Category Archives: Cancer

9/11 First Responders Cancer Cases On The Rise

‘Marlboro Boys’: Indonesia’s child smokers

From Dangerous Minds:

‘Canadian documentary photographer Michelle Siu records “vulnerable people and disenfranchised cultures.” In the past that has meant the First Nations people of Lake St. Martin in Manitoba, who have been displaced from their land by flooding, or the destruction wrought upon the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan. In her series, “Marlboro Boys,” the disaster is man-made.’

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Effects Of Radiation From The Fukushima Disaster On The Ecosystem Are Being Slowly Revealed

Chris Pash reports for Business Insider:

‘A range of scientific studies at Fukushima have begun to reveal the impact on the natural world from the radiation leaks at the power station in Japan caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Biological samples were obtained only after extensive delays following the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown, limiting the information which could be gained about the impact of that disaster. Scientists, determined not to repeat the shortcomings of the Chernobyl studies, began gathering biological information only a few months after the meltdown of the Daiichi power plant in 2011.

Results of these studies are now beginning to reveal serious biological effects of the Fukushima radiation on non-human organisms ranging from plants to butterflies to birds. A series of articles summarising these studies has now been published in the Journal of Heredity. These describe widespread impacts, ranging from population declines to genetic damage to responses by the repair mechanisms that help organisms cope with radiation exposure. “A growing body of empirical results from studies of birds, monkeys, butterflies, and other insects suggests that some species have been significantly impacted by the radioactive releases related to the Fukushima disaster,” says Dr Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, lead author of one of the studies.’

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Sick first responders snubbed by 9/11 Museum

Susan Edelman and Danika Fears reports for The New York Post:

‘The 9/11 Museum has been drawing criticism from first responders upset with the way its exhibits portray those who suffered in the aftermath of the terror attacks. One of the most moving complaints came from an NYPD officer who became ill with cancer after working at Ground Zero.

In a letter addressed to 9/11 Museum President Joe Daniels, Reginald Hilaire expressed his dismay that the exhibit did not properly acknowledge the serious illnesses and deaths among responders.

“There are no listing of names or even a sentence that people died from 9/11 related illnesses,” he wrote. “The federal government has recognized a link with illnesses and work at the WTC and Staten Island landfill, but the 9/11 Museum mentioned very little.”’

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Chain smoker’s widow awarded $23bn in punitive damages

From Reuters:

cigarettes‘A jury in Florida has awarded the widow of a chain smoker who died of lung cancer 18 years ago record punitive damages of more than $23bn against America’s second-biggest cigarette maker, RJ Reynolds. The judgment, returned on Friday night, was the largest in Florida history in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by a single plaintiff, said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the woman’s lawyer, Chris Chestnut.

Cynthia Robinson, of Pensacola, sued the cigarette maker in 2008 over the death of her husband, Michael Johnson, claiming the company conspired to conceal the health dangers and addictive nature of its products. Johnson, a hotel shuttle-bus driver who died of lung cancer in 1996 aged 36, smoked between one and three packets a day for more 20 years, starting at age 13, Chestnut said. “He couldn’t quit. He was smoking the day he died,” the lawyer told Reuters on Saturday.’

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MoD loses battle to block radioactive waste contamination report

Rob Edwards reports for The Guardian:

MoD warning of radioactive contaminants found on Dalgety Bay beach, Fife‘The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been forced to abandon attempts to block a report by government advisers warning that radioactive contamination of military sites across the UK could pose a risk to public health. The report was submitted for publication last October by the 18-member Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment (Comare). To the frustration of its authors and the Scottish government, UK ministers have sat on it for the past six months after objections from the MoD. But after the 75-page report was leaked to the Guardian, a decision was taken in Whitehall on Tuesday to publish it early next week. It will reveal that Comare is concerned about radium contamination from the second world war at Dalgety Bay in Fife and at least 25 other sites across the UK.’

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Too Young To Smoke, But Not To Pick Tobacco

Debbie Elliott reports for NPR:

Image from www.hrw.org‘Kids under 18 can’t buy cigarettes in the U.S., but they can legally work in tobacco fields when they’re as young as 12. One of those kids is Eddie Ramirez, 15, who works the fields in the summer. “It just sticks to my hand,” he says of the plant. “It’s really sticky, you know, and really yellow.” It’s nearly impossible to wash off, he says.

new report from Human Rights Watch says the practice of children farming tobacco is hazardous and should be stopped. The group interviewed more than 140 kids in 2012 and 2013, including Eddie, who work on tobacco farms in the South. From the sparse mobile home he shares with his mother in Snow Hill, N.C., Eddie describes feeling lightheaded and queasy after a 12-hour day in the tobacco fields.’

