American Cancer Society Trivializes Cancer Risks: Blatant Conflicts Of Interest

During the May 6 report by the President’s Cancer Panel, scientists warn of avoidable causes of cancer, like air pollution, water pollution, and consumer products. Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition (CPC), says Bisphenol-A (BPA) and other toxic plastic contaminants are bad for your hormones.

Several top scientists and public policy experts urged President Obama’s cancer plan to prioritize prevention in a press release issued on January 23, 2009 by the Cancer Prevention Coalition, which summarizes concerns about preventable causes of cancer. A June 15, 2009 press release detailed these concerns. On May 6, 2010, the CPC released a warning about BPA’s dangers.

In 1975 and 2005, the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) and American Cancer Society’s (ACS) soaring increases in cancer rates illustrate the startling reality of their failure to prevent a wide range of cancers.

These include:

  • As a result of childhood sunscreens that don’t block long wave ultraviolet light, malignant melanoma of the skin has gone up by 168 percent in adults;

  • Ionizing radiation is partly to blame for the rise in thyroid cancer;

  • Phenoxy herbicides and phenylenediamine hair dyes are mostly to blame for the rise in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma;

  • Due to pesticides, hormones in cosmetics, and estrogen residues in meat, testicular cancer has increased by 49 percent.

  • Ionizing radiation, domestic pesticides, nitrite preservatives in meat, especially hot dogs, and parental exposure to occupational carcinogens all contributed to the increase in childhood leukemia;

  • The genital use of talcum powder has led to an increase in ovarian cancer (mortality) for women over 65;

  • An array of factors has contributed to the increase in breast cancer of 17 percent. Birth control pills, estrogen replacement therapy, cosmetics and personal care products that contain toxic hormonal ingredients, diagnostic radiation, and routine premenopausal mammography result in cumulative breast radiation exposure of five rads over the course of a decade.

A cancer risk report released by the President’s Cancer Panel exaggerates preventable cancer risks, according to a study by the American Cancer Society, according to Dr. Epstein.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy, a leading charity watchdog in the nation, warned against the transfer of money from the public purse to the American Cancer Society’s private hands in 1993. A Chronicle report also stated that ACS members are more interested in accumulating wealth than saving lives.

With over four decades of experience behind it, these warnings are fully supported by the ACS’s track record.

  • The ACS refused to testify at congressional hearings calling for FDA to ban the use of diethylstilbestrol, an estrogenic synthetic hormone, on cattle to fatten them before entering feedlots before slaughter, despite unequivocal evidence that it is carcinogenic and the risks associated with eating hormonal meat. The United States’ meat is outlawed in most countries worldwide, which isn’t surprising.

  • While clear evidence existed that paraphenylenediamine, a common part of black hair dyes, could cause non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the ACS opposed regulation.

  • It has resulted in an increase in cancers that could be prevented, according to Tony Mazzocchi, then senior international union labor representative.

  • As a result of the failure of ACS to support the Clean Air Act on behalf of the automobile industry, Congressman Paul Rogers censured it in 1978.

  • A number of governmental organizations worldwide, including the International Agency for Research on Cancer, reject the evidence based on rodent tests adopted by the ACS in 1982.

  • According to the ACS, “early (mammography) detection results in a cure nearly 100 percent of the time. That is why National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was created in 1984. In response to a question, ACS admitted: “Mammography is a highly competitive and lucrative business today.” They also failed to address substantial information about preventable causes of breast cancer during Awareness Month.

  • According to the ACS, chlorinated pesticides persist in the environment and are carcinogenic, despite the fact that they continue to be used.

  • A few months before the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Frontline special “In Our Children’s Food,” the ACS reported pesticides to be the cause of childhood cancer. The ACS even asked, “Can we afford the PBS?”

  • Dark hair dyes are associated with cancer risks that were trivialized by the ACS in 1994.

  • In 1998, the American Cancer Society allocated $330,000 to claimed research on environmental cancer, less than 1% of its then $680 million budget.

  • According to the American Cancer Society, the consumption of genetically modified milk is linked to breast, colon, and prostate cancer, and has been outlawed by most nations worldwide since 1999.

  • “Look Good…Feel Better,” introduced in 1989 by the Cosmetic Toiletry and Fragrance Association, aims at “restoring confidence and self-esteem to women with cancer following chemotherapy and radiation treatment.” Several leading cosmetics industries partnered with this program, withholding information on their products’ carcinogenic and other toxic ingredients recklessly or criminally.

  • As of 2002, the ACS has assured the nation that carcinogenicity exposures from dietary pesticides, “toxic waste at dump sites,” “ionizing radiation from nuclear power plants tightly controlled” and nonionizing radiation are all of such low levels that cancer risks are negligible.” After Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, ACS Past President-Elect, was appointed NCI Director, ACS indifference to cancer prevention became further embedded in national cancer policy.

  • Even an escalating cancer incidence and a $ billion budget do not change the ACS’ apathy to cancer prevention other than smoking.

Cancer prevention is also neglected by the ACS because of conflicts of interest in public relations, Dr. Epstein adds.


  • A large client of Shandwick International, which handled PR for the ACS from 1998 to 2000, was R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings.

  • From 2000 to 2002, Edelman Public Relations handled PR for the ACS, which had clients such as Brown & Williamson Tobacco, the Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris and Kraft, as well as fast food and soft drink companies. As soon as this information was revealed by the CPC, all of these companies were dismissed.


The ACS’s indifference to cancer prevention reflects its dependence on major industry funding. “Excalibur Donors” have contributed more than $100,000 to ACS, many of whom continue to manufacture carcinogenic products.

These include:

  • Petrochemical companies (DuPont; BP; and Pennzoil)

  • Industrial waste companies (BFI Waste Systems)

  • Junk food companies (Wendy’s International; McDonalds’s; Unilever/Best Foods; and Coca-Cola)

  • Big Pharma (AstraZenceca; Bristol Myers Squibb; GlaxoSmithKline; Merck & Company; and Novartis)

  • Biotech companies (Amgen; and Genentech)

  • Cosmetic companies (Christian Dior; Avon; Revlon; Elizabeth Arden; and Estee Lauder)

  • Auto companies (Nissan; General Motors)

According to Dr. Epstein, despite this long-standing history of flagrant conflicts of interest, as reported by the New York Times on December 8, 2009, the ACS states it is “committed to public transparency and accountability.”

Professor Epstein emeritus at the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago is a specialist in environmental and occupational medicine; chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; 2005 Albert Schweitzer Golden Grand Medalist for International Contributions to Cancer Prevention;

A leading authority on cancer causes and prevention, he has authored over 270 scientific articles and 20 books, including Toxic Beauty (2009, BenBella Books) and Cancer-Gate: How To Win The Losing Cancer War (2005, Baywood Publishing).

ww newsletter

Subscribe to Email Updates :

About the author

Alex Jones

Alex Jones is a tech-savvy editor at World-Wire, renowned for his expertise in writing detailed technical articles and user-friendly how-to guides. With a background in Information Technology, he excels in demystifying complex tech topics. His work is highly valued for its accuracy and practicality, earning him awards like "Innovator in Tech Journalism" in 2023. Alex's role at World-Wire is pivotal in making technology accessible to a broad audience.

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment