Early Detection Myth - Screening (For Cancer etc.) Fails Test
Sadly many have been led to believe that early cancer screening will save their lives, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact biopsies often are instrumental in seeding* the cancer elsewhere in the body. Thus accelerating cancer growth (metastasis) that was once contained by body and may have been slow progressing as is often the case. Clearly this is very dangerous yet most will subject themselves vily nily to this procedure in the misguided faith in the early detection myth... Any advantage one gets from early detection has now become a liability as cancer growth rate has accelerated often to the point that the patient has now become an emergency case.
Oncologists know this yet they don't tell you that a biopsy can cause the
cancer to start spreading hence, their concern for urgency to start treatment.
This leaves no time to review newer or alternative options even if they exist.
Not to mention the, all to often, tragedy should an error (which are quite high)
cause a false negative** thus unknowingly leave the patient in a highly
*See: Does Biopsy Potentiate Cancer? for more details.
**"25 percent of the time the tests miss tumor cells and produce
false negatives, studies show.....
...The error rate is significantly higher and more dangerous in common tests for many cancers, where a false positive may lead to unnecessary surgery or a false negative....
...two pathologists will review lung biopsies because of a high error rate in testing. But such policies are only starting to be adopted in hospital labs, Dr. Novis says, and pathologists strongly resist the idea because they are reluctant to question another's interpretation or have their own findings reviewed....."
Extracted from: Hospitals move to cut dangerous lab errors
"Meanwhile, (the medical community continues to pretend as if they have a safe and effective cure and see no problem with this state of affairs. In fact this pretentious shell game is often supported by totally self serving definitions of 5 year survival cure rate and a 28 day non tumour growth as remission. These absurd definitions are neither a cure or a remission! CG) the "proven" methods of toxic chemotherapy, carcinogenic radiotherapy, and surgery are a failure for the majority of patients. The death rates from the six major killer cancers-cancers of the lung, colon, breast, prostate, pancreas, and ovary-have either stayed the same or increased during the past sixty years . The American Cancer Society's publicity staff knows that people will not give money to a hopeless cause, so it regularly announces "breakthroughs," talks about "winning" the "war on cancer," and inflates the statistics. "The Society also fails to tell us that the 'improved' survival rate seen over the past 80 years .. . is largely the result of earlier detection-not more effective treatment," explains John McDougall, M.D.* "Finding the cancer earlier does allow more people to live 5 years after the time of diagnosis. Thus, more people will fit the definition of 'cured.' However, in most cases, early detection does not increase a person's life span but only the length of time a person is aware that he or she has cancer.""
Extracted from: John McDougalI, M.D., "The Misguided War on Cancer" Vegetarian Times, September 1986, pp. 12-13.
The more sensible treatments are continually suppressed and/or avoided. In 1946 Dr. Max Gerson clearly demonstrated to the US congress on how to literally cure cancer with nutrition*** alone! And this with almost exclusively terminal cases, more on this in an another post... in fact this incredible feat which continues to this day was further suppressed in 1953, United States Senate investigation into the cancer industry, which concluded that the AMA, NCI, and FDA had entered into a conspiracy to promote radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery while suppressing alternative cancer therapies that were highly praised by the cured patients themselves. Attorney Benedict FItzgerald of the United States Justice Department, who led the investigation, called for a full-scale probe to expose the lethal bureaucracy thwarting advances in cancer treatment and research. For this, he was fired.
*** Anyone who has changed their diet can attest to how powerful this is. Yet by and large the mainstream medical ignoramuses continue to deny the effect of nutrition on health!
