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Biden brings cancer fight to the fore

President Biden announced the goal of ending cancer as we know it in a speech Monday at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Dorchester. It was the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's moonshot speech.Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff

We have to address the toxic world we’ve created

Re “Biden recommits to cancer fight” (Page A1, Sept. 13): When I was a child in the early 1950s, we knew no one who had cancer. Now, about 80,000 Americans a year get lymphoma alone. What has happened in my lifetime?

Sure, we concentrate on drugs and detection. But when will we face that this is an epidemic? About 40 percent of people will deal with cancer in their lifetime. Could it be due to something in the environment? Sorry, but duh ...

Until we face the toxic world we have created, we will never lick cancer, which seems to present more as a reaction to modern life than a disease.


I was born into a generation that grew up on a tragic alphabet of chemicals. Their effect is staring us in the face. When will we acknowledge what we have done and do something smart about it?

Cancer is not a chemotherapy deficiency. It is the real scourge of our society.

Lisa Millimet

Camden, Maine

Public health experts know how to cut death rates

President Biden’s “moonshot” announcement Monday at the Kennedy Library (“Biden recommits to cancer fight”) is laudable and a milestone in our fight against the second leading cause of death in the United States. At the same time, public health experts who have long been engaged in this fight have essentially been jumping up and down, raising their hands, and yelling, “Over here!”

Funding for bench science research, which provides the foundation for applied science, has been on the steady decline for years, especially at academic institutions that primarily serve Black, Hispanic, and Native American students and women researchers. Yet public health experts already know how to achieve Biden’s goal of cutting cancer death rates in half in 25 years: Rein in the tobacco industry, the number one cause of preventable death; change federal agriculture policy, which subsidizes a toxic food industry; promote a robust transportation system, which improves public health exponentially.


I realize public health policy is far less sexy than, say, curing cancer. But doesn’t it make sense to do everything we can to prevent the disease in the first place?

Deborah Milbauer


The writer is a senior lecturer in the department of health sciences at Northeastern University.