Environmental Impact on Cancer: Why Cancer Moonshot Misses the Mark

Cancer Moonshot Fails to Address Environmental Factors

WASHINGTON, DC., September 12, 2022 - Over 50 years ago, President Nixon of the United States declared war on cancer. He aimed to eliminate it as a major cause of death by signing the National Cancer Act into Law. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease was the primary cause of death, followed by strokes and diseases of the arteries and veins. To achieve his goal, Nixon pledged over $1 billion for cancer research and a cure by the country's bicentennial in 1976.

Unfortunately, cancer has become the second most common cause of death after COVID-19. Breast cancer diagnoses have increased, and sadly there is still no cure for cancer. While there has been a 5% decrease in the death rate from cancer since 1950, this can be mainly attributed to the decline in smoking and increased awareness about the impact of lifestyle and diet on health. It's also important to note that mortality statistics may not be accurately reflected since death certificates often record underlying causes of death, such as organ failure resulting from cancer complications.

While there has been progress in understanding new cancer treatments, diagnostics, and genetic mutations that can cause cancer, research on environmental factors has not been supported enough. It may surprise some that inherited genetic mutations do not cause 80% of all cancers. Most gene changes are not shared among family members or passed on to children. This means that even if cancer does not run in your family, you could still be susceptible to certain types of cancer. Inherited genetic mutations account for only a tiny percentage of all cancers.

Factors such as lifestyle and exposure to environmental toxins can activate or deactivate gene expression. Therefore, prevention is crucial. It is important to note that genetics alone do not determine the likelihood of developing certain diseases. Other factors such as weight gain, lifestyle choices, chemical exposure, dietary habits, and stress levels can also impact gene expression.

The "Cancer Moonshot" initiative was launched in 2016 to end cancer. It provides more than a billion dollars for research and to drug companies. In that same year, a federal law called Trevor's Law was passed to investigate suspected cancer clusters, but it has not yet been implemented.

The Law aims to establish guidelines for detecting, monitoring, and addressing possible occurrences of childhood cancer clusters in the United States. This will involve gathering crucial information about the location of such clusters and the individuals they could potentially impact to reduce the risk of cancer caused by environmental factors.

Although cancer treatments can extend life, they can also cause lifelong side effects, immune issues, and even secondary cancers, reducing the quality of life.

Much funding has been allocated to developing medications that prioritize extending life without considering their quality. The pharmaceutical industry has seen a surge in profits from cancer treatments, with drug prices rising by almost 60%. In terms of prevention, it is necessary to address complex issues such as reforming healthcare since numerous individuals in the United States cannot afford healthcare, and the current system is flawed. Our approach to health is often reactive and expensive instead of proactive.

Reducing cancer risk involves making lifestyle choices, maintaining a healthy diet, and protecting oneself from carcinogenic viruses. However, harmful pollution often goes unnoticed by many communities, causing harm to innocent people and wildlife across the nation. Until we prioritize human life over profit, people will continue to suffer from the effects of pollution.

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Stel Bailey

Stel Bailey, a cancer cluster survivor and environmental health advocate, is a researcher and journalist with more than two decades of multimedia experience, having been published globally.

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