The New York Times columnist Gina Kolata says that “the links between environment and cancer are enigmatic” (Dec. 13, 05). According to her, cancer statistics don’t show a cancer epidemic, and cancer rates have been dropping since 1950, apart from cancers caused by tobacco.
This claim, however, is at odds with the latest data available from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in its “Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2002.” As a result of decreased smoking among men, lung cancer incidence has decreased significantly during this period. In the meantime, a large number of cancers not related to smoking have been on the rise. Among these were non-Hodgkin’ lymphoma, which jumped by 74%; acute childhood leukemia, which jumped by 68%; childhood brain cancer, which jumped by 52%; acute adult leukemia, which jumped by 56%; and testes cancer, which jumped by 51%. Despite the $50 billion NCI funding, which primarily focuses on diagnosis, treatment, and treatment-related research, with little funding for cancer prevention research, overall mortality rates have remained virtually unchanged.
Unlike Kolata, extensive published research indicates that there are avoidable exposures to carcinogens in all areas of the environment, from air to water to workplace to consumer products like food, cosmetics and toiletries to household products. Approximately 100 leading scientific experts on cancer prevention and epidemiology have endorsed the Cancer Prevention Coalition’s 2003 “The Stop Cancer Before It Starts Campaign.” This information has been summarized in the campaign. The Cancer Prevention Coalition can be found at: www.preventcancer.com Further details are provided in Dr. Richard Clapp’s review of environmental and occupational causes of cancer published by the University of Massachusetts School of Public Health in September 2005. In addition, Kolata’s article is consistent with her long history of extreme anti-environmental and pro-corporate bias. An objective report on such critical national issues could surely be published in the New York Times.
Subscribe to Email Updates :