientists, along with the American Cancer Society, continue to refer to a non-contagious condition with no incubation period or identifiable foreign invader as a “disease”. Scientists have requested and received billions in grants from the federal government, non-profit organizations, corporate and private donors. However, according to critics, like the New England Journal of Medicine, the “war on cancer” is a failure. According to John C. Bailar III, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McGill University:

“Despite $30 billion spent on research since 1970, cancer remains undefeated, with a death rate not lower but actually higher than when they started. The effect of new treatments for cancer has been largely disappointing. The failure of chemotherapy to control cancer has become apparent even to the oncology establishment.” [2]

The late Professor of Medical Physics, H.B. Jones, was a leading U.S. cancer statistician. In a 1969 speech to the American Cancer Society, he stated that studies had not proved that chances of survival were improved by early intervention. In fact, according to his studies, untreated persons with cancer lived up to four times longer and with a better quality of life than treated ones. He was not invited back. According to the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet:

“If one were to believe all the media hype, the triumphalism of the medical profession in published research, and the almost weekly miracle breakthroughs trumpeted by the cancer charities, one might be surprised that women are dying at all from breast cancer.” [3]

Cancer for profit

According to the oncologist, Glen Warner, M.D.:

“We have a multi-billion dollar industry that is killing people, right and left, just for financial gain. Their idea of research is to see whether two doses of this poison is better than three doses of that poison.” [4]

NCI & clinical trials for hydrazine sulfate

According to “The $200 Billion Scam”, published in Penthouse in 1997:

“In the 25 years since the federal government declared War on Cancer, an estimated $200 billion has been spent by U.S. taxpayers and private investors on research that has produced so little bang for the buck that it makes the Pentagon’s $600 toilet seats look like bargains for every American home. The cancer industry has become a huge jobs program for brilliant, even highly motivated, doctors and other scientists, whose efforts are misguided by the economic forces behind the industry. Directly put, it’s in the interests of all the fat cats in government and private enterprise who earn their living and status from what is largely a failed enterprise, to stick with it. That is why a drug like hydrazine sulfate is dumped on by the cancer establishment, instead of given legitimate support and honest evaluation.”

The General Accounting Office (GAO) defied logic, reason, and science to give its blessing to the NCI’s deliberately biased testing of hydrazine sulfate which produced false results to make it appear ineffective. NCI higher administrators who wrote the report also and ignored evidence pointing to rigged clinical trials. [5]

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society ACS is largest non-religious charity in the world. As of the fiscal year ending in August of 2007, the ACS had a net revenue 1.17 billion dollars. [6] ACS’s daily expenditures exceed one million dollars with only approximately 16% going into patient cancer programs. The rest is funneled into expensive research and bureaucratic overhead. Meager prevention programs are designed not to offend the industry. The average American diagnosed with cancer spend upwards of $25,000 of their savings on cures to save or lengthen their lives. However, claims of ‘progress’ include many people with benign diseases. Those in remission for longer than 5 years are declared cured, although many of those will die from either cancer or treatment after five years. [7] Corporate donors include processed food industryand pharmaceutical industry giants like PfizerSanofi-AventisAstraZenecaNovartis and Walmart as well as Metropolitan Life Insurance[8]

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

A look at financial relationships between large facilities such as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and corporations making billions in profits from chemotherapy drugs, is extremely telling as to its continued use in the face of such failure. Furthermore, expensive laboratories and diagnostic equipment have already been paid for by large corporations.

Craig B. Thompson, MD President and CEO of MSKCC, is also on the Board of Directors for Merck Corporation.[9]

James D. Robinson III Honorary Chairman, is also former Chairman of Bristol-Myers Squibb, the world’s largest producer of chemo drugs. Paul Marks, MD, MSKCC’s former President and CEO, is the former Director of Pfizer. Another board member, Richard Furlaud, recently retired as Bristol Myers’ president. [10]

The late Richard Gelb was Vice-Chairman of the MSKCC board as well as CEO of Bristol-Myers. [11][12]

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency in the U.S. government conducting and funding medical research. MSKCC Director Thomas Kelly, M.D., Ph.D. serves on the both the NIH Advisory Committee and Scientific Management Review Board. [13]

Cancer United

Cancer United is a pharmaceutical industry front group established by the Weber Shandwick public relations firm. It is funded entirely by Roche[14]