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Wall Street traders want 9/11 money

Susan Edelman reports for the New York Post:

Wall Street traders want 9/11 moneyA wave of Wall Street stock­brokers and traders are coming down with cancers blamed on the toxic dust and smoke of 9/11. They’re joining ill Ground Zero first-responders in seeking payments from the $2.7 billion federal September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Of 622 cancer claims approved so far, the fund has awarded $15.5 million to 39 victims, a spokeswoman told The Post.

Officials would not give a breakdown of cancer victims, but 10,800 downtown workers make up the second-largest group of registered claimants after 39,500 Ground Zero responders. There are another 16,600 in smaller categories such as residents, students, child-care and health-care workers. Finance workers engulfed in dust and debris from the Twin Towers’ collapse say the attacks — and returning to Wall Street a week later, when officials insisted it was safe — triggered their diseases.

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Girl suspended from school for shaving her head in support of friend with cancer

Biologist explains how marijuana drives tumor cells to ‘suicide’

Arturo Garcia reports for Raw Story:

Weed - Dr. Christina Sanchez Analyzes How THC Kills Cancer CellsA December 2013 video that has been picking up attention in medical marijuana advocacy circles points out the benefits of the drug’s active ingredient in cancer treatments.

“We observed that the cannabinoids were very effective in reducing tumor growth,” molecular biologist Christina Sanchez said in the video, first uploaded by Cannabis Planet. “Cells can die in different ways, and after cannabinoid treatment, they were dying in the ‘clean’ way. They were committing suicide, which is something you really want.”

Cannabinoids are a group of natural and man-made chemicals, which include the active ingredients in cannabis, that act upon some receptors within the body. Marijuana.com reported that Sanchez’s work at Compultense University in Madrid, Spain parallels British oncologist Wai Liu’s discovery that THC can “target and switch off” pathways that would otherwise allow tumors to develop.

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Team of scientists’ goal to ‘make 100 the new 60′

Robert Langreth reports for Businessweek:

J. Craig Venter, the man who raced the U.S. government to sequence the first human genome, has a new goal: Help everyone live to 100, in good health. “Our goal is to make 100-years-old the new 60,” said Peter Diamandis, who co-founded with Venter a company that aims to scan the DNA of as many as 100,000 people a year to create a massive database that will lead to new tests and therapies that can help extend healthy human life spans.

Human Longevity Inc. will use machines from Illumina Inc., which has a stake in the company, to decode the DNA of people from children to centenarians. San Diego-based Human Longevity will compile the information into a database that will include information on both the genome and the microbiome, the microbes that live in our gut. The aim is to help researchers understand and address diseases associated with age-related decline. The company, with $70 million in initial funding, will focus first on cancer, according to a statement today.

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Fighting cancer isn’t all about personal lifestyle but the environment we live in

Alex Andreou writes for the Guardian:

The World Health Organisation published its World Cancer Report… It is a hefty document of 800 pages which warns of a “tidal wave” of cancer facing the world over the next 20 years… The report identifies several major sources of preventable cancer; they include smoking, infections, alcohol, obesity, radiation and air pollution. Of those sources, infections, radiation and air pollution have been set aside and discussion has zeroed in on the narrow subset of what are being described as “lifestyle choices”. Because to talk about air pollution or infections or radiation would require a discussion of wealth inequalities, of living conditions, of asymmetry of information, of destructive environmental choices. And all that is too difficult.

…In an environment where more and more of us are living in tiny hutches within urban environments, breathing in polluted air, working longer and longer hours of sedentary jobs, with poor access to quality information, exercise space or fresh produce, bombarded 24/7 by advertising telling us to eat and drink the wrong thing, it is a ludicrous position to say that multi-billion corporations and the state can wash their hands of all consequences by telling us “you should have been healthier, you know”.

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Around half of American adults believe in at least one medical conspiracy theory

Andrew M. Seaman writes for Reuters:

Flu vaccine drips out of a syringe as a nurse prepares for a patient at a clinic in central London November 22, 2005. - RTR1BGZ1About half of American adults believe in at least one medical conspiracy theory, according to new survey results. Some conspiracy theories have much more traction than others, however. For example, three times as many people believe U.S. regulators prevent people from getting natural cures as believe that a U.S. spy agency infected a large number of African Americans with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

J. Eric Oliver, the study’s lead author from University of Chicago, said people may believe in conspiracy theories because they’re easier to understand than complex medical information… For the new study, he and his colleague used data from 1,351 adults who answered an online survey between August and September 2013. The data were then weighted to represent the U.S. population. The participants read six popular medical conspiracy theories and then indicated whether they had heard of them and whether they agreed or disagreed with them.

