There have been a number of highly controversial reports–both pro and con–about the value of screening in younger adults for both breast and prostate cancer.
Regular and early testing does find some cancers. But these processes are not without risk. Radiation from tests–and the tenancy to over treat and attack a cancer before necessary.
I should have know that raw food diet guru, Dr. Mercola, would have an opinion on this. He falls solidly on the side of not testing early or often. Here is an excerpt from a recent post on his site:
My Researcher’s Own Story: Did Overzealous Screening Cause Her Cancer?
By Dr. Mercola
Recently, the Harvard School of Public Health shook the cancer industry when it published research showing that mammograms may not only be inappropriate for breast cancer screening, but may actually contribute to significant overdiagnosis of cancer that otherwise would have remained harmlessi.
According to lead author Mette Kalagerii :
“Mammography might not be appropriate for use in breast cancer screening because it cannot distinguish between progressive and non-progressive cancer…
Radiologists have been trained to find even the smallest of tumors in a bid to detect as many cancers as possible to be able to cure breast cancer.
However, the present study adds to the increasing body of evidence that this practice has caused a problem for women—diagnosis of breast cancer that wouldn’t cause symptoms or death.”
When the scientists also suggested that women need to know the potential harm of mammography errors, the American College of Radiology and Society of Breast Imaging were quick to accuse Harvard’s study of being flawed.
But as more and more women come forward with stories of how they’ve lost their breasts and undergone grueling cancer treatments as a result of overzealous screening, it’s apparent the Harvard team knows what they’re talking about.
A Case in Point…
The Harvard study, released April 3, 2012, reinforces the story of one of the literature researchers that work for this newsletter, whom I mentioned in an article on cancer last year. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and scheduled for several months of chemotherapy and radiation when she sought a second opinion at a renowned cancer institute. There, she learned chemo was inappropriate because her type of cancer doesn’t respond to it.
“Since chemo is poison, why would we want to poison you for no reason?” the oncologist told her.
Now she’s agreed to let me tell the rest of her story—one that is a perfect example of what Dr. Kalager was alluding to. Because of its flaws, mammography can lead to an overzealous search for possible cancer, overdiagnosis and, ultimately, unnecessary medical procedures for something that, left alone, may never have developed into cancer at all.
Of course the breast imaging industry wasted no time firing off a scathing response to the researcher’s commentsiii. But as I said, my employee’s story illustrates the study’s central thesis exactly: that a growing body of evidence is showing that mammography may be doing more harm than good for a great number of women.
A Teeny Tiny Dot—Followed by a Slew of Procedures
From the year she turned 40, this employee never missed a mammogram. Like many women, she mistakenly believed it was the most appropriate way to prevent breast cancer. She didn’t work for me then, so she didn’t know that radiation from mammograms can actually CAUSE canceriv,v. But in 2008, everything changed.
“I had no lumps, no problems, it was just my regular screening,” she told me. “But after my 2008 mammogram, the technician said she’d seen something on it and needed to do an ultrasound right away. So that’s what we did. But when she was done, she left and came back with another tech, who did a second ultrasound. Then they both left and came back with the radiologist, who did a THIRD ultrasound. After a lengthy exam, the radiologist announced he was scheduling me for an MRI with dye immediately.”
The radiologist explained that he saw a tiny calcification in her breast, and since the ultrasound couldn’t tell him whether it was cancerous, he needed to do the MRI. The MRI was done, but that report wasn’t clear either, listing a final diagnosis as simply “suspicious.” The radiologist wasn’t satisfied.
“He called me at home and said he needed to do a stereotactic biopsy right away,” she said. “Scared, I agreed to it. It was a biopsy from hell, indescribably painful. In the middle of it, the radiologist commented that my ‘breast density’ prevented him from getting a good sighting on where to do the biopsy. I thought he was referring to all the weight I’d gained in the past few years.”
The biopsy came back negative. But her ordeal wasn’t over. She was next sent to a surgeon, who determined that she needed a lumpectomy, despite the negative lab report. So a lumpectomy it was—and that, too, came back negative.
Surgery or Needle Biopsies Can Actually CAUSE Cancer
“I was so relieved,” she told me. “But when I went back for my post-op checkup, there was a small lump at the surgery spot. I didn’t know at the time that there all kinds of studies about how the slightest injury or cut, as well as surgeries and biopsies can actually cause cancervi—I just heard that on ABC News recentlyvii. I also didn’t know about other studies showing that injuries like my biopsy not only can trigger invasive cancer, but that mammographic compression can spread itviii .
“So when the surgeon said the lump was probably only a hematoma, I went home and ignored it. The lump was still there when it was time for my 2009 mammogram, and I pointed it out to the tech, who looked at it, felt it, and said it might just be scar tissue. When she came out and said everything was fine and I could go home, I asked if she was going to do an ultrasound on the lump, but she said no, there was no need.”
‘No Evidence of Cancer’
The written mammogram report reiterated the tech’s verbal report, saying there was “no evidence of cancer” in her breast. In 2010 she showed the tech the lump again, and again the tech said everything was “fine.”
“But this time I didn’t believe it,” she said. “So I went somewhere else before I even got the report back. I had a biopsy—and learned I had Stage 3 Lobular Invasive cancer. The very day of my surgery [mastectomy] I got the letter from the radiology center saying they were ‘pleased to inform’ me they’d found ‘no evidence of cancer’ in my breast. It was so crazy I couldn’t even find it in me to cry.”
After the mastectomy, the surgeon wrote her a prescription for a wig and scheduled her for chemo and radiation.
“But by this time I was working for Dr. Mercola, and I was very much aware of my power to take control of my own health,” she said. “So I did some proactive things right then and there, to make sure I was doing everything possible to fight this cancer.”
CLICK HERE to read Dr. Mercola’s alternative recommendations–along with ways to help fight cancer the natural way. Careful–I smell a supplement pitch coming on!
Even so, lots of great information.
Feel good, keep smiling and eat lots of raw vegetables! Pat