Lung cancer: one of the government’s biggest betrayals against the American public

Five proven ways to protect yourself without their “help”

Thirty years ago, I became a sad witness to one of modern history’s biggest betrayals of the American people by the academic-government-industrial-medical complex. Victims of the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer were abandoned in the midst of a great celebratory announcement of pseudo-progress in the endless government “war on cancer.”

It’s hard to know which came first—putting the wrong people in charge of this particular “battle” of the cancer war, or putting the wrong policies in place. But these two circumstances fed off of each other, creating a perfect storm in which the American people were abandoned and betrayed.

Today, nothing has changed. Lung cancer still remains, by far, the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in America. The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 160,000 people will die from lung cancer this year—more than triple the rate of the No. 2 killer, colon cancer.1

How can this be? Well, annual chest x-rays were abandoned long ago, and according to government “cancer control” experts, nothing has taken their place for screening and early detection of lung cancer (although real doctors beg to differ, as I’ll explain in a moment). There also has been little real progress in developing new medical or surgical treatments for this deadly cancer.

The search for effective treatments goes up in smoke

Meanwhile, the government has become obsessed with tobacco. So how is that working out for the American people? Well, bureaucrats may be winning the anti-smoking battle, but they are losing their so-called “war.”

The surprising fact is, the majority of people who develop lung cancer today have either never smoked (about 20 percent) or are former smokers.2 They already complied with the only thing the government has to offer. And yet lung cancer still remains a virtual death sentence and the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer.

Sadly, the government attitude toward smoking has also resulted in blatant bias and discrimination against lung cancer victims—which has been widely reported in the medical literature. Younger victims who never smoked a cigarette in their lives actually say they have to pretend to have a different type of cancer to avoid discrimination and shame. Doctors and nurses often admit that they view lung cancer patients differently than other cancer victims.

What a shame that political considerations have overcome medical science, medical ethics, and even human compassion in dealing with this dreaded disease.

But while the government may have abandoned the American people, I haven’t. Before I give you the latest news about what you can do to protect yourself from lung cancer—including surprising data about some of the health benefits of light to moderate cigarette smoking—I’d like to share with you how these shameful attitudes toward lung cancer began.

Clearing the air

In 1984, shortly after I started my research on diet and cancer at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), I was summoned to a meeting to announce a major step “forward” regarding cancer research. The new deputy director of the NCI Division of Cancer Control and Prevention told us that henceforth, funding for lung cancer research would be directed to smoking cessation and prevention programs.

Not research on cancer biology (to understand the disease), nor screening, nor treatment. But strictly “behavioral modification.” (The agency even eventually had its name changed to Cancer Control and Population Science, which we might just shorten to “Control of the Population.”)

You see, the political scientists had decided what the singular cause of lung cancer was, to the exclusion of all of the medical and historical evidence to the contrary. And the new deputy director was a PhD in, you guessed it, psychology and behavioral science.

Of course, directing all of this money from the war on cancer to smoking cessation was one of the biggest windfalls of the 20th century for behavioral scientists. Most of whom had never treated a single cancer patient nor spent one day in a cancer research lab. And yet suddenly, they were in charge of dealing with the nation’s No. 1 cancer killer.

I witnessed these behavioral scientists arriving at their new, cushy jobs at the NCI, taking positions on review committees, and weighing in on research grants. And I was around Washington D.C. long enough to see most of them quietly leave to go back to their ivory towers. Fighting the war on cancer is hard work and was not quite the plum assignment it had seemed. Not to mention general lack of success and results—never a criterion for government work in any case.

State governments fumble just as badly as the Feds

So that’s how the federal government has “protected” you against our No. 1 cancer killer for the past three decades.

How about state governments, which received billions of dollars in lawsuit settlement funds from the tobacco companies? Money that was allegedly intended to help the states cover the costs of dealing with supposed tobacco-related illnesses?

Surely the states put away those funds to provide health care for lung cancer victims, right? Well, as I reported in an October Daily Dispatch, it turns out  some state governments collected all of their tobacco lawsuit money up front by issuing bonds (the way state and local governments like to do: Spend now, pay later—maybe).

