HC Deb 23 November 1950 vol 481 cc500-1
45. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Lord President of the Council in view of the fact that more than 2,900,000 people have died from cancer in the last half century and that the 1,200,000 vivisection experiments on living animals performed during the same period have failed to reveal the cause; what other inquiries are being conducted to discover the cause and cure of this disease, particularly as Great Britain now has the highest percentage of mortality in the world.

The Lord President of the Council (Mr. Herbert Morrison)

I do not accept the implication in the first part of the Question. I am advised that a great deal of information about cancer has been gained through experiments on animals, and valuable methods of treatment of certain forms of cancer have resulted. I am also advised that animal experiments have proved indispensable for assessing and preventing the risk of cancer due to exposure to industrial and other poisons. Direct studies of cancer in human patients are also carried out under the Medical Research Council.

Mr. Freeman

Is it not a fact that the number of deaths, as well as the percentage of deaths, by this disease over the whole of the last 50 years has increased every year, almost without exception, and is not the time ripe for a full and independent inquiry into this whole matter with a view to discovering the cause of it?

Mr. Morrison

I ant told that I should not accept the allegations of fact advanced by my hon. Friend. This disease is worrying enough; and we really must get all the information we can with a view to remedial treatment.

Earl Winterton

Can the right hon. Gentleman confirm or deny the allegation made, or the statement made in the Question, by the hon. Gentleman that we have the highest percentage of mortality from cancer in the world? Is that so?

Mr. Morrison

I am advised I should not accept the implications in these allegations.