Early Detection; then slash, burn and poison…

There has to be a better way—and there is!

President Richard Nixon signs the National Cancer Act on December 23, 1971.

Since Richard Nixon declared war on cancer back in 1971, a huge cancer business has gotten much bigger. In the past 41 years, the watchword of the day has become “early detection” followed by some combination of slash, burn and poison—more commonly known as surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Just this week, a friend of mine passed away after spending the last few years of his life suffering through the standard treatment paradigm for this horrible disease. I continue to ask myself, where would we be today if our leaders had focused on prevention instead of early detection and treatment of symptoms?

I recently blogged about a new book, How We Do Harm, highlighting many of the flaws within our current medical paradigm. While the author presented some very interesting information, he missed the main point in my opinion. In a book review of over 1,000 words, there was not a single mention of addressing our toxic diet as the primary driver of most of our diseases—including cancer. A direct quote from Dr. T. Colin Campbell (The China Study):

“The U.S. government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.”

World’s 3rd Richest Man has prostate cancer at 81

Almost every day, we hear news about our flawed medical system when it comes to cancer and other chronic disease. A few weeks ago, we heard about Warren Buffett’s decision to be treated for prostate cancer at the age of 81.

Then we heard a great debate in the media about whether or not that made any sense and was Mr. Buffett sending the wrong message to older men who had recently been advised against continuing to have the P.S.A. test. From a 4-24-12 article in USA Today (see link below):

The first question to ask: Should an 81-year-old even be screened for prostate cancer? The evidence says no. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, an independent panel of clinicians providing data-based practice guidelines, recommends against routine prostate cancer screening for healthy men of any age. Studies over the years, which have included participation of more than 300,000 men of various ages, have shown that harm from prostate cancer screening outweighs the benefits.

Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Cornell University—says that our government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.

An  earlier New York Times article (See link below) suggested the same thing. “A late outcry among many physicians and patients over a government panel’s recent announcement that healthy men should no longer receive P.S.A. blood testing to detect prostate cancer is rooted in a long and impassioned history among cancer screening advocates that early detection must always save lives. But as science has taught us, that’s not always the case.” The article continues:

As early as 1913, physicians and laypeople formed the American Society for the Control of Cancer, which later became the American Cancer Society, bearing this hopeful message: “With early recognition and prompt treatment, the patient’s life may often be saved.” The idea had some scientific basis.

Patients whose cancers appeared to be less extensive at diagnosis lived longer, on average, than those whose cancer was more widespread. The organization put this philosophy in action, publicizing a series of “danger signals” that suggested possible early warning signs of cancer, including breast lumps, irregular bleeding, sores that did not heal and persistent weight loss. “Delay kills!” posters bluntly warned.

Early detection continues to trump true prevention—the elimination of the cause. Maybe $10 billion a year would help get that word out there, with or without the support of the ACS.

Same Old, Same Old. In article after article, all of the emphasis continues to be on the management of the disease after it has been detected. That means learning more about how every single form of cancer in every part of the body grows, spreads and kills. Treatments are then designed to minimize the spread of each cancer and thereby lengthen the patient’s life. But questions remain:

  1. Do we ever know for sure if the treatment regimen actually extends the patient’s lifespan?
  2. Are there cases where the treatment regimen actually shortens the patient’s life?
  3. Is the pain, suffering, and mental anguish for all concerned worth a few more months of surviving—even if surviving in misery?

Are the results worth it?  What about the cost of early detection and subsequent treatment? In the USA Today article below we learn that the annual  cost of screening for just prostate cancer in just the United States is $3 billion. Are the results worth it? Even the inventor of the PSA test has his doubts:

The cost of PSA testing contributes $3 billion annually to health care spending, much of it paid for by Medicare and the Department of Veterans Affairs. In fact, Richard Ablin, the scientist who discovered PSA, calls the testing’s widespread use a “public health disaster.”

