Lung cancer victims don’t get the care they need

According to a new study, a staggering percentage of men and women in the U.S. diagnosed with lung cancer do not receive even “minimal treatments,” as recommended by national guidelines. And one group of people in particular are really given short shrift.

I’ll tell you all about that new study in a moment. But first, let’s dig deeper into why lung cancer victims fail to get the treatment they need, even in 2020…

40-year-old bias against smokers still drives treatments and policy

When I first started medical school, lung cancer was the No. 1 cause of cancer deaths in America. And today, nearly 40 years later, that still holds true.

In fact, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that nearly 135,000 people will die from lung cancer this year. And that’s almost triple the rate of colon cancer—the No. 2 cancer killer.

In my view, this lack of progress is a result of one fatally flawed, politically driven decision made at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) when I was working there as a young research investigator 35 years ago.

At the time, I was researching the connection between diet and all types of cancer. Then, one day in 1985, I was called into a meeting with one of our new deputy directors who told us they’d decided, despite the science, that smoking was the one and only cause of lung cancer. So, henceforth, almost all NCI funding for lung cancer research would be redirected to smoking cessation and prevention programs.

As a consequence, they dropped funding and research into the biology and genetics of cancer. (Remember, we always knew that some people are more genetically susceptible to the potentially harmful effects of smoke.)

They also dropped funding and research into other causes of lung diseases, such as urban pollution, prescription drugs, and even sugar. Worst of all, they even dropped funding and research into new screenings and treatments!

Instead, they poured everything into “behavioral modification” programs. (They pushed these programs on everyone, not just on those at risk of developing lung cancer.) They also strongly influenced public policy with their flawed views and bad science—and succeeded in banning smoking in public places due to the trumped up fear of “second-hand” smoke.

And looking back now, we should have seen it coming. After all, the new deputy director had a Ph.D. in psychology and behavioral science. So of course he’d turn lung cancer into a “behavioral” problem where they blame the victim!

That deputy director is long retired. But viewpoints didn’t change at the NCI. In fact, in 2011, a new generation of NCI “experts” ridiculed and rejected the widespread use of a new screening test called low-dose computed tomography (LDCT). This test detects lung cancers at a much earlier stage—when tiny tumors can still be removed and the disease can be cured.

But one “expert” who now works in my old division at NCI carelessly claimed, without any evidence, that it really doesn’t matter whether the LDCT screening works. Patients at risk for lung cancer wouldn’t bother to get screened, since they supposedly don’t care about their health anyway! (Clearly, the “blame-the-victim” mentality is as pervasive today as it was back in the 1980s.)

In addition, as I explained last summer in my Insiders’ Cures monthly newsletter (“A cancer screening technique that actually works—Plus, my natural solutions for optimal lung health”), there’s brand new research showing that estrogen levels and hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) may account for the increasing numbers of female non-smokers diagnosed with lung cancer. (If you’re not yet a newsletter subscriber, I encourage you to become one today!)

Now, let’s get back to that study showing that lung cancer victims still aren’t getting the care they deserve—and need…

4 out of 10 lung cancer victims fall between the cracks

For this new study, researchers analyzed data on nearly 442,000 men and women diagnosed with lung cancer between 2010 and 2014.

Overall, according to national medical guidelines, they found that:

  • 62 percent of all lung cancer victims got the minimum amount of treatment
  • 16 percent of victims got treatments that were below the minimum recommended levels
  • 22 percent of victims got no treatment at all

Not to mention, victims with advanced, non-small cell lung cancer were the least likely to get the minimum treatments prescribed by the guidelines. (Of course, this type of lung cancer is most associated with excess tobacco smoking. So, the lack of care simply reflects the strong bias against smokers.)

There were also demographic factors that influenced care. For example:

  • Patients older than 80 years were 88 percent less likely to get the minimum amount of care compared to patients 50 and younger
  • Black patients were almost 25 percent less likely to get minimum care compared to whites

So, if you’re an older black man with the type of lung cancer associated with tobacco, you’re least likely to get the minimum amount of recommended care.

Usually, the government loves to label, locate, and then rescue “victims” in our culture. But they clearly have no love for victims of lung cancer.

Which brings me to my next point…

Depending upon the type of lung cancer and its stage of growth, the recommended care often includes surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. Which makes me wonder whether getting less than the “minimum standard treatment” could actually be a blessing in disguise.

Fortunately, as I’ve always reported, the real answers to conquering cancer have been hiding in plain sight all along…if you knew where to look for them.  I recently pulled together 40 years’ worth of research into these effective, science-backed, natural approaches to preventing—and even reversing—lung cancer in my Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol. To learn more about this comprehensive, online learning tool, or to enroll today, click here now!

Sources:

“Black and Elderly Patients Less Likely to Receive Lung Cancer Treatments.” Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 11/9/19. (thoracic.org/about/newsroom/press-releases/journal/2019/index1.php)

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts &Figures 2020. (cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/annual-cancer-facts-and-figures/2020/cancer-facts-and-figures-2020.pdf)


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