Cancer & animal testing

More is spent on cancer than any other medical problem. There are more people living off of cancer than cancer sufferers.Millions of laboratory animals, including rats, mice, monkeys, guinea pigs, cats and dogs have been injected with cancerous material or implanted with malignancies.[15][16] Why hasn’t progress been commensurate with the effort and money invested? One explanation is the unwarranted preoccupation with animal testing. Crucial genetic, molecular, immunologic and cellular differences have disqualify animal models as an effective means to a cure. Mice are most commonly used, although “Mice are actually poor models of the majority of human cancers”; according to the industry’s own laboratory animal publication. According to leading cancer researcher, Robert Weinberg:

“The preclinical (animal) models of human cancer, in large part, stink… Hundreds of millions of dollars are being wasted every year by drug companies using these models.” [17]

A widely discussed 2004 article in Fortune magazine entitled “Why We’re Losing the War on Cancer” [18] laid the blame on animal research. The basic approach in the 1970s was to grow human cancer cells in a lab dish, transplant them into a mouse whose immune system had been tweaked to not reject them and throw experimental drugs at them to see what happened. However, few successes in mice are relevant to people. According to Fran Visco, who founded the National Breast Cancer Coalition four years after being diagnosed with cancer in 1987, “Animals don’t reflect the reality of cancer in humans. We cure cancer in animals all the time, but not in people.”

Newsweek combed through three decades of high-profile successes in mice for clues to why the mice lived and the people died. According to oncologist Paul Bunn, who leads the International Society for the Study of Lung Cancer:

“Animal models have not been very predictive of how well drugs would do in people. We put a human tumor under the mouse’s skin, and that micro-environment doesn’t reflect a person’s—the blood vessels, inflammatory cells or cells of the immune system.”

Human tumors that scientists transplant into mice and then attack with their weapon du jour, almost never metastasize. For decades, scientists ignored metastatic cells (which are responsible for 90% of all cancer deaths) because metastasis didn’t occur in animal models. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, researchers focused on increasingly detailed molecular mechanisms, instead of looking into the real problem. [19] See also animal testing.

Cancer & diet

Food Additives & adulteration

Today, over 6,000 synthetic chemicals are officially condoned for use in the processed food industry. These include some that are known carcinogens. Processed foods contain high levels of the debilitating, denatured ingredients such as white sugar, refined starch, pasteurized cow’s milk, land mined salt and hydrogenated vegetable oils. The human immune system correctly recognizes chemical food additives as toxic foreign agents and attempts to rid the body of them; thus causing severe biochemical reactions and stress on the immune system.

After years of daily exposure to inorganic chemicals, the immune system breaks down and burns out, leaving the body vulnerable to microbes, toxins and cancerous cells. The food industry has duped the public and government health agencies into believing that their products are safe for human consumption; even in the face of abundant scientific evidence to the contrary. In fact, such information is in the public domain and openly available to anyone who seeks it.[20] See also processed food industry.

Animal products & health issues

The China Study culminated a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The survey of diseases and lifestyle factors in rural China and Taiwan is widely thought to be the most comprehensive study on nutrition and related diseases to date. The project produced over 8,000 statistically significant associations between diet and disease. The findings indicated that the consumers of the most animal-based foods suffered the most chronic diseases while those with the most plant based diets avoided these diseases and were the healthiest. Chronic diseases included heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Also studied were the effects of diet in reducing or reversing the risks of chronic disease. The study also examines the source of nutritional confusion produced by powerful lobbies, government entities and irresponsible scientists. [21] According to Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell, “we’re basically a vegetarian species, should be eating a wide variety of plant foods and minimizing animal foods.” [22][23]

The focus of published reports on dairy consumption are infections, colic, intestinal bleeding, anemia, allergies and more serious issues of diabetes and viral infections of bovine leukemia, an AIDS like virus. Common childrens issues include ear infections, tonsil infections, bed wetting and asthma. Adult issues include heart disease, arthritis, respiratory distress, osteoporosis, leukemia, lymphoma and cancer. Overall health issues include milk contamination by pus cells and chemicals such as pesticides. [24] Most cows’ milk contains toxins such as herbicides, pesticides and dioxins and up to 52 powerful antibiotics; blood, pus, feces, bacteria and viruses. Both organic and non-organic milk contain fat, cholesteral and various allergens as well as 59 active hormones. This includes the powerful Growth Factor One (IGF-1) which has been identified in the rapid growth cancer. [25] It has been positively documented and affirmed that dairy consumption leads to clogged arteries, heart attacks and strokes and exposure to contaminants. [26][27] Research has demonstrated a calcium wash or a loss of calcium and other critical minerals like potassium, magnesium and iron from the blood stream as a direct result of dairy consumption starting at 24 ounces per day. [28] Low animal protein diets create a positive calcium balance, whereas high animal protein diets create a negative balance resulting in bone density loss. While many have turned to low fat dairy products, these products contain higher concentrations of protein. Low fat and particularly non-fat dairy products have actually been shown to increase osteoporosis, kidney problems and some cancers. [29]

See also meat & dairy industry, sections 4 & 5 & section 6 on animal products & health issues.

