Finally, some intelligent movement in the allopathic community toward saner diagnosis and understanding of what cancer is.
So far, they have successfully indoctrinated people to believe that a tumour verdict is the kiss of death. Not so! Many are benign and will disappear on their own.
The medical community takes advantage of the deep-seated fear of the “C-word” to rush people into surgery and other dangerous treatments that are not only INeffective, but actually increase the chances they will develop cancer.
These protocols are in the best interests of the hospitals and insurance companies—NOT the patients’. They can’t waste an opportunity to suck people into the “health care” system—which is anything but.
If traditional cancer treatments worked, they would have reduced the number of deaths, but they haven’t. It’s not rocket science.
The “C-Word” isn’t the kiss of death, but the hospital too often is, for many reasons, and people are going to be enraged when they learn the ultimate truths about cancer.
By Dr. Mercola
Nearly two million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, and one in three will face a cancer diagnosis at some time in their lives. Yet despite massive technological advances over the past half-century, Western medicine is still at a loss for how to rein in its prevalence.
At this point, it’s becoming increasingly clear that many of the conventional strategies, from diagnosis to treatment are riddled with flawed assumptions and approaches that, in many cases, do more harm than good.
What’s worse, virtually none of the conventional strategies actually address the root of the problem.
Cancer to Be Redefined?
NPR recently interviewed Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society about the National Cancer Institute’s suggestion to change the definition of “cancer.” The reason for this is because mounting research shows that many harmless tumors are being overtreated, thereby causing far more harm than good.
As reported by NPR:1
“[S]ometimes no treatment is needed at all, and that’s why the National Cancer Institute recently recommended that the definition of cancer be changed… Their new definition of cancer would be narrower than current standards.
The Institute hopes that keeping the word cancer out of some diagnoses would minimize unnecessary treatments and help calm patient anxiety.
‘…Essentially, what has happened is our technologies have gotten so good that we can find some early cancers, or things that look like cancer, that we now know, if left alone, would never grow, spread and harm the patient.
So we’re actually treating some lesions that look like cancer unnecessarily,’ [Dr. Brawley says.] ‘What we’re trying to do is spare some people the harms associated with unnecessary treatment…’”
According to Dr. Brawley, thoughts on cancer have started to change as a result of new information. For example, about 50-60 percent of prostate cancer cases would likely be better off being watched instead of treated. Ditto for thyroid- and lung cancer, where 20-30 percent and about 10 percent respectively, should be watched rather than treated.
In the case of breast cancer, about one-third of women currently diagnosed with breast cancer have harmless tumors that pose no threat to their life. As described by New York Times writer Peggy Orenstein:2
“[C]ancer in your breast doesn’t kill you; the disease becomes deadly when it metastasizes, spreading to other organs or the bones. Early detection is based on the theory, dating back to the late 19th century,
That the disease progresses consistently, beginning with a single rogue cell, growing sequentially and at some invariable point making a lethal leap. Curing it, then, was assumed to be a matter of finding and cutting out a tumor before that metastasis happens.
The thing is, there was no evidence that the size of a tumor necessarily predicted whether it had spread. According to Robert Aronowitz, a professor of history and sociology of science at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of ‘Unnatural History: Breast Cancer and American Society,’
Physicians endorsed the idea anyway, partly out of wishful thinking, desperate to “do something” to stop a scourge against which they felt helpless.”
Although More Cancers are Detected, Mortality Rates Remain Stable
Mammography was heralded as the answer, as it could detect tumors at a much earlier stage, and as annual mammograms became the norm in the US, more cancers were indeed detected—yet the rates of women dying from the disease remained virtually unchanged.
As Orenstein points out, “that should have been a sign that some aspect of the early-detection theory was amiss.” But no.. Instead, flawed assumptions were tacked onto flawed theories, and the general thinking remained that detecting cancer earlier-still was the key to saving lives.
Hence, much of the focus on cancer “prevention” has been diverted into early-detection, more or less ignoring the most obvious question, which is: How do we prevent the formation of lethal tumors in the first place?
For all its flaws, cancer research has determined that the disease is more complex than previously thought. For example, it does not necessarily progress in a consistently uniform manner. They’ve also discovered that there are a number of genetically distinct types of breast cancer—each of which may have different triggers and respond differently to current treatments. These include but are not limited to:
- Estrogen-dependent luminal A and luminal B
- HER2-positive, which over-produces a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2
- Basal-like or “triple negative,” which is the most aggressive form of breast cancer. Its growth is unrelated to the most common biomarkers for breast cancer (estrogen, progesterone and HER2); hence the “triple negative” designation
Analysis of 30 Years of Breast Screening Shows Mammograms Do More Harm than Good
Last year, the New England Journal of Medicine3 published an analysis of the effects of breast cancer screening in the US over the past 30 years, which found that 1.3 million women were misdiagnosed and mistreated as a result of regular mammogram screenings over that timeframe. Moreover, while the detection of early-stage breast cancers doubled since the advent of mammography, late-stage cancer incidence decreased by just eight percent in the same time frame, suggesting that catching and treating tumors early does not automatically eliminate more serious cases of cancer.
According to the authors of the study:
“…the imbalance suggests that there is substantial overdiagnosis, accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, and that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer.”
