Covering Cancer?

How magazines promoted cancer research…and cigarettes

INTRODUCTION

December 22, 2021 marked the 50th anniversary of the signing of the National Cancer Act by President Richard Nixon. Nixon’s call to arms, which became known as the launch of the “War on Cancer,” was revived by Vice President Joe Biden in 2016 and again as President in 2022 as the “Cancer Moonshot”–-a reference to the 1969 Apollo 11 mission that landed a man on the moon eight years after President John F. Kennedy called on Congress to fund this program.

Remarkable, even miraculous, advances have been made in cancer treatment since the 1970s, even as a universal cure for the more than 100 kinds of cancer remains elusive, if not illusory. Yet it has been known for decades that upwards of one third of cancers are entirely preventable by not smoking. Communicating information through the mass media about ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat cancer has always been essential to improving the nation’s health. Throughout the 20th century, the print medium was the most trusted form of communication. Despite the introduction of radio in the 1920s and its soaring popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, the news magazine TIME (1923-2020 as a weekly) had a circulation of 3 million by 1939. And even four decades after the introduction of television into most homes in the 1950s, Newsweek‘s (1933-2012) circulation exceeded 3.3 million. US News & World Report (1948-2008), which published the most in-depth articles of any news magazine, reached 2 million readers a week in 1973.

Cigarette advertising featured prominently in most issues of these newsweeklies from their inception to the early-2000s. This made for numerous ironic juxtapositions–-both before and since the declaration of the war on cancer–-of front cover stories on cancer and back cover advertisements for cigarettes.  This exhibition presents such two-faced examples from the Center’s collection. The extent to which cigarette advertisers influenced news coverage of smoking can only be hinted at.

Meanwhile, most major magazines in the latter half of the 20th century, including TV Guide (circulation 16.4 million in 1972), LIFE, The Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated, Esquire, Playboy, Woman’s Day (8.1 million in 1972), VOGUE, Family Circle, EBONY, and Jet, published cigarette advertisements in nearly every issue. Few articles about cancer–and virtually none about smoking–were published by any of these magazines. Reader’s Digest (17.8 million in 1972) was a rare exception, publishing dozens of original and reprinted articles on the health hazards of smoking beginning in 1952 with “Cancer by the Carton” by Roy Norr, originally published in Christian Herald.

“What Causes Cancer?”
“Why Viceroy? Because I’d never smoke a boring cigarette.”

Cover story, “What causes cancer?” and back cover advertisement for Viceroy cigarettes (Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.) in Newsweek, January 26, 1976

“Cancer and the Environment: Ten Top Suspects”

Table in cover story, “What Causes Cancer?”
Newsweek
January 26, 1976

This six-page article in the Medicine section discusses the widespread public fear generated by reports of cancer-causing chemicals in food and household products. Although the article does not question cigarette smoking as a significant cause of cancer, the inclusion of a table, “Cancer and the Environment: Ten Top Suspects,” in which “tobacco smoke” is number 9, surely mollified concerns of the magazine’s four major cigarette company advertisers. The “suspects” are listed in…alphabetical order!

Nor does the article offer a sanguine outlook:

“[T]he real task of lowering the incidence of cancers induced by the American lifestyle is essentially up to ordinary citizens,” the article concluded, “–and here the outlook for constructive action does not seem so bright. For despite all the warnings, the majority of Americans continue to indulge themselves in the potentially harmful pleasures that their opulent society provides, and so far they are apparently content to take the perils along with the pleasures. ‘Right now we’ve decided that this is the way we want to live and die,’ says Dr. David Baltimore [1938- ], who won the 1975 Nobel Prize for basic cancer research. ‘And that’s the real challenge in American health today.’”

Another key quote from the article: “The outcry that follows each successive new disclosure of a possible carcinogen on the dinner table or in the workshop tends to obscure the fact that 60 million Americans continue to expose themselves to tobacco–the least disputed carcinogen of all.”

In addition to the back cover advertisement for Viceroy cigarettes (Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.), the issue contains six other cigarette advertisements: Merit (Philip Morris, 2 pages), Winston (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.), Lucky Strike (American, 1/3 page), Iceberg 100s (American Tobacco Co., 1/3 page), Doral (RJ Reynolds), and Salem (RJ Reynolds).

“The Truth About Smoking and Cancer”
“Winston Tastes Good! Like a Cigarette Should!”

