Oz shares colon story; “cancer screening $$ business” gets bigger

Survives cancer scare following first colonoscopy at age 50

Oz (the doctor) checks out Oz (the patient) cover of the June 13, 2011 issue

It’s a sad situation when we have to spend $50 billion a year in this country to screen for a disease (colon cancer) that should never have to happen in the first place. But, as long as our “system” of treating symptoms instead of promoting health continues; don’t look for that to change anytime soon. Screening for disease and treating symptoms is big business — promoting health; not so much.

After this Time article makes its rounds and reminds everyone of their vulnerability, that $50 billion business will grow even bigger. For when Dr. Oz speaks, it’s almost like the old E.F. Hutton ads, “people listen” and all those people over 50 will go ahead and schedule their first colonoscopy. (See link to full article beneath my signature)

His own article covered six pages, but the overall cancer topic in this (Health Special Report — The next wave of cancer treatment) filled better than half the magazine. While I read every single word of Oz’s cover story, I only scanned the titles of the many other articles. Why? Because all of those “system-generated” articles are about the same old money-making things: finding the elusive drug cure, the HUGE business of screening, and the treatment options. Precious little, if any, ink is ever devoted to eliminating the disease itself by treating its known causes.

To be fair; in the Oz article, there was actually a sidebar entitled “Anticancer Diet” that consisted of four pictures and a few words about each: blueberries, spinach, broccoli, and tomatoes. Although they provided the “token” mention of diet in the sidebar, Dr. Oz said not a single word about diet throughout the text of his entire article. The thrust of his entire article should have been —

Start eating this “Anticancer Diet” as a child and eat at the 4-Leaf level for your entire life. It might be too late for some of us to prevent or reverse cancer, but it’s not too late for our young children to be spared this horrible disease. The 4-Leaf level means consuming over 80% of your calories from whole plant foods — in nature’s package (that means unprocessed). The average American gets far less than 10% of his/her calories from these powerful, health-promoting foods.

Dr. Oz described himself as a "lousy patient" because he did not follow his doctor's orders very well.

Earlier this year on the Forks Over Knives program on his TV show, he mentioned that he loved Dr. Campbell’s book, The China Study  and that he carried it around with him for a year. I have to wonder if he read it. For if he had, he would know that cow’s milk contains a carcinogen, casein, that should be avoided — by ALL humans at ALL ages — Dr. Spock post.

Why didn’t he mention such an important piece of information in his lengthy cover story. Lately, we’re warning people about cell phones “possibly” causing cancer but not mentioning one of the most powerful carcinogens ever discovered – casein. How does this behavior square with these comments from Oz?

Living my life on television, dispensing medical advice every day leaves me with a solemn obligation and moral imperative to be honest and to own up to mistakes — and I made some.

According to my own definition, part of being “honest” is to share with your patients everything you know that might help them promote health. When it comes to cancer, here are my two biggest issues with our “health care system” in this country:

  • Prevention and screening are synonymous within the “system.” But, in reality, screening doesn’t prevent anything — it only identifies problems so we can treat the symptoms. For colon cancer alone, just the screening generates $50 billion of revenue (annually in the U.S.) while identifying new customers for outrageously expensive procedures — which do nothing to fight the root cause of cancer.
  • A true cancer preventing, health-promoting diet gets only lip service at best. For there is no money to be made if everyone got healthy — while millions of jobs would be lost.

For more on the above topic, click here for my earlier post on the big business of cancer screening. Here’s what Oz said about that — a paragraph that speaks volumes about what is wrong with our entire medical system.

After all, prevention is pretty boring to learn and does not pay well, especially when compared with specialties like mine (cardiac surgery). This colors the discussion we have with our patients.

Then later in the article, he continues to reinforce screening as the most important thing you can do — never once mentioning diet in the text. Toward the end of his article, he further reinforces the importance of screening, “I will probably be at little risk of dying from colon cancer — but only as long as I faithfully show up for periodic testing and continue to use a capable gastroenterologist who can meticulously do the procedure.”

J. Morris Hicks

On a much brighter note — as I was writing this blog, I received a heart-warming note from one of my 4-Leaf clients in Texas. He is a 66 year-old cancer survivor who began a 4-Leaf eating regimen after I spent a few days with him back in February. He made the decision to go 4-Leaf after reading my book’s manuscript and everything on my blog up until that time.