As you can see, there’s a crucial difference between a non-malignant lesions/tumor and invasive cancer. Yet at present, little distinction is made between the two. Either is typically delivered and received as a death sentence. It is this that the National Cancer Institute’s proposed redesignation of “cancer” is aiming to address. I for one believe it can be quite helpful. At present, an estimated 50,000 American women4 are transformed from healthy women with non-lethal lesions into pink-ribboned “cancer survivors”—thinking they survived a brush with death, when in fact they may have just went through hell for no reason…
Mammography May Harm 10 Times More Women Than It Helps
According to recent findings by the Nordic Cochrane Center,5 only ONE out of 2,000 women screened regularly for 10 years will actually benefit from screening due to early detection of breast cancer. Meanwhile, 10 healthy women (out of those 2,000 screened for a decade) will be misdiagnosed, turned into cancer patients, and will be treated unnecessarily.
These women will have either a part of their breast or the whole breast removed, and will typically receive radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy. This treatment (for a cancer that was non-existent) subsequently increases their risk of dying from complications from the therapy and/or from other diseases associated with radiation and chemo, such as heart disease and cancer. In all, routine mammography led to 30 percent over-diagnosis and overtreatment, which equates to an absolute risk increase of 0.5 percent. So, to recap, in order for mammographic breast screening to save ONE woman’s life:
- 2,000 women must be screened for 10 years
- 200 women will get false positives, and
- 10 will receive surgery and/or chemotherapy even though they do not actually have cancer
What these statistics overwhelmingly show us is that just because you were treated for cancer does not mean you’re a cancer survivor. If you really didn’t have cancer to begin with, then you’re really just a “cancer treatment survivor.” Yet all women treated for cancer who survive become part of the official “cancer survivor” statistic that is then used to justify the effectiveness of the current system of diagnosis and treatment!
More carefully distinguishing between harmless lumps and malignant tumors would go a long way toward preventing needless emotional and physical trauma associated with over-diagnosis and overtreatment. It would probably also aid in determining the actual effectiveness of various treatments.
Women Need to Become Better Informed
The conundrum now lies in convincing a petrified public, thoroughly saturated with “awareness” of the lethal consequences of cancer, that it may be in your best interest to forsake some of the diagnostic tests and treatments. This is likely to be a challenge, because few dare to take a less aggressive route when their life might be at stake. As stated by Orenstein:
“The fear of cancer is legitimate: how we manage that fear, I realized — our responses to it, our emotions around it — can be manipulated, packaged, marketed and sold, sometimes by the very forces that claim to support us. That can color everything from our perceptions of screening to our understanding of personal risk to our choices in treatment.”
Again, to give you some more data to chew on, Orenstein discusses the results of other studies as follows:6
“As improbable as it sounds, studies have suggested that about a quarter of screening-detected cancers might have gone away on their own. For an individual woman in her 50s, then, annual mammograms may catch breast cancer, but they reduce the risk of dying of the disease over the next 10 years by only 0.07 percentage points — from 0.53 percent to 0.46 percent. Reductions for women in their 40s are even smaller, from 0.35 percent to 0.3 percent.” [Emphasis mine]
In order to not only make better informed decisions, but also make decisions that are less colored by fear, women need to be provided with all of their screening options, including their strengths and weaknesses; benefits and risks. Today, women are rarely informed about the fact that ionizing radiation is a major contributor to cancer for example, i.e. that routine testing itself can increase their risk of lethal breast cancer.
This is an extremely important point considering the introduction of 3D mammograms, which exponentially increase your exposure to harmful radiation that might lead to cancer later on. To learn more about this, please see my previous article, New 3D Mammography Significantly Increases Radiation Exposure, and Your Risk of Radiation-Induced Cancer.
Results from Other Studies Evaluating Effectiveness of Mammography
- Archives of Internal Medicine7 published a meta-analysis of 117 randomized, controlled mammogram trials. Among its findings: Rates of false-positive results are high (20% to 56% after 10 mammograms), and “although few women 50 years of age or older have risks from mammography that outweigh the benefits, the evidence suggests that more women 40 to 49 years of age have such risks.”
- A study published in the British Medical Journal8 in December 2011, confirmed that breast cancer screening may cause women harm, especially during the early years after they start screening. This harm is largely due to surgeries, such as lumpectomies and mastectomies, and other (often unnecessary) interventions. The study highlights losses in quality of life from false positive results and unnecessary treatment.
- In September 2010, theNew England Journal of Medicine published the first study9 in years to examine the effectiveness of mammograms. Their findings are a far cry from what most public health officials would have you believe. The bottom line is that mammograms seem to have reduced cancer death rates by only 0.4 deaths per 1,000 women—an amount so small it might as well be zero. Put another way, 2,500 women would have to be screened over 10 years for a single breast cancer death to be avoided.
What Causes of Cancer are Currently Ignored?
So what are some of the root causes of cancer that the industry is failing to address? Well, for one, I believe it would behoove us if researchers spent less time and money searching for genetic factors and more on evaluating the carcinogenic impact of various lifestyle- and environmental factors. Because while some cancers may be highly influenced by inherited genetic defects, the emerging science of epigenetics proves that your genetic code is not nearly as predeterministic as previously thought.
You actually have a tremendous amount of control over how your genetic traits are expressed. Your genes will express or suppress genetic data depending on the environment in which it finds itself, meaning the presence or absence of appropriate nutrients, toxins, and even your thoughts and feelings, which unleash hormones and other chemicals in your body. Dr. Susan Love, a breast cancer surgeon and president of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation commented on such research back in 2009, saying:10
“It’s exciting. What it means, if all this environmental stuff is right, is that we should be able to reverse cancer without having to kill cells. This could open up a whole new way of thinking about cancer that would be much less assaultive.”
Research into the health of our ancient ancestors11 also suggests that cancer is indeed a manmade disease. Increasingly, environmental and lifestyle factors are being pinpointed as the culprits, and it is my personal belief that our cancer problem is the result of too many people being regularly exposed to too many of these toxic factors, which include: