"The War In Medicine "Continued from previous post of
The Ralph Moss Story, by Ralph Moss
"In 1974, I began working at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center,
the world's leading cancer treatment hospital. I was an idealistic and
eager young science writer, sincerely proud to be part of Sloan Kettering
and Nixon's "War On Cancer." Ever since I was a kid, my main heroes were
scientists (with the Brooklyn Dodgers running a close second!) The job at
Sloan-Kettering seemed like a dream come true for me. I wanted to be part
of the winning team that finally beat cancer.
Within three years, I had risen to the position of Assistant Director
of Public Affairs at the Hospital. At the time, I was 34 years old,
married to my high-school sweetheart, and we had a daughter and son, then
9 and 7 years old. We had dreams of buying a house and saving for the
kids' education, so you can imagine how thrilled we were when I was
promoted, with a huge raise, glowing feedback from my bosses, and was
told that perks of the job would eventually include reduced tuition for
the kids at New York University. Needless to say, we all were really
counting on my "bright future" at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. But something
soon happened that changed the course of my life forever.
A big part of my job as Assistant Director of Public Affairs was to
write press releases for the media about cancer news and to write the
in-hospital newsletter. I also handled calls from the press and public
about cancer issues. So I was just doing a normal day's work - or so I
thought-when I began interviewing an esteemed scientist at the Hospital
for a newsletter article I was working on. It turned out that the
scientist, Dr.Kanematsu Sugiura, had repeatedly gotten positive results
shrinking tumors in mice studies with a natural substance called
amygdalin (You may have heard of it as "laetrile".) Excitedly (and
naively!) I told my "discovery" of Sugiura's work to the Public Affairs
Director and other superiors, and laid out my plans for an article about
it. Then I got the shock of my life.
They insisted that I stop working on this story immediately and never
pick it up again. Why? They said that Dr. Sugiura's work was invalid and
totally meaningless. But I had seen the results with my own eyes! And I
knew Dr. Sugiura was a true scientist and an ethical person. Then my
bosses gave me the order that I'll never forget: They told me to lie.
Instead of the story I had been planning to write, they ordered me to
write an article and press releases for all the major news stations
emphatically stating that all amygdalin studies were negative and that
the substance was worthless for cancer treatment. I protested and tried
to reason with them, but it fell on deaf ears.
I will never forget how I felt on the subway ride home that day. My
head was spinning with a mixture of strong feelings- confusion, shock,
disappointment, fear for my own livelihood and my family's future, and
behind it all, an intense need to know why this cover-up was happening.
After long talks with my wife and parents (who were stunned, as you can
imagine) I decided to put off writing any amygdalin press releases as
long as I could while I discreetly looked into the whole thing some more
on my own time. Everyone at the office seemed happy just to drop the
whole thing, and we got busy with other less controversial projects.
So in the next few months, I was able to do my own investigating to
answer the big question I couldn't let go of: Who were these people I
worked for and why would they want to suppress positive results in cancer
research? My files grew thick as I uncovered more and more fascinating -
and disturbing - facts. I had never given any thought to the politics of
cancer before. Now I was putting together the pieces as I learned that: