“My overall assessment is that the national cancer programme must be judged a qualified failure.” – Dr. John Bailer

Twenty years on the staff of the National Cancer Institute and editor of its journal.  Recipient in July 1990 of the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, one of the few scientists so chosen says:

“My overall assessment is that the national cancer programme must be judged a qualified failure.”

(Speaking at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in May 1985.)

  • “I am no longer convinced that there are wonderful cancer cures out there waiting to be found.  I do not think that we should base public policy on an assumption that if we just try hard enough, we will find them.”
  • “If we are to effectively prevent cancer, we will have to change our lives.  We’ll have to change our diets and certainly change our smoking habits.  We’re going to have to clean up our environment, change industrial processes, and do any number of things that will be difficult, expensive time-consuming and intrusive.”
  • “We have poured vast amounts of money into the search for cancer cures over a very long period of time.  We’ve brought some of the world’s best research minds to bear on these problems.  We’ve given it our best shot.  It’s time to admit it hasn’t worked and start down another track.”
  • “There was a trial in Sweden for which a report was published several years ago.  In it there was a table that showed that women under fifty who had had mammograms actually had more deaths from breast cancer than a matched control group.”
  • “A change at the National Cancer Institute of the kind I am describing… would mean a massive disruption in ideas, in momentum, in the research community, and IN THE BUSINESSES THAT SUPPORT THAT RESEARCH COMMUNITY.”
    (Author‘s emphasis.)

These were Dr Bailer’s answers to questions put by Neal D. Barnard, M.D. of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, U.S.A. and published in PCRM Update, September/October 1990.  (Kindly supplied to the Author by K. and M. Ungar, U.S.A.)