A Cain Campaign Ad Showing His Campaign Manager Smoking and Asking People to Support Cain. The not so subtle subliminal message was that Cain endorses smoking despite his cancer treatment.

Cain likes to portray his survival from Cancer as a miracle from God. God saved him from cancer so he could run for the presidency. Besides using his cancer to declare himself the New Moses, Cain uses it to attack President Obama’s health care reforms and all government aided health care. This article suggests that Cain’s survival from his cancer was pretty much the norm today and he misinforms when he uses it to proclaim himself holy and to praise the health care system in America.

Here is Cain describing his cancer in a recent Rolling Stone magazine article[1]:

Herman Cain was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer in March 2006.  “I had it in my colon and my liver — stage IV,” the GOP presidential candidate said in a speech last year. “And to quote my first surgeon: ‘That’s as bad as it gets.'” His second surgeon gave him a slightly rosier outlook, telling Cain: “You have a five percent chance of even being alive three years from now.”

This seriously misstates what Cain’s doctors actually told him. It distorts what Cain said at the time he announced his cancer in 2006 and what he says in his biography This is Herman Cain. In regards to being told “That’s as bad as it gets,” this leaves out that he was also told that his cancer survival chances were very good. Cain found out about his stage IV cancer on April 4, 2006, and this article describing Cain’s condition appeared ten days later on Friday, April 14 in the Omaha World Herald[2]:

Cain , 60, said Thursday that his doctors told him that the cancer , found two weeks ago, can be treated successfully, given that it was detected early and that medical treatment options have advanced rapidly.

“I am totally assuming cure,” he said…

Cain said he has talked with six doctors and learned that treatment for colon cancer , especially chemotherapy, has improved rapidly. Rather than automatically having surgery, tests will determine whether he should have chemotherapy or surgery or both.

“That’s very encouraging,” Cain said. “Detecting it now is always a good thing. I have more than a fighting chance. And you know that Herman doesn’t need but a small fighting chance.”

He said he hopes to continue his weekly talk radio show from Houston and to recover quickly enough to debate Steve Forbes on national tax policy, an event scheduled for May 31 at the National Press Club in Washington.

In a ten day period from April 4 to April 13, Cain had consulted with six doctors and had concluded that he had “more than a fighting chance” and would be able to hold a debate at the national press club six and a half weeks later. He was “totally assuming cure.”

Cain did not say anything about any of the six doctors telling him “he had a five percent chance of even being alive three years from now.” Rather he was upbeat in all his press releases and interviews.

The first public announcement was two days before on Wednesday April 12, 2011, just eight days after Cain’s diagnosis had been confirmed by a cat scan. This is from the Atlanta Journal Constitution[3]:

 Herman Cain, the former U.S. senate candidate and the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has been diagnosed with colon cancer, a spokeswoman for Cain said this morning.

“The guy’s a fighter and he’s going to be fine,” said Ericka Pertierra, his chief of staff. “He’s trying to figure out how to do the radio show from the bed.”

The Nation’s Restaurant News reported this on the ex-Godfather’s CEO[4]:

“The good news is my outlook and prognosis is very optimistic because the cancer was detected early,” Cain, 60, was to start treatment April 24 at the University of Texas’… “No pity parties are allowed,” he said. “I’m very optimistic I’m going to win this fight.”

According to his biography, he was “uplifted” when he first met with his surgeon, Dr. Abdalla, on April 28, 2011:

Doctor Abdalla thought I was in excellent physical condition and didn’t see why I even had the cancer, since there was no family history with mom, dad, or my brother. Sixty percent of the people who use this approach live a minimum of five years or more, and half of these are completely cured[5].

This positive prognosis of a more than 60% chance of surviving five years or more is reflected in Cain’s continued optimism in later press releases. On May 2, the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote[6]:

 Cain sends word that his prognosis remains excellent. He still plans to keep most of his May calendar, including a May 24 rally in Gwinnett County with U.S. Rep. John Linder and radio talk show host Neal Boortz.

According to SEER Cancer Statistics review, the five year survival rate for males 55-64 of stage IV, Colon Regional cancer was 66.1% between 2001-2007[7]. Since Cain was undergoing his therapy in 2006, when therapies had improved quite a bit from 2001, in one of the best cancer hospitals in the country, (University of Texas M.D. Anderson was ranked #1 by U.S. News and World Reports – (http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/cancer), the survival rate chance was probably above 70% for Cain.

