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Cancer Wars: How Politics Shapes What We Know And Don't Know About Cancer Paperback – April 14, 1996


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; 1ST edition (April 14, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465008593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465008599
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,588,065 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Proctor estimates that former Presidents Reagan and Bush, by dismantling and defunding occupational, environmental and consumer product safety agencies, may have caused 600,000 additional cancer deaths in the nation over 12 years. Professor of the history of science at Pennsylvania State University, he mounts a devastating critique of trade associations of the tobacco, meat, chlorine and asbestos industries, which, in his view, co-opt scientific research to create and exploit uncertainty over the carcinogenic risks of their products. Next he disputes the notion, popularized by Berkeley biochemist Bruce Ames, that natural carcinogens in foods pose a far greater health hazard than industrial pollutants or pesticides. Noting that the National Cancer Institute spends less than 3% of its budget on anti-smoking efforts, even though 30% of cancer deaths result from cigarettes, this forceful, scholarly study urges greater efforts to encourage cancer prevention, including a halt to tobacco subsidies, stiffer supervision of pesticides and federal support for alternatives to petrochemical agriculture. First serial to Sciences.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Science historian Proctor discusses not only the war fought against cancer but especially the several wars fought over cancer. He notes several prominent, disturbing facts: despite 20 or more years of heavily funded and widely proclaimed cancer research, cancer has become the second-most frequent cause of death in the United States and other developed nations; the five-year survival rates for most cancers have not changed since 1972; and, alas, the incidence of some cancers has increased. Despite widespread recognition that the principal causal agents of cancer are environmental, conflicts over the causes and prevention of cancer persist among scientists, between industrial corporations and regulatory agencies, and between environmentalists and manufacturers. The origin, persistence, and effects of these conflicts form the central questions examined here. Proctor holds that cancer research is often subtly and sometimes overtly affected by politics. Why, he asks, has the so-called cancer establishment devoted far more time and money to investigating the mechanisms of cancer than to its prevention? This fascinating but well-documented book should be profitably read by all informed readers.
James D. Haug, East Carolina Univ. Lib., Greenville, N.C.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
I ardently wish that everyone- simply everyone- would read this book: it would save a great many lives. The author bulldozes through society's ideological rubbish and presents cancer in a fresh, new light. It is the responsibility of individual persons to uncover the true nature of the medical establishment, to see its goodness as well as its greed and gore, and to plan an escape route from this American epidemic. Prevention is almost everything, but preparation is also critical. This book will assist you in both endeavors. It is a magnificently informative, enjoyable, and eloquent book. Six stars.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Allan Mazur on February 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
American views of the causes of cancer are only partly the result of developing science. Proctor shows how our ideas about this disease were influenced by prominent spokespeople with special interests and by broader social trends. He wisely questions our prevailing policy of cure rather than prevention.
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By G.A.Elbek on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A true story of how War on Cancer turns from focus on the cause to focus on corporate profits through cancer treatment and the ongoing governement withholding of the known toxic causes of cancer. Protect profits not human health...sad but true!
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8 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Winfield J. Abbe, Ph. D., Physics on January 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
Professor Proctor uses many words to talk about prevention, even mentions on page 145 quoting one Thomas Culliney of the USDA Forest Service, listing a number of fruits and vegetables "...are outstanding sources of vitamins A and C--both of which may play a role in reducing human cancers." Yet apparently no mention of Linus Pauling, Ph. D., or Max Gerson, M.D., the earlier researchers who vigorously stressed their importance in treatment and prevention of cancer. (1), (2). While "Genetic Hopes" (Chapter 10) are promoted, he omits any mention of the seminal discoveries of Otto Warburg, M.D., Ph.D., who has been described as "the greatest biochemist of the twentieth century", of cancer cell metabolism, as early as 1923. These discoveries have been discussed in articles in the journal "Science" about 1956 (which was a translated speech Dr. Warburg gave before the German Cancer Control Commission in 1955) and later articles by Dr. Warburg (3). He and his pupil Dean Burk stated "1000 papers" supported their conclusions, yet Proctor makes no reference to him in about 360 references. Max Gerson, M.D., referenced Otto Warburg as authoriity for his treatment (1). In a 1967 statement on "the prime cause of cancer", Dr. Warburg wrote regarding cancer prevention (3):
"To prevent cancer it is therefore proposed first to keep the speed of the bloodstream so high that the venous blood still contains sufficient oxygen; second, to keep high the concentration of haemoglobin in the blood; third, to add always to the food, even of healthy people, the active groups of the respiratory enzymes: and to increase the dose of these groups, if a pre-cancerous state has already developed.
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