Tag Archives: prostate cancer

Hit Reset On Cancer Screening: ‘Tests Not Perfect’

Lisa Says:  This Associate Press article appears to give a balanced view of cancer screenings (when likely indicated and when not based on individual circumstances).  The info helps someone make a more informed decision. One of the most compelling quotes, “We can find cancer early. We can reduce the burden of the disease. But along [...]

Lisa Says:  This Associate Press article appears to give a balanced view of cancer screenings (when likely indicated and when not based on individual circumstances).  The info helps someone make a more informed decision. One of the most compelling quotes, “We can find cancer early. We can reduce the burden of the disease. But along the way, we’re learning our tests are not as perfect as we’d like,” says the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, a longtime screening proponent. “We’re learning that we’re now finding cancer that would in fact never cause harm.”   Enjoy the article.

 Hit Reset On Cancer Screening: ‘Tests Not Perfect’

by The Associated Press WASHINGTON November 7, 2011, 02:35 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — It turns out that catching cancer early isn’t always as important as we thought.

Some tumors are too slow-growing to ever threaten your life. Some are so aggressive that finding them early doesn’t make much difference. And today’s treatments are much better for those somewhere in the middle.

Those complexities are changing the longtime mantra that cancer screening will save your life. In reality, it depends on the type of cancer, the test and who gets checked when.

“We can find cancer early. We can reduce the burden of the disease. But along the way, we’re learning our tests are not as perfect as we’d like,” says the American Cancer Society’s Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, a longtime screening proponent. “We’re learning that we’re now finding cancer that would in fact never cause harm.” Continue reading »

Leave a comment

How words have the power to heal

Lisa Says:  Here’s a CNN article on powerful research on how the body responds physically to spoken words (healing or harmful) and how to use activities such as journaling to improve your health.
How words have the power to heal  By Amanda Enayati, Special to CNN     June 29, 2011
Editor’s note: Freelance writer and breast cancer survivor [...]

Lisa Says:  Here’s a CNN article on powerful research on how the body responds physically to spoken words (healing or harmful) and how to use activities such as journaling to improve your health.

How words have the power to heal  By Amanda Enayati, Special to CNN     June 29, 2011

Editor’s note: Freelance writer and breast cancer survivor Amanda Enayati contributes regularly to CNNHealth.com.

(CNN) — The first thing I did after receiving what is surely one of the top two or three most terrifying medical diagnoses was pick up the telephone to call my husband to tell him to come home, and my brother to ask him to call my parents, because I couldn’t bear their grief as well as my own.

The second thing I did was open a document in Word and name it: The Second Half of My Life.

Putting negative experiences into words seems to have positive physical and psychological effects..And these are the words I wrote in those first few minutes:

You probably wouldn’t believe my life. In a certain light it would read like an encyclopedia of tragedy: revolution, disease, isolation, dysfunction, terrorism, failure and withdrawal. Before you check out, let me also tell you that if you were to meet me, you may think a sunnier person never lived. Continue reading »

Leave a comment

The Great Prostate Mistake

Rex Says: This article has certainly stirred up a debate about as hot as Healthcare Reform, and certainly hits close to home for me. Dr. Robert Ablin who originally invented the PSA test is raising serious concerns about its use and effectiveness.
*Am I glad I had a PSA at 44 which ultimately led to my [...]

Rex Says: This article has certainly stirred up a debate about as hot as Healthcare Reform, and certainly hits close to home for me. Dr. Robert Ablin who originally invented the PSA test is raising serious concerns about its use and effectiveness.
*Am I glad I had a PSA at 44 which ultimately led to my cancer diagnosis? YES. *Do the limitations of the PSA test lead to unnecessary biopsies and treatment? International studies are stating just that. *Is America further researching clinical studies like Dr. Dean Ornish who has shown lifestyle changes can reverse prostate cancer without radiation or surgery (exactly like I did)? I don’t see that on the front pages. *Will I ever have another PSA to help verify I’m still cancer free? For me – most likely I will continue to use the new PCA3 test http://www.prostate-cancer.org/education/preclin/Torres_PCA3.html which is designed to discriminate between non-cancerous prostate conditions and prostate cancer, and further between non-significant or significant prostate cancers. *This will always be a personal choice for any man but we need to make certain that men are being advised of all the choices available in screening and treatments to make a truly informed decision.

The New York Times

March 10, 2010
Op-Ed Contributor
The Great Prostate Mistake
By RICHARD J. ABLIN
Tucson

EACH year some 30 million American men undergo testing for prostate-specific antigen, an enzyme made by the prostate. Approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994, the P.S.A. test is the most commonly used tool for detecting prostate cancer.

The test’s popularity has led to a hugely expensive public health disaster. It’s an issue I am painfully familiar with — I discovered P.S.A. in 1970. As Congress searches for ways to cut costs in our health care system, a significant savings could come from changing the way the antigen is used to screen for prostate cancer.

Americans spend an enormous amount testing for prostate cancer. The annual bill for P.S.A. screening is at least $3 billion, with much of it paid for by Medicare and the Veterans Administration.

Prostate cancer may get a lot of press, but consider the numbers: American men have a 16 percent lifetime chance of receiving a diagnosis of prostate cancer, but only a 3 percent chance of dying from it. That’s because the majority of prostate cancers grow slowly. In other words, men lucky enough to reach old age are much more likely to die with prostate cancer than to die of it.

Even then, the test is hardly more effective than a coin toss. As I’ve been trying to make clear for many years now, P.S.A. testing can’t detect prostate cancer and, more important, it can’t distinguish between the two types of prostate cancer — the one that will kill you and the one that won’t.

Instead, the test simply reveals how much of the prostate antigen a man has in his blood. Infections, over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, and benign swelling of the prostate can all elevate a man’s P.S.A. levels, but none of these factors signals cancer. Men with low readings might still harbor dangerous cancers, while those with high readings might be completely healthy.

In approving the procedure, the Food and Drug Administration relied heavily on a study that showed testing could detect 3.8 percent of prostate cancers, which was a better rate than the standard method, a digital rectal exam.

Still, 3.8 percent is a small number. Nevertheless, especially in the early days of screening, men with a reading over four nanograms per milliliter were sent for painful prostate biopsies. If the biopsy showed any signs of cancer, the patient was almost always pushed into surgery, intensive radiation or other damaging treatments.

The medical community is slowly turning against P.S.A. screening. Last year, The New England Journal of Medicine published results from the two largest studies of the screening procedure, one in Europe and one in the United States. The results from the American study show that over a period of 7 to 10 years, screening did not reduce the death rate in men 55 and over.

The European study showed a small decline in death rates, but also found that 48 men would need to be treated to save one life. That’s 47 men who, in all likelihood, can no longer function sexually or stay out of the bathroom for long.

Numerous early screening proponents, including Thomas Stamey, a well-known Stanford University urologist, have come out against routine testing; last month, the American Cancer Society urged more caution in using the test. The American College of Preventive Medicine also concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend routine screening.

So why is it still used? Because drug companies continue peddling the tests and advocacy groups push “prostate cancer awareness” by encouraging men to get screened. Shamefully, the American Urological Association still recommends screening, while the National Cancer Institute is vague on the issue, stating that the evidence is unclear.

The federal panel empowered to evaluate cancer screening tests, the Preventive Services Task Force, recently recommended against P.S.A. screening for men aged 75 or older. But the group has still not made a recommendation either way for younger men.

Prostate-specific antigen testing does have a place. After treatment for prostate cancer, for instance, a rapidly rising score indicates a return of the disease. And men with a family history of prostate cancer should probably get tested regularly. If their score starts skyrocketing, it could mean cancer.

But these uses are limited. Testing should absolutely not be deployed to screen the entire population of men over the age of 50, the outcome pushed by those who stand to profit.

I never dreamed that my discovery four decades ago would lead to such a profit-driven public health disaster. The medical community must confront reality and stop the inappropriate use of P.S.A. screening. Doing so would save billions of dollars and rescue millions of men from unnecessary, debilitating treatments.

Richard J. Ablin is a research professor of immunobiology and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the president of the Robert Benjamin Ablin Foundation for Cancer Research.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/opinion/10Ablin.html

Leave a comment

Again, science showing 'Your Genes are NOT your fate"

Lisa Says: more info here supporting our previous post from Dr. Dean Ornish’s work showing that genetic expression is impacted by lifestyle, and his clinical study showed lifestyle changes reversed prostrate cancer (which is very similar to what Rex did to address his cancer naturally). The following is a post at NaturalNews.com on [...]