Then these states spent that bond money on balancing their budget deficits, paying public employee unions, etc. So good luck getting state government help if you or a loved one develops lung cancer.

By now, it’s clear that we are largely on our own when it comes to preventing lung cancer. So what can you do to protect yourself?

My top five scientifically proven suggestions for lung cancer

  1. Cut back on smoking. If you do smoke cigarettes, cutting back will help. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quit entirely, according to the real science.

My own research with a top team of investigators at the NCI, using the largest long-term health database in the U.S., showed that the effects of light to moderate smoking are completely different from the results of heavy smoking or chain smoking.

Of course, most careless research lumps all smokers together, no matter how much or what they smoke (cigars, pipes, or cigarettes). But the fact is, moderation applies to smoking, just as it does with every other realm of human biology and health.

Indeed, moderation is appropriate in this case as well. The lungs of most people (except those who have a specific genetic susceptibility to cigarette smoke) are not defenseless. The normal lung can handle some smoke—as evidenced by the fact that humans have been regularly exposed to smoke since the invention of fire about a million years ago.

My research, which was published in 1989, showed that people who smoke only half a pack of cigarettes per day (or less) have the same health profiles as nonsmokers. In fact, the light smokers were more likely to maintain healthier weights than nonsmokers.

And cigar and pipe smokers actually had lower overall rates of disease and death than nonsmokers. In fact, as I reported in a November 2013 Daily Dispatch, some life insurance companies (which are apparently better at actuarial arithmetic than government statisticians) offer discounted rates to cigar smokers.

Amazingly, my data shows that there may be some benefits to sitting back, taking a time out, and relaxing with an occasional smoke (especially a cigar or pipe) or alcoholic beverage. Relaxation is key in today’s stress-filled world. And, ironically, part of that stress comes from the constant, politically correct finger-wagging about every puff of smoke, bite of fat, or sip of alcohol.

  1. Vitamin C. As I explain in my special report Classified Answers to Cancer, vitamin C is an anti-cancer powerhouse. Even 30 years ago, the evidence in favor of this vitamin was overwhelming. But the same group of political scientists who shifted lung cancer research exclusively to smoking decided not to study vitamin C any further. Instead (against my and others’ advice) they focused on the ill-fated and ill-considered beta-carotene. This set back nutrition and cancer prevention for the rest of the decade.

As a result, we have to look halfway around the world for real progress on preventing cancer with vitamin C. In China, people get high amounts of C through their diets (as you can too—I’ll tell you how in just a minute). So it’s no surprise that a new Chinese study of nearly 9,000 people shows that you can reduce your lung cancer risk by 7 percent for every 100 mg of vitamin C that you take.3

Amazingly, no one who participated in the Chinese study got less than 100 mg per day of vitamin C. Yet the U.S. RDA is only 90 mg, an amount which would, according to the study, nearly double your risk of lung cancer.

The RDA is actually based on what it takes to prevent scurvy—not cancer. To help protect yourself against lung cancer, I recommend 1,000 mg of C a day, divided into two doses (the body can best handle 500 mg of the vitamin at a time). This is not a “megadose” that’s often derided by mainstream medicine, but instead, what’s truly necessary for optimum health.

Along with your daily supplement dose, it’s a good idea to get vitamin C from food. Of course, citrus fruits are excellent sources. Along with eating the whole fruit, try adding lemon or lime slices to your drinking water or any other beverage. Citrus fruits also complement many fish, meat, and vegetable dishes, and are a tasty addition to salads.

Green, leafy vegetables are also very high in vitamin C. Dating back to the British Empire Cancer Campaign studies of the 1920s, these veggies have long been associated with a reduced risk of all cancers, including lung cancer. In fact, this is the single most consistent finding in all of the research on diet and cancer.

Peppers are also excellent sources of vitamin C—the hotter, the better. And rose hips, which can be brewed in herbal teas, are very high in C.

  1. Kava kava. In the April issue of Insiders’ Cures, I reported the remarkable finding that kava kava is associated with massively reduced lung cancer rates. This natural remedy comes from the root of a plant in the black pepper family that grows in Hawaii, Samoa, and the South Pacific.