Cover story, “The Truth About Smoking and Cancer–What is Known and Unknown; Interview with Dr. John R. Heller,” and back cover advertisement for Winston cigarettes (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.) in U.S. News & World Report, July 26, 1957

This extraordinary 14-page article includes an in-depth, 10-page interview with Dr. John Heller [1905-1989]*, director of the National Cancer Institute [from 1948 to 1960], who responds both cautiously and candidly to questions about the ride in lung cancer,  the mounting evidence of cigarette smoking as a cause of lung cancer, and the government’s responsibility in educating the public about cigarettes, as these excerpts show.

Q Is the proportion of deaths caused by all types of cancer increasing and the proportion of deaths caused by lung cancer increasing?

A Yes. In other words, as we are surviving typhoid and gastroenteritis, malaria and so forth, we’re living longer. We must die of something. We’re most likely to die of heart disease—cardiovascular disease. But if we don’t die of that, the next chance is cancer….

(Read More)

“Rising Hope in War on Cancer”
“Turn to Salem for a Taste that’s Springtime Fresh”

Cover story, “Rising Hope in War on Cancer,” and back cover advertisement for Salem cigarettes (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.) in U.S. News & World Report, April 19, 1965

There is not a single mention of smoking in this two-page cover article and the accompanying four-page interview with Dr. Frank L. Horsfall, Jr., President and Director, Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. But Dr. Horsfall makes a prescient comment about treatment vs. prevention in the solution to “the cancer problem”:

“Treatment of paralytic polio is still little more than rehabilitation. And treatment would never, in my opinion, have progressed to the point of being an effective solution for the problem of polio. It was the development of a preventive vaccine that brought this disease under control.

“I use these viral diseases as outstanding examples of the effectiveness of prevention.

“In my opinion, the cancer problem, too, if it is ultimately solved, is not going to be solved solely by treatment, regardless of how effective such treatment becomes. When the cancer problem is solved, I expect it will be through prevention.”

“The Search for a Cure”
“Winston. America’s Best.”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Winston cigarettes (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.) in Newsweek, December 16, 1985

“Slash Risk of Cancer with Simple Diet Change”
“New Kent III 100s, Experience It!”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Kent cigarettes (Lorillard)  in National Enquirer, January 22, 1980

“10 Year Study by Top Cancer Center, Cut Your Risk of Cancer in Half”
“A World of Flavor in a Low Tar”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Merit cigarettes (Philip Morris) in National Enquirer, March 5, 1985

“Gilda Radner’s Answer to Cancer”
“The World’s First Do-It-Yourself Print Ad”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Merit cigarettes (Philip Morris) in LIFE Magazine, March 1988

“One American woman in ten will get Breast Cancer; Why–and what can be done?”
“10 packs of Carlton have less tar than 1 pack of these brands. U.S. gov’t. test method confirms of all king soft packs: Carlton is Lowest.”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Carlton cigarettes (American Tobacco Co.) in TIME Magazine, January 14, 1991

“The American Cancer Society’s A to Z Diet Guide”
“Discover Flavor at the Lowest Levels of Tar and Nicotine”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Merit cigarettes (Philip Morris) in Family Circle, August 11, 1992

“The War on Cancer: A Progress Report”

Cover story, “The War on Cancer: Progress Report,” in Newsweek, February 22, 1974

This nine-page article was sparked by a front-page news story by Gina Kolata in The New York Times on May 3, 1998, headlined “HOPE IN THE LAB: A Special Report; A Cautious Awe Greets Drugs That Eradicate Tumors in Mice.” The article reported the discovery that two drugs, endostatin and angiostatin, developed by cancer researcher Dr. Judah Folkman [1933-2008], stopped cancers from growing by halting angiogenesis,    the formation of new blood vessels.

Not a single sentence in this nine-page article in the Medicine section includes the words “prevention” or “smoking,” even though lung cancer (the number of cases of which was still dramatically increasing in 1981 and would not peak until the mid-1990s) is referred to as one of the most difficult to detect early or to treat. Indeed, the article concludes on a hopeful and almost boastful note:

“Conquest: Despite the advances of the last decade, cancer will still claim the lives of more than 400,000 Americans in 1981. The conquest of smallpox, polio and measles-which took centuries to accomplish-was simple by comparison to the war being waged against cancer. They were simple diseases, caused by viruses that could each be stopped by single vaccines. Cancer is 100 different diseases, one for every type of body cell that has the perverse capacity to break ranks and become malignant. “But progress is coming, and will come, with deliberate speed. Oncologists will find better ways to use current drugs, and basic research into the secrets of the cancer cell will suggest new and more dramatic compounds. And slowly, even the most recalcitrant tumors-those of the lung and the bowel-may become as treatable as leukemia. Granted, there is a long way to go, but the oncologists are confident of the outcome. Says [Dr. Vincent] DeVita [1935- ]: ‘We’re seeing the last little pieces of the chemotherapy puzzle falling into place.'”

