Tag Archives: cancer

CEI Podcast for May 31, 2011: FDA Rescinds Approval of Breast Cancer Drug

 

Have a listen here.

Senior Fellow Greg Conko breaks down the fight over Avastin, a drug used to treat several types of cancer. The FDA is poised to rescind Avastin’s approval for treating breast cancer. It will retain its approval for other cancers. This will make life difficult, and possibly shorter, for some breast cancer patients. Conko believes this battle boils down to one question: who decides which treatments patients can use? Will it be the FDA, or doctors and patients?

Regulation of the Day 96: Health Warnings on Cell Phones

The state of Maine and the city of San Francisco are considering requiring warning labels for cell phones.

Perhaps some warning labels are in order. After all, few things are more annoying than people SPEAKING AS LOUDLY AS POSSIBLE INTO THEIR PHONE ABOUT WHAT’S FOR DINNER when a normal tone of voice will do.

But these warning labels have nothing to do with letting people know that their phones can make them look like jackasses.

No, the labels warn the credulous that their phones emit electromagnetic radiation. Otherwise known as light waves. Some people believe that this causes brain cancer.

Brain atrophy, maybe. But cancer? Most studies have found no correlation, let alone causation.

Something else to consider: the demographic group far and away most prone to brain cancer is also far and away the least likely to use cell phones – the elderly.

Hmm.

Cell Phones, Cancer, and Certainty

cell phone-2

CNN reports: “Last summer, Dr. Ronald Herberman, then director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, issued a warning to about 3,000 faculty and staff, listing steps to avoid harmful electromagnetic radiation from cell phones.”

“Electromagnetic radiation” is a fancy way of saying light waves.

Herberman has been on his cell phone crusade for a while now; I diagnosed him with a severe case of The Certainty last year.

Still, let’s assume he’s right that cell phones cause tumors. What actions should be taken? I present the following CDC data on leading causes of death as a way to guide our priorities:

Heart disease: 631,636
Cancer: 559,888
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
Diabetes: 72,449
Alzheimer’s disease: 72,432
Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
Septicemia: 34,234

Deaths from cancer attributable to cell phone use? Zero. There is an important lesson to be learned here.

Think of it like this: every dollar and every hour of researchers’ time spent investigating cancer risks from cell phones is money and time not spent curing heart disease. Or cancer itself. Or stroke. These “big three” combine to end more than a million lives each and every year.

Which is a better use of limited research resources? Herberman, by bringing funding and attention to a non-issue, is quite possibly costing lives that could otherwise be saved.

The Certainty has very high costs. In Herberman’s case,  measurable in lives.