It is hard to imagine that any doctor at that time actually told Cain he had a five percent survival chance when he actually had over a 70% survival chance. The “second surgeon” that Cain refers to in this statement may have been Dr. Cathy Eng of M.D. Anderson Center. However, what she told CNN in a recent interview is nothing like this. Instead, she noted[8]:

 Twenty five percent of colon cancer patients are told they have advanced or stage 4 colon cancer, just as Herman Cain was. The key to a good prognosis is really whether the tumor or tumors can be removed by surgery, says Eng.

The five year survival rate for patients whose tumor can’t be taken out is between 11 and 15%, says Eng, but the percentage goes up dramatically — to between 35 and 65% — for patients who can get surgery.

It is perhaps slightly unfair to blame Cain for the statement about the 5% chance of surviving. Although it had been repeated on many sites in the conservative blogosphere over the past month, it seems to have originated with the Rollingstone Magazine article. Cain used the 5 percent number at a Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans[9].  I have not found Cain using the 5 percent figure, except here. We may dismiss it as a gaffe on Cain’s part. However Cain does constantly cite a 30% survival rate, as in this article from a March, 2011 interview[10]:

That was nearly five years ago and I only had a 30 percent chance of survival. God said ‘Herman, not yet’.” My question was, ‘Lord why are you keeping me here?’ Now let me tell you why I know God kept me here. Let me give you why I know God kept me here to do something that I never envisioned.

Cain knows or should know that five year survival rates are how doctors judge survival from cancer. He knows or should know that his chances for survival were at least 60% and not 30%. If he is using the lower figure because he does not understand this, he is accidentally misleading people. However, for somebody to have cancer and not understand the difference between survival rate and being cancer-free would be pretty incredible. It is hard to believe that Cain could lack that knowledge. It seems much more likely that Cain does know the difference and is simply lying to make his recovery sound more miraculous than it was.

Further evidence that Cain is purposefully trying to make his rather standard and ordinary recovery from cancer seem to be a miracle comes from his above mentioned interview with CBN:

When I started thinking about running for president, I thought about Noah. Noah didn’t know how to build an ark. I started to think about Moses. Moses resisted going back leading the children out of Egypt. The Bible is full of people. Joshua didn’t want to lead the children into the Promised Land. God spoke to Moses and encouraged Moses, you must talk to our son Joshua, and he did and that gave him the strength.

When I was first detected that I had stage 4 cancer I had to go and get a second opinion. The doctor that was recommended was a doctor in Savannah, Georgia, three hours away from Atlanta. I resisted. I said, ‘why do I need to go all the way to Savannah and I live here in Atlanta with all these hospitals and doctors here. I know I have cancer. I know what we need to get done. Let’s get on with the program.’

You know that business mentality. And so the friend of mine said, ‘I think you want to go see this doctor. His name is Dr. Lord.’ I said, ‘What? L-O-R-D?’ Yes. He was a colon cancer specialist. Dr. Lord gave me my second opinion.

When I went to MD Anderson Cancer Center and I had to go through orientation with my wife in terms of how to navigate through this big medical facility, we went into the orientation office and the lady that was supposed to give us our orientation, she was busy with some other new patients. So the lady at the counter said to keep you and Mrs. Cain from waiting, I will give you your orientation so you won’t have to wait.

I said, ‘Well thank you. How nice I didn’t know they had good customer service at a big medical facility but they do.’ So we go into the conference room and she put all the materials down that we were supposed to go through. And she started to tell us about what we needed to do, how I could get my blood work done the night before. I said, ‘wait a minute. You’ve been so nice. What is your name?’ She said ‘Grace’. I said, ‘Do you spell it the same way as you spell it in Amazing Grace?’ She said, ‘yes.’

A lady named Grace. My wife and I looked at each other and I said, ‘thank you Lord.’ He’s with me on this journey. I’m not done yet. I was randomly assigned an oncologist and a surgeon. The surgeon’s name is Dr. Abdullah. He’s from Lebanon. That made me a little nervous initially but only to find out that he’s a Christian. He’s a Christian and when I went in to see Dr. Abdullah. he was explaining to me how he was going to remove a part of my colon and a part of my liver in one operation.

I’m going, ‘Doc you must be a miracle worker. How are you going to do that’? The colon is on the left. The liver is on the right. How are you going to do that with one incision?’

He said, I do it all the time. I’m going to start in your sternum and I’m going to make an incision in the shape of a “J”. As in J-E-S-U-S? He said yes. A Jesus cut. I said, ‘thank you Lord.’ God said ‘not yet’ and He gave me these signs along the way that let me know that He was with me.