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Has the scientific study has become a flawed manual for living?

Anne Perkins writes for the Guardian:

[...] What is puzzling is how we – each one of us – should respond to all this persuasively authoritative information. In some ways cohort studies such as Oxford’s Million Women act as a kind of mirror for every older woman. In a million women, there will be one who is going to be just like us, a little ahead on the amble through life, a pattern from whom we can learn. Where she stumbles over an extra glass of wine while stroking her cat and thus succumbs to a cancer, we can say no and live on.

That’s what’s so alluring about all these studies. The beguiling weight of scientific evidence seems to offer both an individualised glimpse of our future selves and an analytic tool for explaining why our present lives are such rubbish. Every “study” becomes a guide to modern life, a teacher who knows us better than we know ourselves, an analyst who can look into our souls. Where our ancestors relied on the Bible or at least a political philosophy, we can write our biography in studies. They become the measure against which we judge ourselves. Worse, they become the measure we hold other people to. Studies define us, and they define otherness. The more we know about the epidemiology of cancer or obesity, the more stringent we can be in our condemnation of those who refuse to live by the rules.

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Chomsky: From Hiroshima to Fukushima, Vietnam to Fallujah, State Power Ignores Its Massive Harm

‘World-renowned political dissident, linguist, author and MITProfessor Noam Chomsky traveled to Japan last week ahead of the three-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis. Chomsky, now 85 years old, met with Fukushima survivors, including families who evacuated the area after the meltdown. “[It's] particularly horrifying that this is happening in Japan with its unique, horrendous experiences with the impact of nuclear explosions, which we don’t have to discuss,” Chomsky says. “And it’s particularly horrifying when happening to children — but unfortunately, this is what happens all the time.”‘ (Democracy Now!)

Are Any Plastics Safe? Industry Tries to Hide Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Containers: Interview with Mariah Blake

‘A new exposé by Mother Jones magazine may shock anyone who drinks out of plastic bottles, gives their children plastic sippy cups, eats out of plastic containers, or stores food with plastic wrap. For years, public campaigns have been waged against plastic containing bisphenol-A (BPA), a controversial plastic additive, due to concerns about adverse human health effects caused by the exposure to synthetic estrogen. But a new investigation by Mother Jones reporter Mariah Blake has revealed that chemicals used to replace BPA may be just as dangerous to your health, if not more. Plastic products being advertised as BPA-free — and sold by companies such as Evenflo, Nalgene and Tupperware — are still releasing synthetic estrogen. The Mother Jones piece also reveals how the plastics industry has used a “Big Tobacco-style campaign” to bury the disturbing scientific evidence about the products you use every day. Blake joins us to discuss her findings.’ (Democracy Now!)

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers explains: Nexavar cancer drug is for “western patients who can afford it.”

Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers called the Nexavar compulsory license “essentially theft.”From Knowledge Ecology International:

Health advocates were shocked by the direct and appalling statements attributed to Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers. Published in Businessweek on January 21, 2014 and written by Bloomberg reporter Ketaki Gokhale, a news story about disputes over drug patents ended with an account of the India compulsory license on the cancer drug Nexavar, and practically exploded. Dekker is quoted as saying Bayer did not intend the cancer drug to be sold to cancer patients in India, adding “We developed it for western patients who can afford it.”:

Under India’s patent laws, compulsory licenses can be awarded for some products still under patent if the original isn’t available locally at a reasonable price.

Natco Pharma Ltd. (NTCPH) applied directly to India’s patents office and was awarded the nation’s first compulsory license in March 2012 to make a copy of Bayer’s Nexavar cancer drug at a 97 percent discount to the original product. In March last year, Bayer lost its bid to stop Natco from making the generic drug and is appealing the decision at the Mumbai High Court.

Bayer Chief Executive Officer Marijn Dekkers called the compulsory license “essentially theft.”

“Is this going to have a big effect on our business model?” Dekkers said Dec. 3 at a conference in London. “No, because we did not develop this product for the Indian market, let’s be honest. We developed this product for Western patients who can afford this product, quite honestly. It is an expensive product, being an oncology product.”

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Report: Human Body Not Prepared For Life In Outer Space

Photo by NASA via Getty ImagesFrom CBS News:

Recently, a not-for-profit organization known as Mars One released the list of 1,058 applicants who could be selected for colonization on Mars. Over 200,000 applications were said to have been received by the organization, which aims to “establish human life on Martian soil.”

