chapter  Chapter 7
31 Pages

The Crisis in U.S. and International Cancer Policy

WithSamuel S. Epstein

Pressured by leading representatives of the cancer establishment, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Cancer Society (ACS), the US Congress passed the National Cancer Act in 1971. The act launched the National Cancer Program, under the direction of the NCI, to attack and eradicate cancer and “to disseminate cancer information to the public.” In 1984, reacting to growing concerns about increasing cancer mortality rates, blamed on lack of funding and Congressional support, the NCI launched the “Cancer Prevention Awareness Program,” claiming that this would halve the 1980 overall cancer mortality rate of 160 per 100,000 to 84 per 100,000 by 2000. The NCI’s minimal priorities on primary prevention research are further exemplified by its dismissal or trivialization of the significance of evidence derived from valid carcinogenicity tests in rodents; the ACS is even more dismissive. The NCI claimed that $350 million of its approximately $2 billion 1992 budget was allocated to primary prevention.