Kava supplements were once removed from U.S. and European shelves due to spurious observations that they can cause liver damage.  When I was editor of a medical review journal on natural remedies 10 years ago, I asked my colleague in Germany, Jorge Gruenwald, to investigate these claims. He found in every case that kava’s so-called liver toxicity was actually due to a drug the patient was also taking, or some other identifiable cause.

The latest finding on the anti-cancer benefits of kava are so startling that the American Botanical Council (ABC) has called on the National Institutes of Health to study it for lung cancer, since there is so little else to offer. This step is unprecedented for ABC but the initial results are so dramatic and the need for any sort of lung cancer treatment is so great, they are trying to get more attention.

At this point, there is not enough research to suggest a kava dose specifically for lung cancer prevention. However, millions of people have found that an effective dose for anxiety or insomnia is 60 to 120 mg of kava per day.

  1. Lung cancer screening and early detection. Mainstream medicine universally and scandalously pushes questionable and dangerous screenings like colonoscopies and mammograms on virtually everyone. Meanwhile, the only cancer screening that is as safe and effective as it is promoted to be—the Pap test for cervical cancer—is getting bypassed by dangerous, inappropriate, and often ineffective HPV vaccines.

But the biggest scandal of all may be the complete lack of adequate screening for lung cancer—at least according to the NCI “cancer control” experts.

And yet, a new MRI lung-cancer screening test is at least as safe and effective as other screening approaches, according to the American College of Chest Physicians

(who actually treat lung patients.) And it can detect lung tumors while they can still be surgically removed, which causes the risk of death to plummet.

But “experts” in the same old division of the NCI that misdirected lung cancer research, and ignored all of the evidence on vitamin C, are now claiming that this new screening test is not appropriate. Simply because it has some issues with false positives and false negatives—like every other screening test now routinely being done for every other cancer!

If that weren’t bad enough, one NCI expert betrayed the government’s ingrained, politically correct, unethical bias against lung cancer victims by stating that people at risk for the cancer obviously don’t care about their health and would not bother to get the test anyway.  All without a shred of evidence to back up his blanket dismissal.

Of course, Medicare doesn’t cover this test, even though two-thirds of lung cancer victims are diagnosed while they’re on Medicare.

This government negligence is costing not only lives, but also millions of dollars to treat lung cancer that can and should be prevented with the new MRI screening test.

Concerned and informed members of my own family have successfully had this test, which is quick, painless, safe, and effective. And while Medicare dithers and government discriminates, many private health insurance plans are smart enough to cover this safe and effective test. Most insurers know the simple fact that it’s far better (and less costly) to prevent lung cancer than to try to treat it.

Check with your health insurance company to see if the new MRI screening is covered. Then ask your doctor to prescribe the test. If you are already on Medicare, write to your congresspeople and senators about waking up the permanent, unelected government bureaucrats “in charge” of lung cancer prevention.

  1. Get some fresh air. My final suggestion for combatting lung cancer might or might not be the easiest. I learned in medical school that living in a dense, polluted, urban environment can potentially affect your lungs as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day.

So if you live or work in a city, get out into nature and breathe some fresh air as often as possible, but at least once a week.

And if you end up in front of a campfire or just near a fireplace this holiday season, the smoke won’t kill you. Quite the opposite, in fact. Sitting by the fire is good for the body and soul.

The bottom line is the government has abandoned and betrayed us when it comes to today’s No. 1 cancer killer. It long ago hoisted the white flag after fighting (but only partially winning) one battle in what should have been a multi-front war on lung cancer.

But now you know there are several simple, scientifically sound steps you can take to help prevent lung cancer—and you don’t need the government’s mindless, politically correct “help” to do so.


1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts &Figures 2014. Accessed October 20, 2014.

2 American Cancer Society.  Stigma presents an extra burden for many lung cancer patients. Accessed October 20, 2014.

3Luo J, et al. Association between vitamin C intake and lung cancer: a dose-response meta-analysis. Scientific Reports 4, Article number: 6161 doi:10.1038/srep06161.