“We’re extremely appreciative and impressed with the sheer number of people who submitted their applications,” Mars One co-founder Bas Lansdorp was quoted as saying in a press release. “However, the challenge with 200,000 applicants is separating those who we feel are physically and mentally adept to become human ambassadors on Mars from those who are obviously taking the mission much less seriously.”

Those in the former category may want to read a new report regarding the effects of outer space on the human body, however, which states that being in outer space could cause long-term health problems. The report, which was first published in the New York Times, cites multiple negative effects of outer space on the human body, including the swelling that occurs in the human head – due in part to the fact that humans did not evolve outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.

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Fukushima Responders Starting To Get Sick

Cenk Uygur’s quote from around two and a half minutes:

I was on MSNBC at the time when this happened, I said, “Don’t trust what the Japanese government is saying, they’ll say trust what the electric power company is saying. Go, go, go, get outta there. Get as far away from that plant as you can. It’s literally a core meltdown.” And they always don’t want people to panic, so they were always like, “Oh it’s going to be okay.” [...] I’m like, “You’re crazy man, don’t be anywhere near that reactor.” And I remember at the time, of course not at The Young Turks, but on cable news, people were like, “Hey Cenk, you know, I don’t know that you want to say that, because the official government position is that it’s safe.” Oh, is that the official government position? Now go explain that to the people who served on the USS Ronald Reagan.

USS Ronald Reagan sailors report cancers after Fukushima rescue mission

Seaman Nicholas A. Groesch/U.S. Navy From Al Jazeera:

Fifty-one crew members of the USS Ronald Reagan say they are suffering from a variety of cancers as a direct result of their involvement in Operation Tomodachi, a U.S. rescue mission in Fukushima after the nuclear disaster in March 2011. The affected sailors are suing Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), alleging that the utility mishandled the crisis and did not adequately warn the crew of the risk of participating in the earthquake relief efforts.

Crew members, many of whom are in their 20s, have been diagnosed with conditions including thyroid cancer, testicular cancer and leukemia. The Department of Defense says the Navy took “proactive measures” in order to “mitigate the levels of Fukushima-related contamination on U.S. Navy ships and aircraft” and that crew members were not exposed to dangerous radiation levels.

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Should Electronic Cigarette Advertising Be Allowed On TV?

Big tobacco eyes Myanmar market

From Al Jazeera:

A smoky haze greets customers walking into any of Yangon’s tea shops as patrons light up hand-rolled cigarettes known locally as cheroots.

Elsewhere in Myanmar’s main city, vendors sell cheap cigarettes smuggled from China to drivers stopped at traffic lights. The pavement is painted red with the spit of people chewing tobacco wrapped in betel leaves.

Tobacco is already a problem in this impoverished Southeast Asian country where anti-tobacco legislation is weak. But as Myanmar opens its doors to the world after half a century of military rule, it faces a new threat: Large multinational cigarette companies looking for new markets.

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The Dirty Business Of Turning This Latino Farmworker Town Into A Toxic Wasteland

9/11 victim fund covers cancer for first time

9/11 victim fund covers cancer for first timeFrom The New York Post:

The federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has for the first time paid out cash awards for cancer.

Two claimants — one with bladder cancer, one with urinary-tract cancer — will receive “substantial amounts,” with one award exceeding $1 million, VCF special master Sheila Birnbaum told The Post.

“They are only the first. There are going to be many more,” Birnbaum said.

At least 1,000 cancer claims are in the pipeline, she added.

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Another unethical study – this time in NY’s Bowery

From BioEdge:

Here’s a familiar script: medical researchers in the 1950s in a democratic country conduct forgotten experiments which yield no useful data on a vulnerable population. This week’s revelation comes from New York’s skid row, the Bowery. An oncologist from Columbia University recruited alcoholics for his study of prostate cancer by offering them three square meals, a clean bed and free medical treatment if they had cancer. In return they agreed to have a medical biopsy.

What the men were not told was that the biopsy could cause impotence and rectal tears and that treatment would probably involve removal of the prostate and testicles – but would not necessarily prolong their lives. “The failure to provide full informed consent and exposing a vulnerable population to undue risk—are disturbing. Yet the [research was] published in leading medical journals and frequently cited, joining the long list of unethical studies performed in full public view,” says Robert Aronowitz, the author of a highly critical essay in the American Journal of Public Health.

