Book Review: The War on Cancer: An Anatomy of FailureHelke Ferrie May 1, 2007
Author: Guy B. Faguet
Book Publication: 2005
Books that discuss the total failure of standard cut-burn-and-poison cancer treatment and the conceptual mistakes of the orthodox research paradigm are not rare; but they are usually written by people who opted out of the Cancer Establishment. What makes this book astounding is the fact that it comes from a member of that establishment. This book goes way beyond polite doubt expressed with caution. It even goes beyond heresy. It is a total condemnation.
The author is an expert in leukemia, whose research over the past 30 years was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veteran Affairs, the National Cancer Institute and the National Science Foundation. He produced 140 peer-reviewed articles in science journals, seven book chapters and two books on cancer (this is not someone who is interested in vitamins). What’s more, he hesitated to put his thoughts on paper, but finally did when the director of that bastion of standard cancer research, the Sloan-Kettering Institute, insisted that he publish this book.
What this book tells us is this: the party is over. But don’t hold your breath while waiting for change in your nearby cancer hospital. Readers who want a truthful history of cancer research, chemotherapy, and the politics of cancer will not be disappointed. Faguet lets it all hang out and will satisfy even the most cynical reader. Just how bad all this is comes through nicely in the quotation at the beginning by Jean Rostand: “What is surprising … is the numbers of qualifications of those gone astray. They were not half-wits, fools, or friends of the wondrous. No, they were true men of science…” That is how Faguet views the Cancer Establishment, of which he was a member for his entire professional life.
Faguet argues that the fundamental error on which the bulk of cancer research is based came from 19th century bacteriology due to which researchers view cancer as being caused by an invader which makes cells go bad. The result: the illusion of the “cell-kill” therapies designed to stop “uncontrolled cell proliferation”. Once genetics discovered the oncogenes which can be switched on, as it were, by carcinogens and then proceed systematically to assist in cancer growth, Faguet argues, it should have been clear that cancer is not a localized disease of nasty cells gone mad, but a systemic condition that could be prevented. This bacteriological misconception, he argues, produced the drug industry with its ever more toxic drugs designed to kill those bad cells – none of those interventions offering anything better than a maximum five year survival rate.
Faguet is especially appalled at the very definition of oncological success which is based on the false and misleading measure of tumour reduction. Millions of tumors were reduced by horrific drugs, radiation and surgery, yet just about everybody with those reduced tumours died, and still dies: a mere two per cent of all cancers are cured and cancer incidence has risen every year by 1.5 per cent since the 1950s. No wonder, the chapters devoted to cancer statistics is the stuff of nightmares. Here is everything you ever wished you didn’t have to know about cancer; in numbers, graphs, and tables presented with clear explanations and all straight from the horse’s mouth: the publications of the Cancer Establishment.
Faguet does not like cancer drugs, with a couple of exceptions, and considers the last 50 years of drug discovery a waste of time and money at best, and a delusional enterprise providing empty hope to millions of patients at worst. As to clinical trials, Faguet tells the reader, they are merely “toxicity tests on large numbers of humans.” He describes, with all the verifiable sources to satisfy nitpickers, the failure of chemotherapy, the unreliability of cancer tests such as the PSA and mammography, the hit-and-miss (“mostly miss” says he) method of drug discovery, and the shocking monetary incentives built into this system that keep it going, regardless of the near total lack of results. Oncologists in the U.S. make approximately one million dollars a year from the legal kickbacks from chemotherapy drugs administered in their offices. Of the 70,000 chemical compounds tested for potential usefulness between 1990-1998, only 10 were worth exploring further, and most of those went by the wayside later too. A multinational 20-year assessment involving 500,000 women taking mammograms showed no benefit whatsoever, but the American Cancer Society recommends mammography nonetheless.
And so, as cancer incidence and mortality increased since the “War on Cancer” was declared in 1971 by then President Nixon, the National Cancer Institute grew ever fatter and now has a budget of $171.6 billion and supports at any given time some 7,000 investigations in over 1,000 institutions.
Faguet is at his best when critiquing the cancer industry. He is disappointing when suggesting solutions. He does make the obvious point that we absolutely must stop saturating the environment with cancer-causing substances, but then proceeds to pin his hopes on genetics and “pharmagenomics” which he believes will find the “aberrant molecular genetic pathways of cancer” and intervene at that level (In my opinion, a cancer cure does exist and has a documented real cure rate of more than 40 per cent – it even cures pancreatic cancer. It’s called nutritional medicine or Gerson Therapy. The techniques of therapeutic doses of nutrients combined with detoxification restores those molecular genetic pathways perfectly, predictably, and measurably.)
Faguet has begun the destruction of that web of myths, self-serving illusions, and outright lies in cancer research and therapy; this is a truly great achievement. His book is, however, not an isolated bombshell: at the same time that it came out, the journal of the National Institutes of Health (Sept. 20, 2005) announced that vitamin C actually “selectively kills cancer cells” – without, of course, killing the patient as well. Let us hope that a truly evidence-based era of cancer research and therapy has begun at last.