The prostate cancer predicament

For many men diagnosed with prostate cancer, the treatment may be worse than the disease

To screen or not to screen? For prostate cancer—the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, after lung cancer—that is the bedeviling question.

The dilemma springs the wide variation in the potential of prostate cancers to spread to the rest of the body. The vast majority of these malignancies, especially those discovered with the extensively used prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, test, are slow-growing tumors that are unlikely to cause a man any harm during his lifetime. Yet in 10 to 15 percent of cases, the cancer is aggressive and advances beyond the prostate, sometimes turning lethal.

Murky diagnoses

The dilemma has become more urgent in recent years as widespread screening with PSA in the U.S. and around the world has led to a sharp increase in the number of detected prostate cancers. Currently, there is no way to accurately determine at the time of diagnosis which cancers are likely to threaten a man’s health and which are not. As a result, almost all men with PSA-detected cancer opt for treatment, which can leave long-lasting physical and emotional scars.

lorelei mucci

“One of the biggest challenges in oncology is to distinguish men who have a potentially lethal form of prostate cancer from those with a more slow-growing disease.”
—Lorelei Mucci, ScD ’03, associate professor of epidemiology

Put simply: with prostate cancer, the cure may be worse than the disease. The dilemma was underscored in May 2012, when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a strongly worded final recommendation against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer. According to the task force, “[M]any men are harmed as a result of prostate cancer screening and few, if any, benefit.” In a study of U.S. men who were randomly screened, the screening did not reduce prostate cancer death (though a similar study among European men did find a lower risk of cancer death). In any case, experts agree that prostate cancer has been vastly overdiagnosed as a result of screening.

So what should patients and doctors do? At Harvard School of Public Health, the prostate cancer epidemiology team—which includes more than 25 faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and student researchers—is developing the science to answer that question, identifying both the risk factors behind the deadliest variations of prostate cancer and the lifestyle changes that may lower the risk of aggressive disease.

“One of the biggest challenges in oncology is to distinguish men who have a potentially lethal form of prostate cancer from those with a more slow-growing disease,” says Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH. “Our research aims to directly address that question, as well as to find opportunities to reduce risk of dying from cancer after diagnosis.”

Aggressive or slow-growing?

When it became widely available in the late 1980s, the PSA screening test was hailed as a simple way to uncover possible malignancy. But PSA screening, which was adopted without evidence of its usefulness, turned out to be a poor indicator of cancer, in two ways. First, it creates false positives in men who may simply have elevated antigen levels from other conditions, such as benign enlargement of the prostate gland. These patients often endure subsequent invasive biopsies but never go on to develop prostate cancer. Second, even when the test correctly identifies prostate cancer, many of the diagnosed patients never develop the deadly form of the disease.

“PSA screening has been a disaster,” says Hans-Olov Adami, former chair and now adjunct professor of HSPH’s Department of Epidemiology, who has opposed the test for 20 years. “We overdiagnose many men who would die of other causes.” In fact, a multinational study of cancer registries published by Adami, Mucci, and other HSPH colleagues in July 2012 found that the most common causes of death among prostate cancer patients—65 percent of patients in Sweden and 84 percent in the U.S.—are heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or other cancers.

What may protect against advanced prostate cancer?

Yet these patients frequently underwent radical treatments for their prostate cancer—interventions such as radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy, which can produce severe side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction. “While we are uncertain about the number of deaths that screening prevents,” says Adami, “we are certain that the price for any reduction in deaths from prostate cancer is very high.”

A study published in August 2012 in the New England Journal of Medicine found no difference in survival between men who had surgery for prostate cancer and those under “watchful waiting,” in which the doctor withholds treatment while carefully monitoring the progress of the cancer. “This is a very perplexing observation,” Adami says, “because screening reduces mortality only if treatment makes a difference in outcomes. This indicates there are still big question marks in how doctors and patients should respond to this diagnosis.” As the USPSTF noted last May, “[R]esearch is urgently needed to identify new screening methods that can distinguish nonprogressive or slowly progressive disease from disease that is likely to affect quality or length of life.”