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WHO agency: Air pollution causes cancer

From AP:

What many commuters choking on smog have long suspected has finally been scientifically validated: air pollution causes lung cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer declared on Thursday that air pollution is a carcinogen, alongside known dangers such as asbestos, tobacco and ultraviolet radiation. The decision came after a consultation by an expert panel organized by IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, which is based in Lyon, France.

“The air most people breathe has become polluted with a complicated mixture of cancer-causing substances,” said Kurt Straif, head of the IARC department that evaluates carcinogens. He said the agency now considers pollution to be “the most important environmental carcinogen,” ahead of second-hand cigarette and cigar smoke.

IARC had previously deemed some of the components in air pollution such as diesel fumes to be carcinogens, but this is the first time it has classified air pollution in its entirety as cancer causing.

The risk to the individual is low, but Straif said the main sources of pollution are widespread, including transportation, power plants, and industrial and agricultural emissions. Air pollution is a complex mixture that includes gases and particulate matter, and IARC said one of its primary risks is the fine particles that can be deposited deep in the lungs of people.

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Spanish doctors say e-cigarettes no safer than the real thing

From Digital Journal:

Spain’s Association of Pneumology and Thoracic Surgery, a top Spanish medical association, is warning that the vapor of e-cigarettes has pretty much the same bad effects as regular cigarettes.

Many people use e-cigarettes to assist them to give up smoking or to replace the habit without causing damage to their lungs. Others are using them as a fashion statement.

However, now a top Spanish medical association is saying that users of the e-cigarettes are likely to suffer exactly the same short-term health effects with them as they would with regular tobacco cigarettes.

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Vietnamese Americans, Exposed to Agent Orange, Suffer in Silence

Vietnamese Americans, Exposed to Agent Orange, Suffer in SilenceFrom New America Media:

After his eighth round of chemo, Trai Nguyen is exhausted, his body ravaged. The 60-year-old has a rare and aggressive form of cancer that he believes resulted from his contact with the defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.

His doctors believe his cancer may now be in remission, but that is little comfort. “My hands shake violently. I can’t do anything,” he says, sitting on a mattress in the two-bedroom apartment he shares with relatives.

The aftermath of war brought Trai to the United States where he rebuilt his life, but now he’s destitute. His fortunes could have taken a better turn had one thing been different in his past: The uniform he wore during the conflict.

As a soldier in the South Vietnamese army, Trai gathered intelligence that helped American soldiers. He fought alongside the Americans and was exposed to the defoliants that are known to have injured them. But he’s excluded from the compensation and health care afforded to U.S. veterans for the same service-connected disabilities.

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Jeffrey St. Clair: When the US Used Cancer as a Weapon

From Counterpunch:

At the close of the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was denounced as a ferocious villain for ordering his retreating troops to destroy Kuwaiti oil fields, clotting the air with poisonous clouds of black smoke and saturating the ground with swamps of crude. It was justly called an environmental war crime.

But months of bombing of Iraq by US and British planes and cruise missiles has left behind an even more deadly and insidious legacy: tons of shell casings, bullets and bomb fragments laced with depleted uranium. In all, the US hit Iraqi targets with more than 970 radioactive bombs and missiles.

It took less than a decade for the health consequences from this radioactive bombing campaign to begin to coming into focus. And they are dire, indeed. Iraqi physicians call it “the white death”-leukemia. Since 1990, the incident rate of leukemia in Iraq has grown by more than 600 percent. The situation is compounded by Iraq’s forced isolations and the sadistic sanctions regime, recently described by UN secretary general Kofi Annan as “a humanitarian crisis”, that makes detection and treatment of the cancers all the more difficult.

“We have proof of traces of DU in samples taken for analysis and that is really bad for those who assert that cancer cases have grown for other reasons,” said Dr. Umid Mubarak, Iraq’s health minister.

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Google searches for life extension

From BioEdge:

If you have US$50 billion or so in cash lying around, you can afford to spend some of it on out-there projects. Which is what internet search behemoth Google is doing.

It announced this week that it was launching a new project called Calico, which will investigate the possibility of life-extension. CEO Larry Page says, “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”

Google’s interest in health is not new. In 2008 it introduced a medical records service, Google Health, but that sputtered out in 2011. Nothing daunted, it has invested in the gene-sequencing company 23andMe, which was co-founded by the wife of Google co-founder Sergei Brin, Anne Wojcicki. And earlier this year, Apple Chairman and former Genentech CEO Art Levinson and Brin joined Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and a Russian entrepreneur, Yuri Milner, in organizing the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, to “recognize excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life.” It is the largest science award in the world.

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OTHER REPORTS: