Strategies for Controlling Cancer

August 5, 1977

Report Outline
Reassessing the ‘War on Cancer’
Cancer and the Environment
Focuses of Popular Discontent
Special Focus

Reassessing the ‘War on Cancer’

Slow Progress After 40 Years of Effort

Since Aug. 5, 1937, when Congress established the National Cancer Institute, the federal government has made the conquest of cancer an overriding national health goal. From its inception, the cancer program's ambitious objective was to eliminate all forms of the dreaded disease. But to many people the progress of research has seemed agonizingly slow; popular enthusiasm for the unproven anti-cancer drug Laetrile is one indication of the widespread disenchantment with the effectiveness of traditional medical knowledge.

In recent years, under mounting public pressure to match the dramatic achievements in other areas of science and medicine, legislators have poured billions of dollars into the effort to defeat cancer. Yet despite the great investment of federal money and private donations, a cure for the most frightful of all human afflictions has remained stubbornly elusive.

Today, the problems in eradicating cancer are not all confined to the medical laboratory; controversy surrounds the question of who should wage the so-called war on the disease and exactly how it should be carried out. During three days of congressional hearings in June before the House Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Relations and Human Resources, a recurring theme in the testimony was that present policies have been “largely unsuccessful” and that more should be done to identify cancer's possible causes instead of trying to find its remedy.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Jan. 22, 2016  Fighting Cancer
Jan. 16, 2009  Preventing Cancer
Sep. 11, 1998  Cancer Treatments
Jun. 27, 1997  Breast Cancer
Aug. 25, 1995  Advances in Cancer Research
Jan. 29, 1982  New Cancer Treatments
Aug. 05, 1977  Strategies for Controlling Cancer
Aug. 16, 1974  Quest for Cancer Control
Mar. 24, 1967  Cancer Research Progress
May 12, 1951  Control of Cancer
Biology and Life Sciences