Lisa Says: more info here supporting our previous post from Dr. Dean Ornish’s work showing that genetic expression is impacted by lifestyle, and his clinical study showed lifestyle changes reversed prostrate cancer (which is very similar to what Rex did to address his cancer naturally). The following is a post at NaturalNews.com on how our exposure to chemicals affects how genes “act in the body”. These epigentic changes are linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s, breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s, etc. It’s common sense that the explosion of chronic disease in America is not the result of a genetic mutation in the last 30 years, but lifestyle related. The GREAT new is……….and we have the power to reverse it ! Enjoy the article

Epigenetics: Chemicals Turn Genes On and Off at the Wrong Times
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
NaturalNews.com printable article originally published February 23 2010

(NaturalNews) Scientists are increasingly becoming aware of a new mechanism by which pollutants can damage the health of living organisms — epigenetic changes, in which a chemical changes how a gene is expressed.

While some chemicals are toxic (attacking the body’s systems directly) and others are mutagenic (changing the actual code of an organism’s genes), others do not change the way a gene is written, but instead how it acts in the body.

Epigenetic changes “can lead to increased susceptibility to disease,” said Linda S. Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and of the National Toxicology Program. “The susceptibility persists long after the exposure is gone, even decades later. Glands, organs, and systems can be permanently altered.”

Epigenetic changes have been identified that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s disease and more.

One example was recently uncovered by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, who conducted a study on children in New York City who had been exposed to high levels of air pollutants in the womb. These children had higher rates of asthma than children who had not had such exposure.

Upon performing genetic tests, the researchers found that all the exposed, asthmatic children had a methyl group molecule attached to the ACSL3 gene, causing it to be less active than normal. None of the unexposed children had this molecule attached to their ACSL3 gene.

Researchers have also found epigenetic changes in children conceived through in-vitro fertilization. They believe that the chemicals used to incubate the fertilized eggs before implantation might cause epigenetic changes that lead to the higher rates of abdominal wall defects and cancers observed in such children.

Like mutations, epigenetic effects can be passed on to a person’s offspring.

“There is a huge potential impact from these exposures, partly because the changes may be inherited across generations,” Birnbaum said. “You may be affected by what your mother and grandmother were exposed to during pregnancy.”

Sources for this story include: www.environmentalhealthnews.org.

Leave a comment

Rex's Bio

09/07 – after natural approach – 55# lighter, healthy and cancer free
09/07 – after natural approach – 55# lighter, healthy and cancer free
.
.
VB local since 1968 courtesy of the USN, Rex attended Cox HS and met his future wife Lisa the first day. Married since 1982 with 3 fine sons by 1987, Rex’s career [...]

09/07 - after natural approach, 50# lighter, cancer free

02/07 - just diagnosed - on vacation deciding on treatment

[caption id="attachment_496" align="alignnone" width="225" caption="09/07 - after natural approach - 55# lighter, healthy and cancer free"]09/07 - after natural approach - 55# lighter, healthy and cancer free[/caption]
09/07 – after natural approach – 55# lighter, healthy and cancer free

.
.
VB local since 1968 courtesy of the USN, Rex attended Cox HS and met his future wife Lisa the first day. Married since 1982 with 3 fine sons by 1987, Rex’s career has focused in the home improvement/building supply industry.