“ Men with at least three hours of vigorous physcial activity a week had at least a 60 percent lower risk of prostate cancer death.” —Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology

“ Men with at least three hours of vigorous physical activity a week had at least a 60 percent lower risk of prostate cancer death.”
—Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology


Clues in diet and lifestyle

To clarify the prognosis for a tumor, HSPH researchers are homing in on other factors that might affect susceptibility to prostate cancer, especially the aggressive form of the disease.Edward Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology, recently looked at nine diet and lifestyle factors. He found that smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity raise the risk of developing a more virulent cancer. According to Giovannucci, “The question is whether there are two types of prostate cancer–an aggressive and nonaggressive form–or whether certain factors cause a nonaggressive form to become more aggressive.” Evidence provided by HSPH researchers suggests that an increase in insulin in the bloodstream, caused by obesity and physical inactivity, may encourage tumor growth.

Other investigations have linked dietary factors to the disease. A 2011 study by HSPH research associate Kathryn Wilson, together with Mucci and Giovannucci, professor of nutrition and epidemiology Meir Stampfer, and other colleagues, found that men who drank coffee had a notably lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Those who consumed six cups or more a day were 20 percent less likely to develop any form of the disease, and 60 percent less likely to develop a lethal disease; those who consumed one to three cups a day showed no difference in developing any form of the disease, but had a 30 percent lower risk of developing a lethal form.

Jennifer Rider, instructor inepidemiology at HSPH, has studied parasitic infection and prostate cancer.

Jennifer Rider, instructor in epidemiology at HSPH, has studied parasitic infection and prostate cancer.

Another, more surprising, study revealed that consuming tomato sauce was associated with a markedly lower risk of prostate cancer. In fact, men who had two or more servings of tomato sauce a week were about 20 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer, and about 35 percent less likely to die from the disease. A separate report in 2009 by Mucci and Giovannucci found that the overgrowth of blood vessels might be one of the most reliable indicators of whether a tumor will spread. After sifting through genetic and lifestyle factors that might lead to the growth of these vessels, they found that the antioxidant lycopene was the item most strongly associated with lower blood vessel formation.

Another factor that might determine the difference between a harmless and a lethal form of prostate cancer is the sexually transmitted parasitic infection Trichomonas vaginalis. By itself, the infection rarely produces symptoms in men (who are often treated only after their female partners show signs of infection). In a 2009 study, led by HSPH instructor in epidemiology Jennifer Rider, infected men had a much higher incidence of prostate cancer spreading to the bone or death from prostate cancer. “The good news is that if the association between the infection and lethal prostate cancer is confirmed, there is an effective antibiotic treatment,” Rider says.

To treat or not to treat?

“Up until now, with a few notable exceptions, doctors have myopically focused on treating prostate cancer,” says Adami. “They are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on chemotherapy that has minimal effects on cancer mortality, often with substantial side effects. But we ignore entirely the fact that large groups of prostate cancer patients die from other causes that actually are preventable.”

By focusing on lifestyle changes, he adds, men can achieve three goals simultaneously: diminishing the risk of dying from common conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, improving quality of life overall, and perhaps also improving the prognosis for prostate cancer. In particular, stopping smoking and increasing physical activity after diagnosis can substantially cut the risk of developing aggressive prostate cancer. “Men with at least three hours of vigorous physical activity a week had at least a 60 percent lower risk of prostate cancer death,” says Giovannucci. “It’s a strong association.”

Among older patients especially, that activity can take the form of vigorous walking. Recently, Mucci has spearheaded an intervention with Adami and other colleagues in Sweden, Iceland, and Ireland in which men walk in groups with a nurse three times a week. In a pilot study, researchers found improvements in just 12 weeks in body weight, blood pressure, sleep, urinary function, and mental health.

Scientists at HSPH are also searching for genetic and lifestyle markers that help predict how aggressive a patient’s prostate cancer will be. For example, an ongoing project led by Mucci and Adami draws on detailed cancer registries in Nordic countries, including an analysis of 300,000 twins, to tease out the relative contribution of different genes to prostate cancer incidence and survival.

Until all these associations come to light, doctors and patients will be confronted with weighty decisions about treatment. Surgery, radiation, or chemo might still be the wisest course of action in instances where the cancer has clearly already advanced, or when a patient is young and otherwise in good health. In situations where men are older or face a higher risk for other diseases, improvements in diet and lifestyle may be more effective not only in subduing the cancer but also in boosting general well-being. As Mucci puts it, “Our hope is that clinicians will use the prostate cancer diagnosis as a teachable moment to reflect on the global health of the patient.”