And I firmly believe that God kept me for a reason much bigger than I ever would have dreamed or imagined. Whether that is ultimately to become the President of the United States or not, I don’t know. I just know at this point I am following God’s plan.

Cain makes his recovery from cancer appear to be a miracle from God with three proofs: 1) He visited a Dr. named Lord, 2) a woman named Grace gave him an orientation, 3) the incision was in the shape of a “J” which Cain associates with the name Jesus.

According to Cain, the visit to Dr. Lord in Savanah, three hours from Atlanta was not necessary. Cain, according to press releases had consulted with at least five other doctors. The doctor did not give any new information. By his own admission, Cain only went to see the doctor because his name was Lord. This indicates that Cain within one week of learning he had a quite curable form of cancer was already planning on portraying his cure as a miracle from God.

That a woman behind a counter that Cain talked to was named Grace is possible, but Cain’s addition of pointless details, (e.g. ‘ She said ‘Grace’. I said, ‘Do you spell it the same way as you spell it in Amazing Grace?’ She said, ‘yes.’) about the meeting with the woman suggests that he made her up. When people are lying, they tend to add pointless details to distract people from the fact that they’re lying. Also note that Cain does not give the last name of the woman to make it more difficult to fact check her.

Assuming it was true, it is probable that Cain came in contact with numerous receptionists and nurses during his time of treatment. There are over 286,000 women named Grace in the United States. It is the 114th most popular name (information from http://names.mongabay.com/female_names.htm). The number of women who have this name is 0.189%. In this case the name did not need to be Grace in order for Cain to associate it with a miracle. There are many other female names that Cain could have used to associate himself with a Biblical Miracle. For example, there is Mary the most popular female name in America. The number of women with this name is 2.629%. Cain could also have used Maria (7 – .828%), Angela (29 – 468%), Marie (44 -. 379%), Gloria (56 – .335%), Angelica (390 – .039%), Angel (424 – .035%), Hope (427 – .034%), Faith (484 – .028%), Gracie (638 – .018%) and Charity (643 -.018%). If we add up the percentage of women with these names, we find it is 5% or 1 out of every 20 women.  If Cain met 20 women during this period, his odds would be roughly 50/50 of finding one with one of these names. If he met 40 women, his odds would have doubled to 66%. If he met 60 women, his odds would have been about 75% to 25% favorable.

Since he had met two people with names he could relate to biblical miracle language, we would expect that Cain would come up with a third name to connect to biblical miracle language. Instead Cain, pulls a switch and comes up with a letter and Cain does the connecting by coming up with a name. The doctor told him that his incision would be in the shape of a “J”. Cain connected this to the word “Jesus.” He could have just as easily connected it to any other word starting with the letter “J”. Crossword solver (http://www.crosswordsolver.org/definition/J) lists some 2,000 words and names starting with the letter “J”. Cain could just as easily have connected himself and his “J” cut with James Madison, Jefferson Davis, Jellyroll Morton, Johann Sebastian Bach, Julio Iglesias, John Doe, Jack Benny, Jack Lemmon, Jack Nicholson, Jame Dean, Jacques Costeau, Jeremy Bentham, Jesse Jackson, James Cagney, Jimmy Steward, John Wayne, John D. Rockefeller, J. Edgar Hoover, Joan Crawford, Jane Austin, Jane Fonda, John Wilkes Booth, Joseph Stalin, Julius Caesar, or Judas. For that matter, he could have associated the “J” with jester, joker, jailbird, jealous, jacking off, jeer, jejune, jellyfish, jinx, jughead, junk, junkie, junior, or juvenile delinquent.

Cain should also know that the letter “J” is a modern symbol, first used in the 17th century in the English languish. In Greek the name Jesus started with the letter iota (ί) in latin, it would have been the letter “I.” Thus if the cut had been a straight line, Cain could have said, it stood for Isus, Latin for Jesus, if a straight line with a curve to the right, it was Greek iota, the first letter of Jesus’ name in Greek. If a horizontal line with a slight curve down at the end, he could have said it was the Hebrew letter yod which began the name Jesus in Hebrew. A diagonal line with a curve at the end would have been yudh, the first Aramaic letter for the word Jesus. If the incision was a “C” cut, it could have said it stood for Christ. If it was an “X” cut, he could have said it was the Greek letter chi which stood for Christ.

This type of thinking where symbols are confused with their ideological referents can be described as pre-enlightenment, pre-scientific, magical or religious thinking. Its use in by an adult shows a lack of rational, scientific education and training. It may also be associated with schizophrenia and mental illness. The man who thinks that his surgical scar is a message from his God is not a rational being.

Besides using his cancer experience to promote the idea that he has been chosen by God to be President of the United States, Cain has used it to attack President Obama’s health care reforms. Here is Cain on Fox News in 2009[11]:

CAIN: The health-care system, I call it the health care deformed legislation. It’s going to deform our system. If that system had been in place when I contracted cancer or was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, Neil, I would be dead. And here’s — for the following reason.

Health — government-controlled socialized medicine ultimately leads to rationing, which leads to delay. With the bureaucrat deciding when or whether or not you can get that CAT scan.

The first thing, after my cancer was detected, that I needed to get after the colonoscopy was a CAT scan. In Canada you might wait six months. In Britain you might wait nine months.

I was able to get a CAT scan in five days because one, we’ve got plenty of CAT scan machines here in the United States right now, because the government is not telling hospitals how many they can have and how many they can’t have.

And I, like the 70 percent in this country that have private insurance, I was able to get a CAT scan in one in five days. It saved my life.

Polifact.com judged this reasoning on President Obama’s Health Care Reforms to be false[12].

We don’t know the personal details of Cain’s health status or how he is insured. But it’s impossible for us to see how a government bureaucrat could have delayed Cain’s care. Cain said at the debate that, “If we had been on ‘Obamacare’ and a bureaucrat was trying to tell me when I could get that CAT scan, that would have delayed my treatment.” But there is no part of the health care law that allows a government bureaucrat to weigh in on an individual’s course of treatment — not Cain’s nor anyone else’s. We rate his statement False.

Polifact also examined Cain’s repeated lies about the low number of Cat scan machines in Canada and the long wait times. They also concluded his statements were false[13].

Unfortunately Cain would not tell us how he determined the number of CT scanners in Canada and the United States. In fact, neither he nor anyone from his staff would say anything to us beyond, “I don’t think we’re going to comment.”
But PolitiFact did find data quantifying the number of CT scans per capita.

Canada had 12.7 CT scanners per 1 million residents in 2007, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The United States had 34.3 per million in 2007, the last year the organization had data for the United States.

Canada has fewer CT scanners per capita than Greece and Portugal, two countries on the verge of bankruptcy, and it certainly has fewer than the United States, but not “like one-tenth.” It’s more like one-third.

Even though Cain’s numbers were not factually accurate, his general opinion that decreased diagnostic capacity puts patients at risk still deserves scrutiny.

Canada spends less on medical treatment and therefore does have less capacity, said Edwin Meyer, founder of Buffalo-based Cross Border Access, a company that helps negotiate hospital billing rates for Canadians coming to the United States for medical services.

Canada does a good job prioritizing who needs service right away and by doing so keeps costs for patients low, Meyer said.

But a person with a non-life-threatening injury that keeps them out of work and causes constant pain may not receive diagnostic services and surgery right away.

“People that are in need but stable can end up waiting a long time,” Meyer said.

While the United States has better capacity in general, many Americans, like the uninsured, do not have access to this capacity, said William Custer, a professor at the Institute of Health Administration at Georgia State University.

The high number of CT scanners has also helped to drive up the cost of health care in the United States, but Custer said there is little evidence that this more costly service leads to better health outcomes.

Ultimately, you can’t judge a national health care system on medical capacity alone, he said.

Cain not only lied about the number of Cat scan machines in Canada, he also lied about it endangering the health of patients. Survival rates in Canada for Colon cancer was 63% from 2004-2006[14], roughly the same as the more than 60% chance Dr. Abdalla told Cain he had.

While I could not find average Cat scan data waiting times for Cancer patients in Canada, I did find referral to treatment waiting times. According to Cain’s biography, he was adviced to get a biopsy on Feb 10th for to test for cancer.  He waited until March 22nd to get the biopsy for cancer which tested positive. He had his Cat Scan one week later on March 29th. It appears treatment didn’t start until at least April 28th when he went to see Dr. Abdullah. We can take the time between Cat scan to the time of his seeing Dr. Abdullah as his wait time. It was March 29th to April 28th, a total of 4.5 weeks. How does this compare to wait times in Canada. According to CancerCare Ontario[15].

Radiation wait times have been continually improving in Ontario since 2003. Median provincial radiation wait times fell 31%, from 6 weeks in fall 2003 to 4.1 weeks in fall 2006. This is based on the waiting period from the time a regional cancer centre receives a referral for a patient to receive radiation treatment to the time the patient receives his or her first treatment. This period is called “referral to treatment.” The median wait time is the point at which half the patients have started their radiation treatment and the other half are still waiting.