"The same lethal bureaucracy is alive and well today, as can be seen from a 300-page report on alternative cancer therapies released in September 1990 by the Office of Technology Assessment. Heavily slanted toward negative pre conclusions, the report, titled Unconventional Cancer Treatments, dismisses any positive data in support of alternative therapies as "anecdotal" but presents negative data as "proof" that the therapies are worthless. Important clinical studies and documented case material attesting to the effectiveness of specific therapies are either totally ignored or dismissed as "unacceptable" or minimized. The thousands of human beings with advanced cancer who were cured by alternative methods do not exist in the report except as fleeting statistics, grudgingly mentioned. The misleading, sanitized OTA report, which cost well over half a million dollars in taxpayers' money, is "a mostly meaningless mishmash of misinformation," wrote Michael Culbert, who appeared before two of the OTA advisory meetings, in an article in the Winter 1990 issue of The Choice. Nevertheless, buried within the OTA report are over 180 positive medical and scientific studies supporting the efficacy of alternative therapies. And Roger Herdman, M.D., OTA assistant director, said the report urges researchers "to take a sympathetic and thoughtful look at some of these treatments." Yet, when the OTA in late 1990 recommended that the National Cancer Institute devote a tiny part of its research budget to alternative treatments, the NCI was incredulous and rejected every one of OTA's recommendations, as Z Magazine reported in June 1991. In other words, it's business as usual at NCI and ACS. About 10,000 American cancer victims will continue to die on schedule every week. And the "unproven" alternative methods will continue to be condemned and banished without a fair evaluation."
Options (Paperback) by Richard Walters page 340
While this post focus's mostly on cancer same can be said about cholesterol etc.
See: American Heart Association's Cholesterol Con - Statins
As usual these test have much to do with the business with disease than health and those who implicitly trust the system will continue to put their health in peril...
"A new generation of screening tests which pick up small, latent & benign cancers could cause a life-time of anxiety & decision-making on whether to have radical surgery, says Bruce Ponder, head of Cancer Research UK Cambridge Research Institute, at Cambridge Uni. He said we need better tests to differentiate between harmful & non-spreading tumours. He warned "You have to be careful not to do more harm than good."....
....Men were unnecessarily having prostates removed at the first diagnosis of abnormal cells despite evidence that many would live healthy lives for years, he said. Prostate cancer tests are not routinely available on the NHS to all men but are increasingly offered by private clinics."
Extracted from: Guardian 3.4.07 "NEW CANCER TESTS COULD DO MORE HARM THAN GOOD, SAYS SPECIALIST"
See also: Screen Alert - How an ounce of Rx prevention can cause a pound of hurt.
Cancer Screening Fails Test (Original is here.)
TheStar.com - News -
Cancer screening fails test Regular CT scans for smokers didn't reduce lung
cancer death rate, baffling U.S. researchers
March 07, 2007
Smokers who get CT scans to detect lung cancer early may die at the same rate as those who receive no screening, according to a new study from one of the world's most prestigious cancer facilities.
In results that baffled study authors, smokers who underwent annual computed tomography (CT) imaging were diagnosed with cancer more than three times as often as their unscreened counterparts, but died in almost the same numbers.
A report on Canadian cancer statistics estimated that 22,700 Canadians would be diagnosed with lung cancer and 19,200 would die of the disease in 2006.
The study, conducted by researchers at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, were published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"We're fumbling for an explanation for results that are surprising," says Colin Begg, head of epidemiology at Sloan-Kettering and the senior author.
The research casts doubt on a widely publicized 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that suggested current and former smokers could greatly increase their chances of survival with early detection from CT scans.
But Begg says those results aren't reflected in his research and that early detection – long the gold standard in cancer treatment – might apply to breast and uterine cancers, but not to aggressive lung cancer.
Three decades ago similar studies using X-rays produced the same results, says Begg, even though CT scans can detect cancerous nodules in the lung that are one centimetre in diameter or less and can see cancers lurking anywhere in the body.
The Sloan-Kettering research involved 3,246 current and former smokers at three medical centres – two in the U.S. and one in Italy – who received annual CT scans before they had any lung cancer symptoms.
While the study found 10 times more people from the screened groups underwent lung cancer surgery than those in a similar sized group from the general population, it showed virtually the same number of people – 38 in the scanned group versus 38.8 in the statistical group – died of the ailment.
"The only logical explanation is that there are lots of slow growing tumours in the population which we don't normally find and just never reach the clinical stage," says Begg.
On the other hand, Begg says aggressive lung cancers grow so fast and are so malignant that they can take a firm hold in the year between CT scans.