Michael Blanding is a Boston-based journalist and author of The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink.

Reducing the harm caused by screening mammography

By Charles Wright

Women have a right to be confused about whether they should have screening mammography or not. They have been told for two generations that it is life-saving.

They have been bombarded by messages from healthcare professionals and public health programs urging them to comply: “If you don’t go for regular mammograms you need more than your breasts examined”; “Give your mother the gift of life for mother’s day — give her a mammogram”; “Mammograms can detect breast cancer when it is still curable.” Health agencies and ministries have enthusiastically supported breast screening as a demonstration of their commitment to women’s health.

When first introduced in the 1970s there was good reason for the hope that mammography would be a major tool in dealing with the scourge of breast cancer and that early diagnosis and treatment would translate into many lives saved.

A huge industry to support the demand was built involving doctors, radiologists, technicians and equipment manufacturers. The many adverse consequences of breast screening have been well known since the beginning but they were generally deemed acceptable at first with the prospect of saving women’s lives. With hindsight this was a mistake.

What has only more recently been recognized, quantified and publicized, is just how serious the negative effects are in relation to how very small the potential benefits.

The facts have now been clearly presented by many independent expert groups, including the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, the U.S. Agency for Health Care and Quality and the Cochrane International Collaboration. Public understanding is not helped by debates about relative and absolute death rate results. But the easy way to grasp the results is to consider what happens to a large group of women, say 2,000, who are screened regularly for 10 years.

One woman will have her life prolonged while 700 will have at least one false-positive mammogram with all the resultant anxiety and further investigations, 70-80 will have unnecessary biopsies and at least 10 women will be diagnosed and treated for a ‘cancer’ that would never have developed in any case.

In addition, several women will have a false-negative mammogram that failed to show a real cancer that shows up soon after.

Cancer of the breast can be a devastating disease and almost every woman knows of a friend or relative who had breast cancer successfully treated after a screening mammogram.  The cruel reality is that the screening so rarely brings any change to the eventual result.

For the one in 2,000 who benefits, more than 800 are harmed.

What can be done about the current confusion and conflicting advice on the subject? Concerning the support of screening programs we have to decide whether to heed the consistent findings of independent experts, or the advice of those with a large vested interest in the screening industry. John Maynard Keynes, the famous economist, famously responded to a challenge that he had changed his opinion on a disputed topic, saying, “When the facts change, I change my mind.  What do you do, sir?”

It may take a long time to dispel the false hope that has been given to women, but public education dealing with the current evidence will have to be planned and presented. There is a more immediate need to replace current advocacy with honesty and balance in how the facts are presented.

In every medical test or procedure the potential benefit and harm must be considered, and it is now clear that in the case of screening mammography the harms tip the scale heavily.

At the very least a consent form summarizing the facts clearly and in plain language should have to be signed by women presenting for screening while plans for gradual re-allocation of resources are developed.

Some women may wish to continue with regular screening in spite of this information but unfortunately we now know that mammography does not pass the test for any acceptable screening program designed for the general population: namely, that it must cause significant benefit with insignificant harm.

Dr. Charles Wright is an expert advisor with He is also councillor with the Health Council of Canada.

Researchers Unveil Six Dietary Guidelines for Cancer Prevention

WASHINGTON—Six dietary guidelines – more aggressive than previous cancer prevention advice will be unveiled in the June 30 issue of theJournal of the American College of Nutrition.

The cancer prevention guidelines, emphasizing a diet rich in plant-based foods, such as soy beans and cruciferous, allium, and carotenoid vegetables, are based on the principle that diet changes are justified, even when evidence on certain issues are up for debate. The recommendations urge the same kind of precautionary approach health experts took against tobacco decades earlier, before smoking bans were enforced, and warn about the association between cancer and alcohol, red and processed meats, dairy products, and carcinogens in well-cooked meats, including beef, poultry, and fish.

“The key recommendation is to build meals around fruits, vegetables, and legumes,” says study author Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the nonprofit Physicians Committee and an adjunct associate professor of medicine at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “Plant-based foods provide an antioxidant boost and help promote a healthy weight, reducing the risk for all types of cancer in the long run.”

The six dietary recommendations to reduce risk of several types of cancer are:

1. Limit or avoid dairy products to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

Findings: Consuming thirty-five grams of dairy protein each day, the equivalent of one large cup of cottage cheese, increases risk of prostate cancer by 32 percent. Drinking two glasses of milk each day increases risk of prostate cancer by 60 percent.

