Information on this webpage is drawn from our 2005 report: Breast cancer - an environmental disease: the case for primary prevention, available free as a pdf, see Downloads. For current statistics and data, see our homepage.The 'cancer industry' is a generic term for the ever-expanding industry which has grown up around the disease of cancer. It is a vast industry incorporating all services, products, materials and technologies required for the orthodox management of the disease.
- traditional preoccupation with control and management of the disease
- current preoccupation with new therapies (drug and gene) to meet future demands
- huge (research and financial) investment in therapies for a burgeoning future market
- awareness that profits for society from 'primary prevention' represent a loss of industry profits,
This is the silence that allows industries to go on:
Cancer charitiesAs major fundraisers for research and major providers of public information and patient support services in the UK, cancer charities work in close association with the cancer industry. Primary prevention is not their objective. At this time (2005) the few that are addressing 'prevention', e.g. Breakthrough and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) are endorsing and promoting the lifestyle focus of government campaigns, both in their literature and prevention-related research.
A cancer-industry view of its futureAuthors of a report predicting a continuing rise in cancer rates expect cancer will increasingly be managed with lifelong drug treatment and lifelong monitoring, as in diabetes and asthma. The direct cost for managing the medical care of one cancer patient was approximately £20,000 in 2004. If we are heading into a 'positive chemotherapy future' then, 'by 2025 this figure could easily rise to £100,000 per patient per year – a total of perhaps £1 million over a lifetime. We are starting to spend vast amounts of UK tax on the National Health Service (NHS) taking the total healthcare budget up to £80 billion per year. We could consume a lot more than this in the future just on treating cancer. The explosion of new therapies in cancer care is going to continue and pricing of these drugs will remain high. If effective drugs emerge from the research and development pipeline, the cancer drug market will be worth US$300 billion globally by 2025.'
(Sikora 'Cancer 2025: the future of cancer care' 2004)
A thriving enterprise with a guaranteed future, 'cancer' is a growth industry in every sense of the word. It would be extremely unlikely that this particular industry would champion a case which has the potential to undermine its very existence.
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Reg. address: Breast Cancer UK Ltd, Solva, Southwick Road, Denmead, Waterlooville, Hants. PO7 6LA UK | last updated: 05/10/2006