Book Brief: The Secret History of the War on Cancer
Dr. Devra Davis warns that society is fighting the battle against cancer with
the wrong weapons. In her new book, The
Secret History of the War on Cancer, she argues that the focus is on
treating cancer, when it should be on preventing it in the first place.
“We have to stop making sick or dead people the requirement for action,”
According to Davis, the problem has been the influence of various industry
leaders, who stood to be harmed financially by studies into the causes of the
disease. She writes that government and industry have kept important information
about environmental links to cancer from the public for decades.
Culprits include tobacco, alcohol, the workplace, and other environmental hazards.
Davis launched her book at the 2008 Women Health Matters Forum and Expo in
Toronto on Jan. 18. While speaking at the event, she said that the scientific
community needs to change its burden of proof with respect to cancer. She argues
that the “show me the bodies mentality” has made people into lab
Her book reveals a historical mismanagement of the cancer crisis that Davis
claims is responsible for more than 10 million preventable cancer deaths in
the last 30 years.
Davis is the head of the Center on Environmental Oncology at the University
of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and an expert advisor to the World Health Organization.
Her previous book When Smoke Ran Like Water was a finalist for the
National Book Prize in Nonfiction.
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