Note: Calcium supplements appear to have the same effect as milk intake. Men who supplement with more than 400 milligrams of calcium per day increase risk for fatal prostate cancer by 51 percent.

2. Limit or avoid alcohol to reduce the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon, rectum, and breast.

Findings: One drink per week increases risk of mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancers by 24 percent. Two to three drinks per day increase risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.

Note: The alcohol itself (rather than additives) appears to be the cause of cancer, and all types of alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, and spirits) are problematic.

3. Avoid red and processed meats to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon and rectum.

Findings: Each 50-gram daily serving of processed meat, equivalent to two slices of bacon or one sausage link, increases risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent. Each 120-gram daily serving of red meat, equivalent to a small steak, increases risk of colorectal cancer by 28 percent.

Note: The heme iron, nitrites, heterocyclic amines, and overabundance of essential amino acids in red and processed meats are all believed to contribute to cancerous cell growth in the body.

4. Avoid grilled, fried, and broiled meats to reduce the risk of cancers of the colon, rectum, breast, prostate, kidney, and pancreas.

Findings: Four types of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are associated with cancer of the colon and rectum. HCAs form from creatine and amino acids in cooked skeletal muscle, increasing with higher cooking times and higher temperatures. When ingested, HCAs can disrupt DNA synthesis.

Note: In addition to the cancers listed above, HCAs are also associated, to a weaker extent, with cancers of the breast, prostate, kidney, and pancreas.

5. Consume soy products to reduce risk of breast cancer and to reduce the risk of recurrence and mortality for women previously treated for breast cancer

Findings: Evidence from Asian and Western countries shows that soy products are associated with reduced cancer risk. Chinese women who consume more than 11.3 grams of soy protein, equivalent to half a cup of cooked soybeans, each day during adolescence have a 43 percent reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer, compared with women who consume 1.7 grams.

Research in Shanghai shows that women with breast cancer who consume 11 grams of soy protein each day can reduce mortality and risk of recurrence by about 30 percent.  U.S. populations show similar findings: the higher the isoflavone intake from soy products, the less risk of mortality and recurrence in women with breast cancer.

Note: When choosing soy products, opt for natural forms, such as edamame, tempeh, or organic tofu, as opposed to soy protein concentrates and isolates, common in powders and pills.

6. Emphasize fruits and vegetables to reduce risk of several common forms of cancer.

Findings: Fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, help reduce overall cancer risk. A high intake of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage, is associated with an 18 percent reduced risk of colorectal cancer and reduced risk of lung and stomach cancers.

Women who consume the most carotenoid-rich vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, lower their risk of breast cancer by 19 percent. Overall, women who consume the highest quantities of any kind of fruit or vegetable reduce breast cancer risk by 11 percent.  A high intake of tomato products has been shown to reduce risk of gastric cancer by 27 percent. Garlic and other allium vegetables, such as onions, significantly reduce risk for gastric cancer, while a Western diet (high amounts of meat and fat with minimal amounts of fruits and vegetables) doubles the risk.

Note: Some components in soybeans, green tea, turmeric, grapes, tomatoes, and other plant foods have the ability to regulate apoptosis (a natural process for destroying unhealthy cells), an important pathway for cancer prevention.

six dietary guidelines for cancer prevention
Dietary Guidelines for Cancer Prevention (PDF)

“There’s considerable benefit–and no harm—in loading up with plant-based foods,” notes study author Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee. “Large bodies of research show fruits, vegetables, and legumes offer a variety of protective properties, so why not move these foods to the center of our plates?”

The World Health Organization states that a significant percentage of cancers can be prevented by following a healthful diet, avoiding tobacco, leading an active lifestyle, and limiting alcohol intake.

In Control of Cancer

In Control of Cancer

By Allison Murphy
Health and wellness teacher and graduate of the CNS Plant-Based Nutrition Program

I sat in sheer terror as my brain surgeon diagnosed me with the identical tumor that killed my father:

A right frontal lobe glioblastoma. Although there were no symptoms to speak of I was told that “it must come out right away”. My immediate response was, “What do you mean? I just had two spine surgeries and I can’t go through something like this now!?”