1954 True magazine cover

“Who Says Smoking Gives Men Lung Cancer?”

Article by Donald G. Cooley underwritten by the tobacco industry
TRUE The Men’s Magazine
July 1954

“Smoke Without Fear?–A Vital New Report.”

Cover story in ARGOSY, “The largest-selling fiction-fact magazine for men.”
January, 1958.

“Why Shouldn’t You Smoke? Is there a proven cause-and-effect relationship between cigarette smoking and lung cancer? NO, says authority Eric Northrup, and gives surprising reasons why.”

Eric Northrup was the pen name of Leo Nemiroff [1914-2001], author of a 1957 book Science Looks At Smoking: A New Inquiry into the effects of smoking on your health (New York: Coward-McCann), which disputed any link between smoking and health. In the ARGOSY article, Northrup argues that air pollution and “constitutional factors” are the likely causes of lung cancer and downplays the growing evidence of smoking as a cause of cancer by pointing out that the studies were all done on mice, guinea pigs, and machines. He quotes Clarence Cook Little [1888-1971], described as perhaps the world’s leading researcher on cancer in mice (but not also identified as the scientific director and chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board to the Tobacco Industry Research Committee), debunking the research showing that tobacco smoke condensate (or ‘Tar”) painted on mice caused cancer, as “ninety per cent enthusiastic, ten per cent critical.”

Other quotes: “…the overwhelming attention devoted to the purely hypothetical cigarette-cancer risk verges on the absurd.”

“Statistics, as always, can play a brilliant part in providing clues for follow-up laboratory and clinical investigation. But until such claims receive scientific confirmation claims of causation can lead only to unwarranted emphasis that may adversely affect the distribution of research facilities.”

There are three full-page color cigarette advertisements in the issue: Old Gold Filter (Lorillard), Hit Parade (American Tobacco Co.), and Lucky Strike (American Tobacco Co.).

“The Facts about Cigarettes and Your Health” 

Cover story by Henry P. Mattison and John Schneider, Coronet Magazine, May 1950.

Although the authors of this article downplay, deride, or debunk the increasing number of medical reports of a variety of adverse health effects caused by smoking, Coronet, a general interest, family-oriented magazine similar in format to Reader’s Digest (which in 1952 became the first major magazine to warn about the dangers of smoking) did not have cigarette advertising. However, its publisher, Esquire, a recipient of considerable cigarette ad revenue, disseminated reprints of the article.

“[A]larmists, seeking to promote their own or special interests, find it easy to thrive on sensation. Because of our sensitivity to the new and the startling, they can often cast a spell of fear across the country before sober facts catch up and repair the damage. Currently, we are being scared again–this time, about cigarette smoking. From all sides, we hear warnings of the grim fate awaiting smokers. Fifty million Americans who enjoy cigarettes–half the adults in the country–are told that smoking will lead them to an early grave, induce ulcers and high blood pressure, bring on assorted heart ailments, and even encourage the incidence of that gravest of all diseases, cancer. Never before, in fact, have the prophets of doom so diligently exposed the alleged evil effects of tobacco.”

Adolf Hitler

Cover
TIME Magazine
May 7, 1945

“Tyranny Tumbles”

Cover
TIME Magazine
April 21, 2003

“A Special Report: The End of Bin Laden”

Cover
TIME Magazine
May 26, 2011

“How to tell the hope from the hype. A Special Report.”

Cover Story, by Christine Gorman “CANCER: How to tell the hope from the hype,”
TIME Magazine
May 18, 1998

This nine-page article was sparked by a front-page news story by Gina Kolata in The New York Times on May 3, 1998, headlined “HOPE IN THE LAB: A Special Report.; A Cautious Awe Greets Drugs That Eradicate Tumors in Mice.” The article, which reported the discovery that two drugs, endostatin and angiostatin, developed by cancer researcher Dr. Judah Folkman [1933-2008], stopped cancers from growing by stopping angiogenesis, or the formation of new blood vessels. “Within a year, if all goes well,” the article began, “the first cancer patient will be injected with two new drugs that can eradicate any type of cancer, with no obvious side effects and no drug resistance — in mice.”

