Tackling an
environmental disease

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Primary prevention is the answer

The cancer industry


Information on this webpage is drawn from our 2005 report: Breast cancer - an environmental disease: the case for primary prevention, available free as a pdf, see Downloads. For current statistics and data, see our homepage.

The 'cancer industry' is a generic term for the ever-expanding industry which has grown up around the disease of cancer. It is a vast industry incorporating all services, products, materials and technologies required for the orthodox management of the disease.

Given its:

there would appear to be little hope for the 'primary prevention' of breast cancer becoming a priority for the cancer industry. Evidence for this situation can be found in the long-prevailing silence from the industry on environmental and occupational factors in breast cancer (and other cancers of the reproductive system). Silence from this source in particular deprives citizens of control over their health and their lives by depriving them of basic right to know information.

This is the silence that allows industries to go on:

  • producing carcinogens and carcinogenic products
  • using carcinogens and carcinogenic products.

    Cancer charities

    As major fundraisers for research and major providers of public information and patient support services in the UK, cancer charities work in close association with the cancer industry. Primary prevention is not their objective. At this time (2005) the few that are addressing 'prevention', e.g. Breakthrough and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) are endorsing and promoting the lifestyle focus of government campaigns, both in their literature and prevention-related research.

    A cancer-industry view of its future

    Authors of a report predicting a continuing rise in cancer rates expect cancer will increasingly be managed with lifelong drug treatment and lifelong monitoring, as in diabetes and asthma. The direct cost for managing the medical care of one cancer patient was approximately 20,000 in 2004. If we are heading into a 'positive chemotherapy future' then, 'by 2025 this figure could easily rise to 100,000 per patient per year a total of perhaps 1 million over a lifetime. We are starting to spend vast amounts of UK tax on the National Health Service (NHS) taking the total healthcare budget up to 80 billion per year. We could consume a lot more than this in the future just on treating cancer. The explosion of new therapies in cancer care is going to continue and pricing of these drugs will remain high. If effective drugs emerge from the research and development pipeline, the cancer drug market will be worth US$300 billion globally by 2025.'
    (Sikora 'Cancer 2025: the future of cancer care' 2004)

    A thriving enterprise with a guaranteed future, 'cancer' is a growth industry in every sense of the word. It would be extremely unlikely that this particular industry would champion a case which has the potential to undermine its very existence.


    contact us | about us | a campaign of Breast Cancer UK reg. charity number: 1138866 in England & Wales; reg. company number: 7348408|
    Reg. address: Breast Cancer UK Ltd, Solva, Southwick Road, Denmead, Waterlooville, Hants. PO7 6LA UK | last updated: 05/10/2006