I had always maintained a healthy lifestyle, unlike my parents, so I truly believed that cancer and its traditional western treatments (radiation, chemical therapy, and/or surgery) would not be the impetus that would end my life. Both of my parents passed away from cancer/chemical therapy. I watched my mother live with her ovarian cancer but it was the chemical therapy that turned off her immune system. Her failing kidneys are what put her into her final hospital stay. Then followed the morphine regimen that led her into her deepest slumber. I watched and listened as doctors behaved in a typical, “She has no other choices” fashion. I recall my mom’s fear; she was not ready to pass and I was not ready to let her go. She did die one year after my father passed from his brain tumor.

So when I sat in front of my own brain surgeon, his (very western) medical response was similar; “It must come out”. I immediately said, “No!” as I began sobbing. My surgeon got up and pulled down the blinds so I could cry in privacy. I finally got up to leave and went home. Working as a teacher in an affluent suburb of New York City allowed me to connect with all sorts of resources so I immediately called a parent in our community who was a surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering. He was kind enough to make me an appointment for me the very next day.

Sloan’s response to my brain tumor was that it was something that “we should keep our eyes on” and not resort to surgery. I was thankful. I remember reading T. Colin Campbell’s , The China Study , a few years back and realizing that if the patient reduces his/her consumption of animal protein that most tumors will actually shrink and the body will heal itself. 1

I was and am a Health Educator and Nutritional Consultant and re-read the book. Soon after that I read about and enrolled in the eCornell certificate course, “Plant-Based Nutrition Course” which re-fueled my decision to eliminate animal protein from my diet.

After that initial diagnosis and taking “Plant-Based Nutrition Course”, I decided to perform my own experiment at which I began consuming a plant-based diet, eliminating most if not all animal products. Within 1 year after I made the change to a plant-based diet I received the news that my tumor was shrinking. However slow, it lost its ability to thrive and that’s due to the nourishment my body was receiving from all of the plant foods I’ve been eating and taking away the tumor’s primary growth factor, animal protein! I must also mention how many other things in my life began to change: my ability to focus improved, my mood stabilized, my skin cleared, and I had much more energy. I felt so much better in all areas of my life.

Recently I met and fell in love with someone who loves to eat animal protein. We both LOVE food and I must admit that since we have been together, I began to increase my intake of animal products, knowing certainly that my next MRI would show either an increase in tumor size or at least no more of a reduction in size and I was right. My last MRI illustrated that my tumor remained the same size. Although grateful there was no growth I knew the result would not show any reduction due to my increased intake of animal protein. Of course since then I have been eating almost no animal products and cannot wait to hear that my tumor is once again shrinking!


Red and Processed Meat Endangers Health

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bacon and sausage

Red and Processed Meat Endangers Health

Red and processed meat products increase women’s disease risk, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers from Harvard analyzed the diets and blood of 3,690 participants from the Nurses’ Health Study and found that as total red meat consumption increased, C-reactive protein (CRP, a biomarker of infections and diseases including heart disease and cancer), hemoglobin A1c (an indicator of diabetes risk), and stored iron (a mineral which in excess is associated with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes) also increased. Weight and calorie intake also increased with increased intake of red and processed meat products.





This simple spinach-and-mushroom lasagna is a perfect dish to serve to the whole family for the holidays.

To make this dish even easier, use a jarred marinara sauce. Just make sure it is filled with simple, plant-based ingredients!

Makes 12 servings


1/4 cup water
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, grated
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 1/2 pound)
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes, low-sodium
1 28-ounce can tomato sauce, low-sodium
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound firm tofu, low-fat
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons soy sauce, low-sodium
1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
12 ounces dry lasagna noodles (about 10 noodles)


Sauté onion and carrot in water, add more liquid as needed. Cook over high heat, stirring often until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add garlic and mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, about 5 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, thyme, fennel seeds, and cayenne. Simmer 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mash tofu in a mixing bowl, then stir in parsley and soy sauce.

To assemble, spread 1 cup of sauce in a 9″×13″ (or larger) baking dish. Cover with a layer of uncooked noodles, half the tofu mixture, and half the spinach.

Spread with half of remaining sauce.

Repeat layers of noodles, tofu, spinach, and sauce. Cover tightly with foil and bake until noodles are tender, about 1 hour. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: This lasagna may be assembled up to a day in advance and baked just before serving. The noodles will soften while the lasagna stands, so the baking time can be reduced to 30 minutes.

Per 1-cup serving: 172 calories; 2.5 g fat; 0.4 g saturated fat; 12% calories from fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 9.8 g protein; 31.6 g carbohydrates; 5.9 g sugar; 5.8 g fiber; 123 mg sodium; 87 mg calcium; 3.5 mg iron; 13.4 mg vitamin C; 1,973 mcg beta carotene; 2.1 mg vitamin E

Adapted From: Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

Please feel free to tailor PCRM recipes to suit your individual dietary needs.