Although there is no mention of cigarette smoking in the article, at the bottom of a two-page Checklist of Cancer Treatments a paragraph labeled, “The Best Prevention,” notes that “changes in life-style–chief among them quitting smoking–can remove risk factors that cause cancer in the first place…”

A second three-page article, “Molecular Revolution,” by Claudia Willis, lists “cigarette smoke, sunlight, environmental toxins…and aging” as causes of alterations in genes that can result in cancer. The article reflected the view of cancer researchers that “a new era is dawning in the treatment of the U.S.’s No. 2 killer.” Dr. Bert Vogelstein [1949-  ], a world-renowned investigator of cancer genes at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. said, “Three decades ago, the Federal Government’s ‘War on Cancer’ underwrote basic discoveries about the ways broken-down genes led to malignancies. Now that work is beginning to pay off…”As researchers, we feel a tremendous amount of hope, probably for the first time in the history of cancer research,”

There were no cigarette advertisements in this issue.

“Smoking Scare? What’s Happened to It?” 

Cover story in U.S. News & World Report, January 11, 1965

Cover headline: “Smoking Scare? What’s Happened to It?…One year after the big smoking scare–People are smoking about as much as they did before. Sales of cigarettes after a sudden drop a year ago, have climbed back.”

This four-page article describes the lack of impact on U.S. cigarette consumption one year after the publication of the Surgeon General’s report on smoking and health. The hope was that educational campaigns being developed by national health organizations and aimed at teenagers would be more successful in discouraging smoking.

“[A]ll signs indicate that cigarette smoking is still just as widespread among Americans as it ever was…
The Surgeon General himself has said he is ‘disappointed’ that so few Americans gave up cigarettes permanently following the publication of his report….The Surgeon General’s report caused a 30-day slump in cigarette sales, coupled with a wholesale shift to pipes and cigars. Few people, apparently, attempted to quit smoking entirely.”

There were no cigarette advertisements in this issue.

“Is There Proof Smoking Causes Cancer?”

Cover story, “Is There Proof Smoking Causes Cancer? Interview with Dr. E. Cuyler Hammond,” in U.S. News & World Report, February 26, 1954

Cover headline: “Is There Proof Smoking Causes Cancer? Interview with Dr. E. Cuyler Hammond: A Multiplicity of Suspects…How the Research Is Being Handled…What’s Been Found Up to Now,”

This is an in-depth 10-page interview with Dr. E. Cuyler Hammond (1912-1986), director of statistical research of the American Cancer Society and professor of biometrics at Yale University. Dr. Hammond, who smoked, was directing the nation’s largest epidemiological study of smoking and lung cancer. This quote reflected his open-mindedness while conducting his research:

“My personal guess right now is that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between smoking and lung cancer, but I have no idea at the present time whether that relationship is trivial–no more dangerous than crossing the street, for after all, you might get run over crossing the street–or whether it is so important that making cigarettes ought to stop until we found what’s in them that is bad and remove it. But as to whether or not all the harmful ingredients can be removed and still have a cigarette that is pleasant to smoke remains to be seen. I am interested not only in lung cancer, but also other possibly harmful effects of smoking.

“It may be that the nicotine is increasing the death rate from heart disease and that the tar is increasing the death rate from lung cancer and that something else is increasing the death rate for cerebral hemorrhage. If so you will probably have to eliminate the cigarette. We don’t know yet. It is also conceivable that smoking has some beneficial effects.”

There were no cigarette advertisements in this issue.

“Lung Cancer: Who’s at Risk? The Danger for Women and Ex-Smokers: What We Can Learn from Dana Reeve and Peter Jennings”

Cover story, “The Deadliest Cancer,” by Geoffrey Cowley and Claudia Kalb, in Newsweek, August 22, 2005

There are several mentions of smoking in this seven-page article, including “The causes of lung cancer are no great mystery: some 87 percent of all cases result directly from smoking. Whatever your age, sex, race, occupation or family history, the surest way to protect yourself is to avoid smoking or to quit.” The article discusses ABC-TV news reporter and anchor Peter Jennings, who died of lung cancer at 67 that he attributed to his past 35 years of cigarette smoking. The article also mentions actress Dana Reeve, who never smoked but was found to have lung cancer at age 44. Other points of the article include the frustratingly slow progress in the detection and treatment of this largely preventable disease, as well as the need to counteract the largely unopposed $15 billion/year marketing of cigarettes by the tobacco industry.