While getting a routine physical at 44 in 2007, Rex requested a PSA check per Lisa although he had no symptoms or issues. While this is not the standard for his age/race, Rex said “’Mama’ said get it and what ‘Mama’ says goes’”. His PSA was noted to be above average for his age so he was referred to a urologist. After a round of antibiotics for possible prostatitis, it was still above where the average was so he agreed to a prostate biopsy. The month after that was an adventure. Rex said when he went to urinate, he never knew if he was going to get “chardonnay, rose’ or merlot”. Frankly, after almost 2 weeks the bleeding continued, so he went back to make sure all was ok, and instead got the results. Prostate cancer at 44. Luckily, it appeared early and contained.
After consulting with the radiation oncologist and then the surgeon, Rex was leaning towards surgery (a June date was planned) but something the surgeon said struck a cord, “I take selenium every day and I’m not worried about getting prostate cancer.”
Rex still has the info on taking selenium the surgeon wrote on a prescription pad. He was stunned when the surgeon explained despite how advanced robotic prostatectomies are, he would still have to take ‘the little blue pill’ the rest of his life no matter how well he responded to the surgery. Rex left with his selenium info in hand and began praying and felt the Holy Spirit say to him , ‘there is a another way’. Another way to heal, in essence.
God began to clearly steer Rex on a path of natural healing. Rex and Lisa began researching info they had heard that ‘cancer cells can’t live in an oxygen rich environment’ and unexpectedly, a church friend who was an RN and a breast cancer survivor came to Rex with information about balancing the body’s pH levels. Rex’s brother then paid for a detox program he didn’t feel he could afford and began balancing his body’s chemistry ( i.e. alkalizing his pH levels making his body oxygen rich, not oxygen deprived). When Rex announced to his home church that he had been diagnosed with cancer, the group laid hands on both Rex and Lisa and covered them in prayer. They had been researching international treatment methods with better survival rates and a higher quality of life, and after Rex’s announcement in church, another church friend who was an herbalist who had studied under Dr. Kimberly Balas, an American Naturopathic Doctor, who had a written a similar protocol to the international approaches, came to Rex and offered to work with him. She also had felt a calling to work with those diagnosed with cancer but had not done so at that point. She felt this was her confirmation.
He began hydrating being blessed again by a high school friend who paid for bottled water delivery, and began eating only fresh and whole foods based on Dr. Colbert’s book What Would Jesus Eat, exercising, and working with Dana, the herbalist, using Dr. Balas’s protocol in April 2007 and the results have been amazing. His PSA dropped from it’s original 3.9 to 2.0 in just 2 months. His lab values normalized so rapidly the doctor’s were amazed. He dropped from 246# to a healthy 195# and now maintains 190#. He began hot yoga to work on meditation and dealing with suppressed negative emotions as clinical data shows a clear correlation with yoga/prayer and the body’s healing process.
In July 2009, he met again with the surgeon and took the new PCA3 test (a unique biomarker test which more accurately detects prostate cancer than any other screening method currently in use), and was determined to be cancer free and in great health.

Rex calls cancer his blessing. He says it took cancer to heal him, to make him well.
Now his passion is to educate the public on making the transition from the typical American lifestyle promoting disease to one supporting the body as it was designed by God to function and flourish.

Leave a comment

New Model for Cancer – Vitamin D

Lisa Says: I was just talking about the benefits of Vitamin D (the FREE vitamin) this weekend. Here’s a clip from MSNBC.COM about how studies continue to show the risk of Vitamin D deficiencies due to lack of sunlight are related to cancer. Remember, this is only on a part of overall health, but [...]

Lisa Says: I was just talking about the benefits of Vitamin D (the FREE vitamin) this weekend. Here’s a clip from MSNBC.COM about how studies continue to show the risk of Vitamin D deficiencies due to lack of sunlight are related to cancer. Remember, this is only on a part of overall health, but who can argue that just 10 minutes a day with face and arms exposed (and no sunscreen) would hurt ? It could only help.

In this article, Dr. Mercola expounds on the benefits of Vitamin D regarding cancer. Here’s the link to the article which also includes the video clip (I couldn’t find the new clip itself on the web). Dr. Mercola then discusses the The D*Action Project.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/08/13/New-Model-for-Cancer–Dynamite.aspx

New Model for Cancer — Dynamite!
In a new study, researchers used a complex computer prediction model to determine that intake of vitamin D3 and calcium would prevent 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer annually in the U.S. and Canada. The researchers’ model also predicted that 75 percent of deaths from these cancers could be prevented with adequate intake of vitamin D3 and calcium.

Dr. Mercola’s Comments:

You can likely cut your risk of cancer by 60 percent — and it won’t cost you a dime. Would you like to know how?

By getting sun exposure.

This simple action is what allows your body to produce vitamin D, which is actually not a vitamin at all but rather a steroid hormone that influences your entire body. Receptors that respond to vitamin D have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your bones to your brain.

Theories linking vitamin D to certain cancers have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies, according to epidemiologist Cedric Garland, DrPH, professor of family and preventive medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine.[1]

Dr. Garland is widely regarded as the top epidemiologist on vitamin D and its relation to health. He led one of the latest studies on vitamin D for cancer prevention and his results, which were published in the Annals of Epidemiology[2], were nothing short of astonishing. Garland wrote:

“It is projected that raising the minimum year-around serum 25(OH)D [vitamin D] level to 40-60 ng/ml would prevent approximately 58,000 new cases of breast cancer and 49,000 new cases of colorectal cancer each year, and three quarters of deaths from these diseases, in the US and Canada.”