Cain’s wait time between referral to treatment was at least 4.5 weeks in the Spring of 2006, the average wait time from referral to treatment in Ontario, Canada was 4.1 weeks in the Fall of 2006. In other words, the average person in Ontario, Canada waited for treatment just as long as Cain, one of the top 1% wealthiest men in America did.

It is noteworthy that Cain not only falsified his data, but his data was irrelevant to the issue. Wait times for Cat Scans simply do not measure the quality of health care. Let us say you have two countries with 10 people wanting to get Cat Scans in each. In both countries, eight people want it for treatment of cancer and two people want it for cosmetic surgery to remove wrinkles. In country A with a profit based health care system, the two people who want cosmetic surgery get their Cat scans in one week. The other eight cannot afford to get them and die. In country A, the average waiting time for a Cat scan has to be considered as 1 week. In country B, with socialized health care, The eight people who need them to treat Cancer get them in one week, but the other two with cosmetic surgery have to wait six months/26 weeks. In country B, total average waiting time would be (2 x 26) + (8 X 1) or 60 weeks or an average of 6 weeks waiting time per person. The results: Country A with the profit system ends up with 8 dead poor people and 2 happy rich people without wrinkles, and the average Cat scan wait time is only 1 week. Country B with the socialized system ends up with 10 living people, with 8 living poor people and 2 unhappy rich people who had to live an extra six months with their wrinkles. The average Cat scan wait time is 6 weeks. Obviously any sane person would say that Country B with 6 week wait time provides better health care for its citizens than country A with a 1 week wait time, but lots of dead poor people who can’t afford it.

Rather than bogus claims about Cat scan waiting times, one only has to look at life expectancies in countries with socialized health care and for-profit health care to see the difference[16]. The United States is number 36 in the World, currently tied with Cuba, a much poorer country that spends 1/10th per person on health care and yet has an equal life expectancy through socialized health care[17]. Canada, although it spends 2/3rds per person for health care has a life expectancy 2.4 years higher than the United States. The 35 countries that have moved ahead of the United States in life expectancy over the last 30 years have done it with government-run socialized health care systems.

We should also note that the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, where Cain was treated, is a non-profit institution. It was established as part of an act by the Texas legislature in 1941. The Federal Government’s “National Cancer Act of 1971 established it as one of the nation’s three comprehensive cancer centers” (See M.D. Anderson – Wikipedia,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Texas_MD_Anderson_Cancer_Center). It is correct to say that Cain is alive today because the federal government of the United States supported the idea of socialist health care and spent billions of tax dollars from 1971 to 2006 to successfully develop the science of treating cancer. Cain should be a poster child for socialized health care.

To sum up, Cain lies about his miracle cure from cancer, he lies about President Obama’s health care reforms, he lies about the number of Cat Scan machines in Canada and he leis about the quality of health care in Canada and other countries.

With the way he uses his cancer to promote his political career, Cain shows not that he is an extraordinary human being chosen by God to be president, as he claims, but that he is an extraordinarily self-centered, pre-enligthtenment thinking and morally sick human being.
 


[1] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/docs-herman-cains-cancer-isnt-disqualifying-20111012, Dickerson, Time, Docs: Herman Cain’s Cancer Is Not Disqualifying, Oct 13, 2011.

[2] Jordan, Steve, Omaha World Herald, April 14, 2006.

[3] Atlanta Journal Constitution, Herman Cain Diagnosed With Cancer, April 12, 2006

[4] Nation’s Restaurant News, Ex-Godfathers, NRA Chief Cain in Cancer Treatment, 5/1/2006/Volume 40, issue 18.

[5] Cain, Herman, This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House, Threshold Editions, 2011.

[6] The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, For Cain, the Knife Delayed, May 2, 2006.

[8] Trish, Henry, Cancer spurred Cain to go ‘bigger and bolder’ CNN, Oct. 19, 2011.

[10] The Brody File, Herman Cain’s Story of God’s Healing Power, March 22, 2011.

[11] Cavuto, Neil, Fox News, Stalled Health-Care Leading to Surge in Dow? – Will Obama Alienate His Rich Supporters? – Housing Sales Rise For Third Straight Month, July 23, 2009.

[12] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/sep/27/herman-cain/herman-cain-said-government-bureaucrats-will-deter/ Polifact.com, Herman Cain said government bureaucrats will determine when you get a CAT scan once the new health care law begins.

[14] http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2010/09/15/cancer-survival-stats.html, CBC News, Cancer Survival Rates Imprové Slightly.

[16]         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy#List_by_the_United_Nations_.282005-2010.29