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Mammogram Risks PSA & Cancer



Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society told the New York Times on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 , “We don't want people to panic, but I'm admitting that American medicine has overpromised when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been exaggerated.”

How will your doctor speak to you with comfort and confidence when you show him or her what Dr. Brawley has said?  Will your doctor say something like, “I am really very sorry I suggested those mammograms which brought about the unfortunate and unnecessary removal of your breast?”  How comforting would it be to hear your doctor say, “It is horrible that you haven’t been able to get an erection for the past 15 years because of that PSA test that I pushed on you which brought on debilitating prostate treatments.  I sincerely hope both you and your wife know I was only following the script from the American Cancer Society?”  Many millions of men and women have been irreversibly injured by the wide spread cheerleading for “early detection” also known as “screening,” from their own doctors, neighborhood screening clinics, national medical associations, community hospitals and medical institutions spanning the last 40 years.  Now, as a broken debilitated patient, your reward is a hat-in-hand apology for the American Cancer Society that arose from an article written in the Journal of the American Medical Association, October 21, 2009, called Rethinking Screening for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer.  If one were to conclude Dr. Brawley’s confession is inadequate, what do think would be proper repayment for the injuries done?

Ample clinical research evidence that would put an end to these screening programs has been very available to your physician for 30 years.  By simply turning on his or her computer and conducting a 10 minute search in the National Library of Medicine (www.pubmed.gov) would have brought the truth to light.  In 1976 Dr. M. Gullino published his studies on the natural history of cancer which revealed that early detection is actually detection that is too late. He presented these facts to the Conference on Breast Cancer: A Report to the Profession which was sponsored by the National Cancer Institute, the White House and the American Cancer Society.  He said, “If the time required for a tumor to double its diameter during a known period of time is taken as a measure of growth rate, one can calculate by extrapolation that two-thirds of the duration of a breast cancer remains undetectable by the patient or physician. Long before a breast carcinoma can be detected by present technology, metastatic spread may occur and does in most cases.”  This report was then published in the journal Cancer which is the publication of the American Cancer Society.

In layman’s terms, Dr. Gullino and numerous other research scientists have revealed in the clearest way to anyone listening that PSA tests, digital rectal examinations, breast self exams and mammography protocols can’t be expected to save any lives under the false premise of  “getting the cancer before it spreads.”  It is shameful that response was nonexistent because there is no money in this truth.  As a result, 386,500 persons in the USA annually are given a diagnosis of prostate cancer (192,200) and breast cancer (194,300) a large number of them through screening.

Two modern technologies have been deployed in the cancer screening business more than any others and they are a blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA) and the mammogram.  These programs have so permeated the medical establishment that approximately 70% of women over 40 have had recent mammograms and 75% of men have had a PSA test.  Screening for these two diseases accounts for over $20 billion spent.

Ordinarily there are two paths by which a patient establishes a relationship with a doctor.  The old fashioned method is you get sick and you go to a doctor.  In this path you seek out the relationship.  The evidence backing up the treatment the doctor recommends does not need to be very substantial.  Your physician is responding in his or her professional mode to give you the best treatment available without offering any kind of guarantee for the result.  Remember, it was we who requested the advice.

The second path for entering a patient-doctor relationship became widespread with the advent of early detection.  In this mode, the physician finds you. You are happily enjoying your life with your work, family and hobbies.  Life is good.  Then an advertisement knocks at your door via TV or the newspaper.  It could also be during a visit to your doctor for some other ailment like a cough.  Your physician chides you for not having your annual PSA test or mammogram.  By way of the screening scenario, millions of people were converted into patients.  When a doctor converts women and men into patients then we must necessarily be suspicious of the claim that this screening will yield more good than bad.

The American Cancer Society told the public on October 21, 2009, that “good” has not been the outcome for prostate and breast screening. Why did they wait until now to say this?  The irrefutable evidence that we have had for 30 years did not change.  The only significant change is that there are now more people ready to tell the truth.  Why was there such a delay with so many unnecessary breast amputations and prostate removals?  The answer is money and greed.  At stake is $20 billion for just screening and many hundreds of billions that follow in the wake for tests and procedures.  The pristine halls of your local cancer center have been constructed with the blood and suffering of women and men who were led like cattle into these harmful screening programs.

Why Early Detection Will Never Work

In 1985, Dr. John McDougall, MD, explained in his national bestselling book McDougall’s Medicine – A Challenging Second Opinion, that any breast cancer has been growing on average for about 10 years before it could be detected by any method.  This is also true for prostate cancer.  This is why early detection by these methods is really late detection.

The reasoning for detecting prostate and breast cancer early was built on the idea that the exam can find the cancer while it is in its early stages.  We can “get it” before it spreads throughout the body.  Sad to say, this line of reasoning is totally bogus.  Most laypersons and a few doctors, believe that a cancer stays localized in one place for a period of time before it finally breaks out and jumps into the lymph nodes where it hitches a ride to other parts of the body.  In their thoughts the journey looks like this:

Step 1 – A cancer appears and begins to grow at a slow pace in the tissue

Step 2 – As time passes the small tumor becomes a bigger tumor

Step 3 – The cancer eventually goes into the lymphatic system

Step 4 – The cancer is seeded elsewhere in the body by means of the lymph subway

This scenario rarely occurs.  Instead, beginning in the very earliest stages of growth, cancer cells are transported to other areas of the body through the blood stream. The cancer that spreads to the lymph nodes really occurs at the same time that the cancer is spreading to other areas of the body.

Healthy cells in the body normally multiply only when this is needed.  This occurs during growth in childhood and to mend tissues damaged in an injury.  Contrary to that, cancer cells multiply whenever they want which is all the time.  They begin in one spot and the spread to other locations where they continue with unrestrained growth without regard for any of the healthy tissues around them.  Prostate and breast cancers start with a single normal cell morphing into a cancerous one.  When this change occurs, that one cell starts to reproduce itself. The amount of time it takes for that one cell to divide itself and become two cells is referred to as the doubling time.  On average for most cancers, the doubling time is about 100 days.  What this means is in 100 days that one new cancer cell becomes two cancer cells. In 200 days from the birth of the first cell we will have four cancer cells in the prostate or the breast.  In the course of one year, there are eight to twelve cancer cells.  Pause for a moment to ponder the fact that a prostate gland or a breast will be made of approximately 100 billion cells.  Now you can see why it is impossible to find this cancer.  A cancer that is a year old cannot be found period. 

As the doubling rate continues, our one cancer cell will become a million cancer cells in about 6 years.  This is a very small tumor no bigger than the tip of a sharp lead pencil.  A tumor of this  size is smaller than one millimeter in diameter and cannot be discovered by mammography, self-examination, by PSA test or by rectal digital exam or by any other currently known means.

In spite of the fact that the 6 year old tumor is so very small and can’t be detected, it nonetheless has already begun to spread some of its million cells throughout the body.  In medical parlance we say it has metastasized.  In virtually every cancer this spread occurs and at this early undetectable stage.  Down the road, it will be the cells that had spread years ago to the other organs such as the liver, lungs and brain, that will kill the patient and not the original cancer confined to the breast or prostate.

After it has been growing for 10 years (think of that – 10 years is a long time) the average mass of cancer growing in the prostate or breast has grown to a diameter of about 1 centimeter. It has now become this size of a pencil eraser and is about a billion cells.  It is only at this stage, after 10 years of growth, that we can begin to detect the tumor.  Dr. Gullino pointed out, “two-thirds of the duration of a breast cancer remains undetectable by the patient or physician.”  As you can see, early detection is a mistaken concept. When the detection is made, the cancer has been prospering for 10 years and has long ago sent its seeds to the rest of the body.

It is tragic and unpardonable that the lives of tens of millions of persons have been devastated because they had indolent (non-aggressive) cancers that would not have shown up in their entire lifetime had they not been screened by a medical establishment who’s focus is far too concerned with how much money is to be made.  When these non-threatening lesions are discovered, they are treated very aggressively with surgery and radiation. This leaves men wetting their pants (incontinent), wearing a diaper and unable to get an erection.  It makes women into amputees leaving them deformed and stripped of their womanhood.  The effect of poisoning with chemotherapy and the horrible consequences of treatments that deprive hormones follows the radiation and surgery.  Therefore, screening leads to hyper-detection, over diagnosis and hyper-treatment of cancers that are not life threatening in very large numbers of people.

How Can They Ever Say They Are Sorry?

Once its taken away, there is no miracle of medical science that can replace a woman’s natural breast or restore a man’s sexual function.  These unfortunate souls will ever be the victims of the “war on cancer” waged with ineffective and unjust treatments perpetrated by dishonest medical professionals.  Without a doubt, some physicians just didn’t know, but being ignorant of the facts is inexcusable when the truth is so visible, so clear and so easily accessed.  In an article published in 1997 by Friberg and Mattson titled, On the Growth Rates of Human Malignant Tumors: Implications for Medical Decision Making concluded,  “Most tumors are several years old when detectable by present-day diagnostic methods. This makes the term ‘early detection’ questionable.”

The dark side of the human psyche – dishonesty and greed – have won.  Compassion and honesty are the light side of the human psyche and now is the time for these to assert themselves.  $20 billion should be allotted each year to do the correct things to save people from cancer and the injurious treatments and unreliable tests.  Medical societies, medical associations, community hospitals, screening clinics and doctors should be forced, under penalty of law, to tell the truth.  Their screening does more harm than good.  In addition, they should be made to announce the great news about cancer and diet.  Currently, the American Cancer Society’s message for diet and cancer prevention is for women to stay at a good weight through their life and to avoid putting on too much weight.  For men who eat a lot of red meat and dairy products high in fat, their message is that it appears they have a slightly elevated risk of developing prostate cancer. The message continues to say that these men tend to eat fewer vegetables and fruits and that doctors are not sure which of these conditions is causing the increased risk.  These are weak pitiful watered-down messages about the significance of the diet / cancer relationship.

The truth is simple and clear.  Prostate and breast cancers are caused by the rich Western diet which is laden with chicken, beef, oils, milk and cheese and laced with powerful, toxic cancer causing chemicals.  The American Cancer Society should consider a meaningful apology by joyfully spreading the good news that a plant based diet with vegetables and fruits is the principle foundation for preventing cancer and for curing cancer.

This article was adapted from an article written by Dr. John McDougall MD who is an internationally known doctor and educator.  Go here to read all of Dr. McDougall's articles.

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