Not a single medical doctor had ever told him EXACTLY what he needs to eat to prevent or to help fight his cancer. Like I said, they only give “healthy eating” lip service, if any mention at all. Here’s what my 4-Leaf client, D. Carl Garrison (a college buddy), had to say:

I have been on the 4-Leaf Program for 12 weeks and I have lost 36 pounds. My cancer doctor called yesterday to discuss a recent blood test. He said my cancer markers he was measuing had dropped 30%. I told him about the diet and he thought it was good idea. He eats similar, is 73 years old and looks 50. He called me at 8pm. There needs to be more doctors like him.

That’s great that he agreed with Carl’s new dietary regimen and called him after hours, but it still begs the question; “If the cancer doctor has been eating similar to 4-Leaf and is enjoying great health, why does he not share that information with his patients?” Maybe it’s like Oz said, “‘prevention doesn’t pay well.”

The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell of Cornell. This book explains a great deal about why cancer is such a problem. Oz carried it around for a year, but did he ever tell his patients what he learned?

In closing, I don’t like to sound callous or sarcastic about this delicate topic — with so many people suffering out there. I am just trying to do my part to share the wonderful news about what a superior diet can do for your health — for your entire life. We shouldn’t look at “healthy eating” as just a tool to use when we get sick.

We should care enough about our own health and that of our families to climb aboard the 4-Leaf train for life — NOW. After all, a 4-Leaf diet-style will not only help to prevent cancer, it can also cure your erectile dysfunction in just a few months…Oops, there go more jobs and revenue in the pharmaceutical industry.

Cancer is a tricky subject, but we know from a mountain of scientific evidence that most cancers are driven by what we choose to eat for our entire lives. Want more specifics, read The China Study; then sign up for Dr. Campbell’s Plant Based Nutrition Certificate course at Cornell.

In that course, you will learn a lot of dirty little secrets about cancer, heart disease and other chronic diseases — all of which are driven by our toxic western diet. I took the course online in 2009 and it was well worth the $800 that I paid at the time. I will do a blog on that course soon. And I did (posted here on 7-9-11) Dr. Campbell’s Course — making a huge difference in my life!

One more thing — I wish to acknowledge that I believe that virtually all medical doctors truly mean well; they’re just trapped in a “system” that doesn’t promote health. In my opinion, articles like this one in Time simply make the medical business that much bigger. All it’s doing is reminding people to get screened (which generates revenue); which results in more procedures (adding more revenue). Unless we start addressing the root causes of disease, our cost of “managing” disease will continue to get bigger — MUCH bigger.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

What I Learned from My Cancer Scare – Health Special: Cancer 

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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1 Response to Oz shares colon story; “cancer screening $$ business” gets bigger

  1. Val says:

    I always look forward to your emails. As a full-time nurse on a Medicine/Palliative ward, I see how chronic disease, cancer and poor eating habits have affected quality of life and death. I observe on a regular basis, what our hospital dietary dept feeds our patients. I often question what is served as a diabetic meal/snack, cardiac meals/snack, and renal meal/snack & as a regular diet. Seldom do you see fresh fruit, salads or raw veggies served unless special requests are made by a patient. I often ask patients if they like raw fruit/vegs, if so, I special request it on their dietary cards. But it is difficult to monitor diets of 36 patients. I make a conscious effort to educate patients on their diets and it is amazing how little people really know about nutrition. I agree with your comments,” health-promoting diet gets only lip service at best. For there is no money to be made if everyone got healthy — while millions of jobs would be lost”.
    We are implementing a new program in our hospitals across the country called “Releasing Time to Care”. Not sure if you are familar with it? It implements better ways to organize/improve many areas of our wards to free up a nurses time, so we can spend more time with and improve patient care. I am on the “Meals” committee for the program. Hopefully we can work to improve the quality, quantity and nutrition of the meals/snacks served and have more time to educate our patients to look at what they eat in a healthier way.
    If I had $1065.00 to spare, I would definitely sign up to the Plant Based Nutrition Certificate course at Cornell, just so I could better educate my patients and question the dietary departments, food/nutrition choices with a educated background.
    Keep up the great blogs,
    A Canadian Nurse

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