Further, the study proposed a new model of cancer development — dubbed DINOMIT — that is centered on a loss of cancer cells’ ability to stick together. The model is a departure from the older model of cancer development, which centers on genetic mutations as the earliest driving forces behind cancer. According to Dr. Garland:

“The first event in cancer is loss of communication among cells due to, among other things, low vitamin D and calcium levels. In this new model, we propose that this loss may play a key role in cancer by disrupting the communication between cells that is essential to healthy cell turnover, allowing more aggressive cancer cells to take over.”

Vitamin D is a Powerful Cancer Prevention Strategy

Dr. Garland’s findings only lend further credence to the mountain of growing evidence that optimal levels of vitamin D are essential for your health. Here are just a few highlights into some of the most noteworthy findings:

Some 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal cancers could be prevented each year if vitamin D levels among populations worldwide were increased, according to previous research by Dr. Garland and colleagues.[3] And that’s just counting the death toll for two types of cancer.
Optimizing your vitamin D levels could help you to prevent at least 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers.[4]
A large-scale, randomized, placebo-controlled study on vitamin D and cancer showed that vitamin D can cut overall cancer risk by as much as 60 percent![5] This was such groundbreaking news that the Canadian Cancer Society has actually begun endorsing the vitamin as a cancer-prevention therapy.
Light-skinned women who had high amounts of long-term sun exposure had half the risk of developing advanced breast cancer (cancer that spreads beyond your breast) as women with lower amounts of regular sun exposure, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.[6]
A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths — which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States — could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.[7]
Now we’re starting to see more evidence that the type of cancer in question may not be all that important, because vitamin D appears to play a key role in the development — and prevention — of ALL types of cancer!

Beyond cancer, researchers have pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D could prevent diseases that claim nearly 1 million lives throughout the world each year![8]

Why Isn’t This Being Shouted From the Rooftops??

The evidence is overwhelming, and the solution is incredibly simple. One way to drastically reduce your risk of cancer and countless other chronic diseases is to optimize your levels of vitamin D either by safe sun exposure, tanning in a safe tanning bed or taking a high-quality supplement.

Yet, a great deal of people around the world have heard nothing of this great “discovery.” It’s even likely that your doctor is among them.

And on top of that, many, many people are deficient in vitamin D. It’s thought that over 95 percent of U.S. senior citizens may be deficient, along with 85 percent of the American public.

Clearly, the word needs to get out but the mainstream media is slow to react. Plus, there’s no money to be made on selling vitamin D (it’s one of the most inexpensive supplements around) and sun exposure is free! So don’t count on any major corporations or drug companies to help get the message out (rather, count on them to try and suppress this lifesaving information).

The longer this information goes largely unnoticed, the more people who will die unnecessarily from potentially preventable cancers and other diseases.

Fortunately, GrassrootsHealth D*action is on a mission to get the word out and solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic … in just one year’s time.

The D*Action Project: How YOU Can Make a Difference

GrassrootsHealth has launched a worldwide public health campaign to solve the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in a year through a focus on testing and education with all individuals spreading the word.

And you are all invited to join in this campaign!

With Dr. Garland at the helm, The D*Action Project will be monitoring, for five years, the health outcomes of individuals who get their vitamin D levels to the levels of 40-60 ng/ml. I would highly recommend that you optimize your levels to the high end of this spectrum, as optimal vitamin D levels are 50-65 ng/ml, or 65-90 ng/ml if you are treating cancer.

Says Carole Baggerly, director of GrassrootsHealth:

“We will be tracking the incidence of many diseases, from cancer to diabetes and muscular function as well as pain levels to see what effect the higher vitamin D levels may have.

We expect to see a significant reduction in the incidence of breast cancer (and its recurrence), colon cancer, diabetes and myocardial infarction, compared with the general population. With the expansion of the project by individuals, we could substantially reduce this epidemic in a few years!”

So how can you get involved?

Join the D*action Project!

Simply complete a health questionnaire and test your vitamin D levels two times per year during the 5-year program to help demonstrate the public health impact of this nutrient.

GrassrootsHealth is sponsoring the use of blood spot test kits (laboratory analysis done by ZRT Labs) for a $40 fee to each individual. The tests are to be done twice a year by each individual along with the submission of some basic health data. The fee includes:

A vitamin D blood spot test kit to be used at home (except in the state of New York)
The results sent directly to you
You will be asked to take a quick health survey and also to take action to adjust your vitamin D levels to get into the desired ranges, ideally in consultation with a knowledgeable health care professional.