Begg says larger research projects might show that there is a mortality benefit from CT screening and that several ongoing studies could provide more definitive evidence of screening benefits.
One of those is being conducted in part at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital, where the lead researcher is confident that early CT scan detection will prove beneficial.
Dr. Heidi Roberts, a radiologist at Princess Margaret, says the current study looked at mortality over fewer than five years of screening and that longer studies could show much larger mortality reductions.
"More people die early on (in screening programs) because you are getting more of the advanced cancers," says Roberts, whose study is part of the International Early Lung Cancer Action Program. "They haven't observed long enough. Screening really has the possibility to save lives," she says.
The Toronto study has conducted some 3,200 CT scans since 2004 at the University Ave. hospital, detecting about 45 confirmed cancers to date.
One of those patients was Toronto's Elsa Poitras, 60, who was a smoker for 20 years. As soon as she entered the early screening program in 2005 a small tumour was found on her lung.
"I believe 100 per cent that (the CT scan) saved my life," says Poitras, a mammography technologist at a Markham clinic.
"The problem with lung cancer is often ... you don't really get warning symptoms until it's too late. I had a two centimetre tumour in my chest and I had no symptoms, no cough, no shortness of breath," Poitras said.
Roberts says most people who have their cancers detected early can be operated on with minimally invasive techniques and require no chemotherapy or radiation.
Surgeries for later stage lung cancer require the removal of much or all of a lung and many people die from the operations themselves.
The Current for May 15, 2007
Faulty Test Results – Patient
Last summer we told you about mistakes that were made at a pathology lab at the largest hospital in Newfoundland and Labrador, run by the Eastern Regional Health Authority.
The mistakes were severe and resulted in the mistreatment of dozens of cancer patients. In one case, after undergoing a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, a woman found out she didn't have breast cancer at all.
And today, court documents obtained by CBC Radio, reveal just how widespread other initial errors were. At issue is a test for hormone receptors. A positive test means estrogen is feeding the cancer tumour, and so many women who test estrogen/progesterone receptor positive are given a hormone therapy called tamoxifen to stop the estrogen. Tests show women who take tamoxifen for five years have a reduction in second cancers.
After tissue samples from the Nfld lab were re-tested at Toronto's Mount Sinai hospital, the documents reveal that forty-two percent of the patients tested for estrogen/progesterone receptors had received the wrong results -- they got false negatives -- and this may have adversely affected their course of treatment.
Gerry Rogers is one of the women affected by the mistakes made at that Newfoundland pathology lab. She has portrayed her own fight with breast cancer in the award winning Newsworld National Film Board feature called "My Left Breast", and is an advocate for women living with breast cancer. She joined us from our St. John's studio.
Faulty Test Results – Association
We asked the Eastern Health Integrated Regional Authority of Newfoundland and Labrador for an interview on this matter. But an official with the board says that no one can comment as the matter is before the courts.
To shed some light on how pathology and laboratory medicine works in Canada, we were joined by Jagdish Butany. He is the President of the Canadian Association of Pathologists and we reached him this morning at his office in Toronto.
Breast Cancer Tests-Bioethicist
Philip Hebert knows that mistakes are part of pathology. But as a family doctor he must also treat patients with a devastating cancer diagnosis quickly and effectively. In addition to his practice, Dr. Hebert chairs the Research Ethics Board at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital and is author of Doing Right. A Practical Guide to Ethics for Physicians and Medical Trainees. He was in our Toronto studio.
Listen to The Current: Part 1
Last Word – HIV Misdiagnosis
Earlier in the program, we brought you the story of mistakes made at the largest pathology lab in Newfoundland that resulted in hundreds of cancer patients getting the wrong treatment.
And today we wanted to leave you with another misdiagnosis rollercoaster by a Canadian. Anna Faylen was told she was HIV positive by a doctor who misread her test results. For many people, such a traumatic experience might have led to a long legal battle but for Anna Faylen the priority was to ensure that future patients would be protected from such an ordeal. We ended the program with how she recalls the events.
Listen to The Current: Part 3