President Biden continues to lose the war on cancer: the second leading killer of Americans annually—but more preventable and deadlier than COVID-19.
It's time to pivot and do something different. Biden keeps COVID-19 stats in the headlines, but with the 50th anniversary of Nixon's National Cancer Act approaching, what about cancer?
In 1971, Nixon put cancer in his crosshairs, and the NCA increased cancer research by $700 million in its first seven years. He declared, "I will also ask for an appropriation of an extra $100 million to launch an intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer, and I will ask later for whatever additional funds can effectively be used. The time has come in America when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dreaded disease. Let us make a total national commitment to achieve this goal."
Fifty years later, no cancer cure has been found.
Cancer has touched the lives of many, including the founder of Charisma, Stephen Strang, who survived prostate cancer in 2014. Eight people in my family were diagnosed with cancer. We lost four of them, including my grandmother, uncle, aunt and brother-in-law. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, the first thing I did was pray. I had seen how God answers prayers working with my uncle, Dr. Francisco Contreras, at Oasis of Hope Hospital. Prayer is our first line of defense at our hospital, not a last resort.
With my family history, it is easy to believe that cancer "runs in the family." But that is a myth. The NCI reports that only 5% to 10% of cancers are associated with inherited cancer genes. This means that 90% to 95% of cancers are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors. This is why Dr. Contreras and I wrote the book Fighting Cancer 20 Different Ways to show people how to potentiate the immune system to prevent or reverse caner. It is disheartening that our government does not promote prevention as the primary solution to cancer.
Vice President Biden headed up the Cancer Moonshot initiative. Now he's President Biden, and still, he continues Nixon's failed strategies of increasing research funding and accelerating cancer discoveries.
I'm calling on President Joe Biden to pivot and do something different, and here is why. Nixon increased the National Cancer Institute's annual budget to $100 million. The NCI's 2021 budget was $6.56 billion. Look at what we have to show for 50 years of a concentrated intensive campaign to find a cure for cancer. Nearly 2 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2021, and more than 600,000 will die from cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, the death rate from cancer is declining. Part of the justification of this statement is that there are now 16.9 million Americans living with cancer as opposed to only 3 million when Nixon declared war on cancer. The statement that cancer death rates are declining should excite me, but it doesn't. The National Cancer Act that Nixon signed 50 years ago on Dec. 23, 1971, was based on the "National Program for the Conquest of Cancer" report, which stated:
The cure rate for cancer is gradually improving. In 1930, we were able to cure only about one case in five; today we cure one in three, but the cure rate can be improved by a better application of the knowledge that we know today.
The cure rate in 1971 was reported to be 1 in 3. Though cancer researchers insist that the deaths from cancer are declining at a record rate, your probability of dying from cancer is 1 in 5. That number has not improved since Nixon declared war on cancer.
President Biden, please pivot and direct funds to promote smoking cessation, cancer screening, and prevention. These three measures have saved more lives than any advancement in treatment in the last 50 years. According to the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research U.K. and the World Health Organization, more than 4 in 10 cancers can be prevented.
Rather than throwing more money at the problem, I call on President Biden to launch a cancer prevention education program in elementary and secondary schools to teach our children the lifestyle habits proven to prevent cancer. Scientists at Harvard University estimate that 75% of all cancer deaths could be prevented. Don't you want that for our children? President Biden, please mandate cancer prevention education in our schools to teach the lifestyle behaviors linked to preventing cancer.
By the way, if you are an adult over age 50, you can add disease-free years to your life. Practice these five healthy habits Harvard School of Public Health says help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity:
— Eat healthily.
— Get regular physical activity.
— Maintain a healthy body weight.
— Moderate alcohol consumption.
— Don't smoke.
You have more power to prevent cancer than you realize, so don't wait around for the promised cure.
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