Then there’s screening for colon cancer which is a whopping $50 billion business in just the United States. If you include breast cancer, we’re probably talking about a total of over $100 billion that is spent for early detection on these three most common cancers.

My final question is this. What if we spent just ten percent of that number ($10 billion) on educating the public regarding the primary cause of cancer and how to prevent it in the first place. What if we used that money to let them hear the wisdom of Dr. T. Colin Campbell?

“The U.S. government should be discussing the idea that the toxicity of our diet is the single biggest cause of cancer.”

The bottom line. Address the cause and win the war on cancer. If we started spending $10 billion per year on educating the public about the cause—we’d win this war on cancer and it wouldn’t take another forty-one years. This message needs repetition, just like any other advertising message. People will have to hear it many times before they start believing it.


  1. The Shortfalls of Early Cancer Detection New York Times
  2. What’s right for Buffett may not be right for every man USA Today
  3.  Older Men Still Being Screened for Prostate Cancer New York Times
  4. An earlier blog on this topic: Early detection of prostate and breast cancer…

The first step in cancer prevention is addressing the toxicity of your diet. How do you do that? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. This survey will quickly tell you how far away your diet is from the optimal diet of whole, plant-based foods as advocated by Dr. Campbell.

After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

International. We’re now reaching people in over 100 countries. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter or get daily blog notices by “following” us in the top of the right-hand column. For occasional updates, join our periodic mailing list.

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

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

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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4 Responses to Early Detection; then slash, burn and poison…

  1. JM says:

    I totally agree with educating people on prevention, but here is the reason why it does not/will not happen from those that have the knowledge and responsibility. It is not in their best interest.


  2. Mike R says:

    In the past year, I have gotten a PSA and a colonoscopy. In both cases, my results were excellent. I think its has to do with my vegetarian diet. Since those test, I’ve cut out all dairy (I ate lots of cheese) and eggs. I am eating what Mr. Hicks would call a 4-Leaf diet, what others would call at plant-strong diet. Mr. Hicks asks if the standard cancer treatment kills. It nearly did a friend of mine. He had cancer, went through chemo and then needed a heart transplant. It’s been nearly a year since his transplant. I never thought diet had so much to do with cancer prevention until recently.

  3. Linda201 says:

    Every time “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” rolls around, with its ensuing barrage of early detection messages and pleas for donations, I know I’ll be annoyed and frustrated for an entire month that NOBODY EVER TALKS ABOUT PREVENTION. Why is it that it’s so easy for people to accept that putting kerosene in our cars’ gas tanks, or putting home heating oil in the fuel tanks of an airplane (for example), would cause serious problems breakdowns, and destruction of the engines, yet they can’t seem to grasp the fact that the foods we put into our bodies determine how well our bodies function and whether they will continue to function as designed???

  4. Lester Sukenik says:

    At the age of 49 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer using the PSA blood test and a biopsy. That was twenty years ago and I knew very little at that time about the relationship to diet and disease. I believe that early detection has given me more time on this earth to help people understand the relationships of food and disease. After surgery I began to question why I was afflicted with this disease when there was no family history. My conclusion early on was it was environmental. After almost 20 years of research and educating myself of how this disease (cancer) develops, I now know it was my diet that caused my prostate cancer. Eating animal based foods and processed foods was my norm. Although I ate some fruits and vegetables the majority of calories were from meat, chicken and diary. My journey has been so rewarding and I now understand how whole foods should be our medicine to remain healthy! Everyday I try to convey this message as I encounter people who are confronting disease but find few are willing to listen. We must find a way to educate more and more people on the power of “natural foods”. How I wish someone of wealth and power would step forward to help educate the people on the health benefits of plant based foods in “natures natural package”. I would be most willing to help anyone understand this relationship of food and health. Jim, keep up your wonderful work! We will someday win this challenge and the people will finally understand that they can make the difference between sickness and health with their food choices. I’m looking forward to another 20 years and more of learning and educating those who will listen. I think we are making progress! Maybe Mr. Buffet will have an awakening and join the mission? Let’s hope so!

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