The never ending search for the cure…
The National Cancer Act became law back in 1971 when President Richard Nixon began appropriating funds with the hope of finding a cure for cancer. Since that date we have spent billions of dollars in search of that elusive cure. The National Cancer Institute has spent over $90 billion on research and treatments, and there are over 260 nonprofit organizations that have dedicated themselves to cancer research with budgets exceeding $2.2 billion.
But what has all of that spending really accomplished?
Data gathered from 2005-2009, reveals that the reductions in overall deaths from cancer were only 1.8% a year for men, and 1.5% for women. This small decrease was disappointing to many experts in the field because it is no greater than the previous 5 year time period and because it doesn’t reflect all of the supposed advances that we often hear about that promote early detection and treatment.
Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical and scientific officer of the American Cancer Society says. “The decrease in cancer mortality is driven largely by the decrease in cancer incidence which is mostly due to the decrease in smoking.” Smoking has been linked to more than a dozen cancers, including lung, head, neck, bladder and mouth. Dr Brawley says, “Although improvements in treatment for breast and some other cancers have cut death rates, headline-making new drugs have contributed little. Most of the expensive new drugs prolong survival for no more than three or four months on average.”
From 1975 to 2007, breast cancer rates have increased by one third and prostate cancer rates have soared by 50 percent. This rise is mainly due to the widespread use of digital mammography and PSA screenings that are detecting many precancerous and noncancerous conditions that would not have been found otherwise, and in most cases would not have turned into a life threatening situation. We treat these patients very aggressively with chemotherapy, radiation and surgery and then claim victory over their “disease.” Doctors know that approximately 10% of localized lung cancer tumors and 20% – 30% of localized breast cancer tumors that are found through advanced screening would never cause a patient harm. Dr Brawley says. “That tumor would just stay there: never grow, never spread.” The rate is even higher for prostate cancer at 60%. Brawley says. “We cure and treat some people who don’t need to be treated. And in return, we save some lives.” Read more here: Cancer: Over-tested and over-treated
Almost 1.6 million people were diagnosed with cancer in 2011, and the rates of certain cancers have continued to rise. An upward trend is especially apparent in kidney, liver, thyroid, melanoma, lymphoma, childhood leukemia, and brain cancers which all have steadily increased since the mid-1970’s.
How effective are chemotherapy and radiation for cancer?
Chemotherapy causes damage to healthy cells and triggers them to secrete a protein that sustains tumor growth and resistance to further treatment, reports a recent study. Researchers in the US made this “completely unexpected” finding while seeking to explain why cancer cells are so resilient inside the human body when they are easily killed in the lab.
Researchers tested the effects of chemotherapy on tissue collected from men with prostate cancer and found “evidence of DNA damage in healthy cells after treatment,” wrote scientists in Nature Medicine. Chemotherapy works by inhibiting the reproduction of fast-dividing cells such as those found in tumors. They found that healthy cells that were damaged by chemotherapy secreted more of a protein called WNT16B that works to boost cancer cell survival. “The increase in WNT16B was completely unexpected,” study co-author Peter Nelson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle told AFP. The protein was taken up by tumor cells that neighbored the damaged cells. “WNT16B, when secreted, would interact with nearby tumor cells and cause them to grow, invade, and more importantly, resist subsequent therapy,” said Nelson.
In cancer treatment, tumors often respond well initially, but this is often followed by rapid regrowth and then resistance to further chemotherapy treatments. Rates of tumor cell reproduction have been shown to accelerate between treatments. “Our results indicate that damage responses in benign cells may directly contribute to enhanced tumor growth kinetics,” wrote the team. The researchers said they confirmed their findings with breast and ovarian cancer tumors as well.
Similarly, radiotherapy is known to induce secondary cancers, along with a wide range of serious adverse effects. For example, a woman whose breast has been irradiated is more likely to develop lung cancer. When a breast tumor is exposed to radiation, the cells within that tumor are not uniform but have great heterogeneity. Some of the cells are fast-replicating, whereas some are slow-replicating and benign. Some cells are older, technically senescent, and by their very existence are keeping neighboring cells within the tumor and with greater potential for malignancy from breaking out into invasive growth. There are also cancer stem cells, which are technically slower-replicating and therefore less likely to be destroyed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and yet are responsible for re-seeding and fueling the growth of the tumor itself with a theoretical limitless resupply of daughter cells.
Why are chemo, radiation and surgery the only options offered to patients?
There are serious flaws in our medical system which supports only standard cancer therapies and actively works to suppress or ignore all others, no matter how beneficial they may be. One way this occurs is by requiring that company’s pay more than $300 million dollars in order to run clinical trials to obtain FDA approval. This inflated fee guarantees that only pharmaceutical companies with large amounts of money will ever be able move to their products through the approval process.
There are many natural substances which can be used to build up the immune system, as well as many that are effective at suppressing tumor growth. However, current patent laws exclude the ownership of natural substances, and without patent protection and the ability to make money off of an investment, pharmaceutical companies will not provide the funding needed to move a natural substance through the required clinical trials if they cannot hold a patent on it. In the absence of the necessary clinical trials, these substances cannot legally be used for the treatment of cancer in the United States. This is why there are many alternative treatments available in Europe, Mexico, and Japan, that have not been approved in the US for the treatment of cancer.
Pharmaceutical companies do spend a lot of money trying to make synthetic versions of isolated compounds that are found naturally in plants By doing this, they are able to place patent protection on their money-making “version” of the substance, but in most cases these substances are not proving to be effective. This may be because of the complexity of the compounds that are found in nature have the ability to work synergistically, and this same effect has proven difficult to replicate in the lab.
Chemotherapy for profit- Chemotherapeutic drugs are the only classification of drugs that the prescribing doctor gets a direct cut of. This is a unique situation in medicine because, unlike other kinds of doctors, cancer doctors are allowed to profit directly from the sale of the chemotherapy drugs they are using. “The significant amount of our revenue comes from the profit, if you will, that we make from selling the drugs,” says Dr. Peter Eisenberg, a private physician who specializes in cancer treatment. Doctors in other fields simply write prescriptions. But oncologists make most of their income by buying chemotherapeutic drugs at wholesale prices and then administering them to patients at marked up prices. “So the pressure is frankly on to make money by selling medications,” says Eisenberg. Source Article
97% of the time chemotherapy does not work- Dr Peter Glidden
Nothing can demonstrate the misguided reluctance to investigating new, effective, non-toxic treatments than the Burzynski Documentary, which features Dr Stanislaw Burzynski and his antineoplaston therapy that is proving to be an effective treatment for a variety of cancers, yet the FDA is denying cancer patients access to this therapy.
Watch The Burzynski Movie, Cancer is Serious Business