Milk and Prostate Cancer: The Evidence Mounts


Could milk cause prostate cancer? Here are the facts: Major studies suggesting a link between milk and prostate cancer have appeared in medical journals since the 1970s. Two of six cohort studies (research studies following groups of people over time) found increased risk with higher milk intakes. Five studies comparing cancer patients to healthy individuals found a similar association. One of these, conducted in northern Italy, found that frequent dairy consumption could increase risk by two and one-half times.1

In 1997, the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research concluded that dairy products should be considered a possible contributor to prostate cancer. And yet another research study came out in April 2000 pointing to a link between dairy and prostate cancer: Harvard’s Physicians’ Health Study followed 20,885 men for 11 years, finding that having two and one-half dairy servings each day boosted prostate cancer risk by 34 percent, compared to having less than one-half serving daily.2

A Smoking Gun?

Researchers are looking, not only at whether milk increases cancer risk, but how. The answer, apparently, is in the way milk affects a man’s hormones. Dairy products boost the amount of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) in the blood. In turn, IGF-I promotes cancer cell growth.3-5 A small amount is normally in the bloodstream, but several recent studies have linked increased IGF-I levels to prostate cancer and possibly to breast cancer as well.

Milk does other mischief. Its load of calcium depletes the body’s vitamin D, which, in turn, may add to cancer risk. Most dairy products are also high in fat, which affects the activity of sex hormones that play a major role in cancer.

And it would come as no surprise that milk might affect the growth of cancer cells. After all, its biological purpose is to support rapid growth in all parts of a calf’s body. After the age of weaning, calves (like all mammals) have no need for milk at all, and there is never a need to drink the milk of another species.

Researchers are investigating whether dairy products might be culprits in other forms of the disease. Ovarian cancer, in particular, may be linked to galactose, a sugar produced from the milk sugar lactose. Yogurt, cheese, “lactose-free” milk, and other dairy products contain substantial amounts of galactose.

Other parts of the diet affect cancer risk, too. Meat and fatty foods in general are implicated in increased risk, while tomatoes, watermelons, and other bright red fruits contain lycopene, which reduces cancer risk.

The bottom line: While researchers will study the causes of cancer for years to come, health-conscious families may well want to trade dairy—and all animal products—for a healthy, vegan diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. When to make the switch? Evidence suggests that the earlier in life healthy diet habits begin, the better your protection.

What!? Does Everything Cause Cancer?

As a matter of fact, no. Whole grains, beans and other legumes, vegetables, and fruits are cancer fighters. Plant foods are low in fat, high in fiber, and loaded with protective cancer-fighting nutrients. But animal products—meat, dairy, eggs—are linked to several forms of the disease. They contain plenty of fat to harbor cancer-causing chemicals and to drive up the levels of cancer-promoting hormones in your body. They have no fiber that would normally sweep carcinogens from your digestive tract and are low in cancer-fighting antioxidants. And under cooking temperatures, the creatine, amino acids, and natural sugars in meat can actually turn into cancer-causing chemicals.

A cancer-prevention diet includes plenty of:

  • Vegetables: sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spinach, asparagus
  • Fruits: strawberries, kiwi, melon, bananas, apples
  • Whole grains: breads, cereal, oatmeal, pasta, rice
  • Legumes: beans, peas, lentils

The most healthful diets eliminate meat, dairy products, eggs, and fried foods. To make the transition easy, you may wish to use rice milk, soymilk, meat substitutes, or egg substitutes.

1. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Re-search. Food, Nutrition, and the Prevention of Cancer: A Global Perspective. American Institute for Cancer Research, Washington, D.C., 1997, p. 322.
2. Chan JM, Stampfer MJ, Ma J, Ajani U, Gaziano JM, Giovannucci E. Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk in the Physicians’ Health Study. Presentation, American Association for Cancer Research, San Francisco, April 2000.
3. Cohen P. Serum insulin-like growth factor-I levels and prostate cancer risk—interpreting the evidence. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1998;90:876-879.
4. Cadogan J, Eastell R, Jones N, Barker ME. Milk intake and bone mineral acquisition in adolescent girls: randomised, controlled intervention trial. BMJ. 1997;315:1255-1260.
5. Heaney RP, McCarron DA, Dawson-Hughes B, et al. Dietary changes favorably affect bone remodeling in older adults.J Am Dietetic Asso. 1999;99:1228-1233.