“Hope in the War Against Cancer”

Cover story, “Stopping Cancer in Its Tracks,” by J. Madeleine Nash, in TIME Magazine, April 25, 1994

This seven-page article focuses on advances in the understanding of angiogenesis, the abnormal formation of new blood vessels by cancer cells that is a harbinger of a spreading cancer, as well as on discoveries related to the genes found in cancer cells: oncogenes, which can mutate and transform a normal cell into a cancerous one; and tumor-suppression genes, most notably p53, which keeps watch over our hereditary material, DNA, as our cells divide [the p53 gene is named for a protein it makes with a molecular weight of 53].

Smoking and Health”
“For Satisfying Pleasure…Kent with the Micronite Filter…”

Cover story and back cover advertisement for Kent cigarettes (Lorillard), November 18, 1963

This six-page article is the most definitive coverage published in any news magazine about the U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory Committee on Smoking and Health in the lead up to the release of the committee’s findings on the role of cigarette smoking and disease. The committee had been set up a year and a half earlier after Washington Evening Star reporter Edgar Prina surprised President John F. Kennedy at a news conference by asking what the federal government was going to do about smoking in the wake of the Royal College of Physicians’ recent indictment of cigarettes. Kennedy asked Surgeon General Dr. Luther Terry to establish a committee to study the issue. Just as the committee was winding up its top-secret investigation, and only a few days after this issue of Newsweek was published, President Kennedy was assassinated. There was doubt that the report would be released, since President Johnson’s friend, attorney Abe Fortus, had represented the tobacco industry. But the report was issued on January 11, 1964–an indictment of smoking as a cause of lung cancer and other diseases, after having reviewed 7,100 studies.

The article included statements from the Tobacco Industry Research Council and several physicians who cast doubt on the evidence that smoking caused cancer. The issue featured an advertisement for Kent cigarettes (Lorillard) on its back cover.

(Read More)

“The War on Cancer: A Progress Report”

Cover story, “The War on Cancer: Progress Report,” in Newsweek, February 22, 1974

This six-page article in the Medicine section highlights the discovery of University of Wisconsin cancer researcher Dr. Howard M. Temin [1934 – 1994]* that the rules for the transmission of genetic material within the cell can be reversed by viruses known to cause cancer in animals. The tone of the article is buoyant, as these two quotes suggest:

“‘[C]oincidentally or not, the White House itself has called for a massive commitment of public funds. ‘The time has come in America,’ said President Richard M. Nixon in his State of the Union Message this year, ‘when the same kind of concentrated effort that split the atom and took man to the moon should be turned toward conquering this dread disease.’”

“What more remains to be seen is how quickly the latest breakthroughs may lead to yet more dramatic and productive ones, so that as some cautious physicians and researchers envision, the war against cancer may be won by the end of the century.”

There is no mention of smoking in the article. There are full-page color advertisements for Parliament cigarettes (Philip Morris), Winston cigarettes (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.), Borkhum Riff pipe tobacco (United States Tobacco Co.), and a one-third page ad for Cuesta-Rey cigars.

*In 1975, Dr. Temin shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology with David Baltimore and Renato Dulbecco for discoveries related to the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. After receiving the award from King Carl Gustav of Sweden, Temin addressed the smokers in the audience…saying he was “outraged that one major measure available to prevent much cancer, namely the cessation of smoking, had not been more widely adopted.” He had also insisted that the ashtray located on the laureates’ table be removed.” In 1994, Dr. Temin died of lung cancer at age 59.

Sources:
Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology by Oren Harman and Michael R. Dietrich, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.
Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, February 9). Howard Martin Temin. Wikipedia. Retrieved March 11, 2022.

“Dr. Clarence Cook (“Pete”) Little–‘If we can get all the women talking about Cancer…’”

Cover story, “Cancer Army,” in Medicine section of TIME Magazine, March 22, 1937

This five-page article profiles cancer researcher Dr. Clarence Cook Little, director of the American Society for the Control of Cancer, and his plans to create a “Women’s Field Army” in 39 states to educate women about cancer, “the largest evangelical movement ever loosed against a disease.” The article begins, “Three hundred thousand U.S. women have cancer. Some 80,000 will die of it this year…”

There is no mention of smoking. In the cover photo, Dr. Little is lighting his pipe.

