Web Note: This is part of a series the NYT is doing on cancer. Another article appeared in today’s NYT, the next in the series. We can only hope that they manage to put two and two together here and have some real discussion on connections between the number of toxic chemicals that people are exposed to, poor diet and the ever-rising rates of cancer. Let’s talk about preventing cancer by cleaning up our food supply, NYT!
In 1971, flush with the nation’s success in putting a man on the Moon, President Richard M. Nixon announced a new goal. Cancer would be cured by 1976, the bicentennial.
When 1976 came and went, the date for a cure, or at least substantial progress, kept being put off. It was going to happen by 2000, then by 2015.
Now, President Barack Obama, discussing his plans for health care, has vowed to find “a cure” for cancer in our time and said that, as part of the economic stimulus package, he would increase federal money for cancer research by a third for the next two years.
Cancer has always been an expensive priority. Since the war on cancer began, the National Cancer Institute, the federal government’s main cancer research entity, with 4,000 employees, has alone spent $105 billion. And other government agencies, universities, drug companies and philanthropies have chipped in uncounted billions more.
Yet the death rate for cancer, adjusted for the size and age of the population, dropped only 5 percent from 1950 to 2005. In contrast, the death rate for heart disease dropped 64 percent in that time, and for flu and pneumonia, it fell 58 percent.
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