The back cover is a color advertisement for Lucky Strike cigarettes (American Tobacco Company). There are also two advertisements for pipe tobacco, Prince Albert (RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co.) and Briggs Pipe Mixture (Briggs).

“The New War on Cancer via Virus Research & Chemotherapy”

Cover story, “Cornering the Killer,” in TIME Magazine, July 27, 1959

The five-page article profiles the director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. John R. “Rod” Heller, and discusses the theory of viruses as a cause of cancer and the development of drugs to kill cancer cells. Two key points:

“The experts are in close agreement on what cancer is. First, it is not one disease any more than ‘infection’ is. Cancer ravages the entire plant and animal kingdoms. In Man, there are 200 to 300 kinds, though 90% of human cancers belong to 30 common types. So ‘cancer’ is a collective term.”

“Biggest question in prevention today is how the rise in lung cancer–virtually confined to heavy-smoking men–can be checked and reversed. Rod Heller, bureaucrat and son of a tobacco-growing state (although he has never smoked), has weighed all the conflicting evidence and arrived at a forthright conclusion: ‘Statistical evidence, supported by laboratory findings, has shown that excessive cigarette smoking can be a cause of lung cancer, and that the greater the consumption of cigarettes the greater the risk.’ Practical Dr. Heller sees little prospect of changing U.S. smoking habits, pins his hopes for lung cancer prevention on convicting a specific substance in tobacco tars as the guilt agent, then getting rid of it.”

There is a full-page color advertisement for Pall Mall cigarettes and three small Marlboro cigarette ads totaling one-sixth of a page.

“Diagnosis: Lung Cancer? The Surgeon Operates”

Newsweek
June 22, 1959

“Cancer of the Lung–Case No. 248301,” by Calvin Tomkins

This five-page cover story includes a graphic description of an open-chest operation in a patient suspected of having lung cancer. The article begins,

“Fifty years ago, cancer of the lung was virtually unknown. Today, it kills more than 35,000 Americans a year, strikes down hundreds of thousands throughout the world, and is increasing at a rate that some doctors call ‘epidemic.’ So far, despite intensive research, the only hope of cure is surgery–the massive, radical chest surgery recently undergone by such prominent men as Gen. Nathan Twining, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and TV-radio star Arthur Godfrey.”

The article features a question and answer section with prominent researchers (excerpted below). A color advertisement for Pall Mall cigarettes (American Tobacco Co.) appears in the issue, with the slogan, “Get satisfying flavor…So friendly to your taste!…No flat filtered-out flavor.”

(Read More)

“Toward Control of Cancer”

Cover story, “Toward Cancer Control,” by Peter Stoler and Andrea Chambers, in TIME Magazine,  March 19, 1973

This six-page hagiography of a pioneer of modern immunology and bone marrow transplantation, Dr. Robert Good [1922-2003] is prefaced by a publisher’s note that begins,

“CANCER, mankind’s most feared disease, has been stubbornly resisting the onslaught of medicine since the days of Hippocrates. lt is today the second leading cause of death in the U.S. (after heart disease) and a subject of intensive study by researchers around the world. One of the foremost of these is this week’s cover subject, Dr. Robert Good, director of New York’s Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.”

The article is devoted entirely to advances in the treatment of cancer; thus there is no mention of prevention, smoking, or lung cancer. There are, however, four full-page color advertisements for cigarettes (Tareyton [American Tobacco Co.], Viceroy [Brown & Williamson Tobacco Co.], Kent [Lorillard], and Benson & Hedges [Philip Morris]) and a quarter-page advertisement for Garcia y Vega cigars.

Final Thought

Commentary , “Cancer Moonshot? We already have, but don’t appreciate an important pathway” by Alan Blum, MD in The Birmingham News, August 21, 2016.

“This year more than 480,000 Americans will die from smoking-caused diseases, including over 160,000 from heart disease and 160,000 from lung cancer. And the number is growing.

We landed a man on the moon in 1969. We’ve known even longer how to prevent over a third of cancer deaths. Let’s not keep pretending otherwise. We all have a personal responsibility to prevent teenagers from taking up cigarette smoking and to help our friends and relatives who still smoke end this irredeemably harmful addiction.”

Covering Cancer?

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Curated by Alan Blum, MD

Professor,
Department of Family Medicine
Gerald Leon Wallace, MD, Endowed Chair in Family Medicine
College of Community Health Sciences
Director, Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society
The University of Alabama

Designed by Kevin Bailey, MA

Collections Manager and Digital Archivist
Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society
The University of Alabama

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