If you are a physician, medical institution or other health group, please also get involved by contacting Baggerly directly at: carole@grassrootshealth.org

What will be done with the information you provide in the health survey?

A five-year study will be done with the data accumulated to evaluate the results of the program in disease prevention and to help create a long-term plan for public health.

Regularly testing your vitamin D levels and monitoring them to stay within therapeutic ranges is a step I urge all of you to do for your health. By joining the D*Action Project, you can make a major contribution to the health of the United States and your own health at the same time!

This project depends on a true ‘grassroots’ health movement. Together we can stop the vitamin D deficiency epidemic in its tracks and improve the health of millions of people.

With only 100 of you joining today, and getting two friends to join in two weeks (and those two friends getting two more), by week 42 there could be 400,000,000 people who are vitamin D ‘replete’ (more than the United States population)!

To find out more about vitamin D, including what your levels should be and how to safely get them there, please watch my one-hour, free vitamin D lecture.

Then, do your part to stop vitamin D deficiency, and improve your own health, by Joining the D*Action Project Now, and encouraging your friends and family to do so also!

——————————————————————————–

[1] Science Daily, “New Model Of Cancer Development: Low Vitamin D Levels May Have Role” May 26, 2009

[2] Annals of Epidemiology July 2009, Volume 19, Issue 7, Pages 468-483

[3] Nutrition Reviews August 2007 Volume 65, Supplement 1, pp. 91-95(5) (Registration Required)

The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology March 2007; 103(3-5):708-11

[4] Grant, William “Reduce Your Risk of Cancer With Sunlight Exposure,” Mercola.com March 31, 2004

[5] American Journal of Clinical Nutrition June 2007; 85(6):1586-91.

Leave a comment

Cancer Screening: Does It Really Save Lives?

Rex Says: This is a controversial article from Dr. Whitaker I’m posting, but that doesn’t make it any less true, or not. In my own journey from cancer to health, early detection of my cancer led me to lifestyle changes which have restored my health. Only surgery or radiation were given to me [...]

Rex Says: This is a controversial article from Dr. Whitaker I’m posting, but that doesn’t make it any less true, or not. In my own journey from cancer to health, early detection of my cancer led me to lifestyle changes which have restored my health. Only surgery or radiation were given to me as options. I had to find all other information on my own, and rarely, if ever, is the information we post on this blog given to us by mainstream clinicians who are usually over worked and/or don’t have the most recent clinical data from unbiased studies. We must take responsiliblity to make the wisest decisions for ourselves based on multiple views and ALL the data we can find, nationally and internationally. The goal needs to be the highest ’survival rates’ and not just the ‘5 year’ criteria but cancer free and no reoccurance. If there are higher mortality rates from the actual treatments, it’s our right to know that before we make they decision that we feel is best for our bodies.

Cancer Screening: Does It Really Save Lives?
by Dr. Julian Whitaker
See all articles by this author
Email this author

(NaturalNews) Anne is a good patient. She sees her doctor for regular checkups, has yearly mammograms, Pap tests, and colon cancer screenings, and she even paid for a full-body CT scan out of her own pocket. She figures she’s doing everything she can to make sure she doesn’t get cancer.

Truth is, Anne is doing nothing to prevent cancer. Although cancer screening is billed as a preventive service that saves lives, the best it can do is detect disease in its early stages, when it is supposedly easier to treat. Nevertheless, every year millions of Americans dutifully line up for their screenings, completely unaware that they may be doing more harm than good.

For more than 15 years, I’ve been warning patients about the downside of mammograms, PSA testing, and the overall concept of cancer screening. It hasn’t been a popular position. Today, however, there’s a small but growing band of researchers, clinicians, and expert panels who are speaking out against the unbridled use of these tests. One of them, H. Gilbert Welch, MD, a professor at Dartmouth Medical School, has laid out very persuasive arguments in an aptly titled book, Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here’s Why. In this straightforward and well-referenced book, Dr. Welch raises several concerns about cancer screening.

1. Few People Benefit From Screening
For starters, the majority of folks who are screened receive no benefit. That’s because, despite scary statistics, most people will not get cancer. Let’s look at breast cancer as an example.

According to government statistics, the absolute risk of a 60-year-old woman dying from breast cancer in the next 10 years is 9 in 1,000. If regular mammograms reduce this risk by one-third-a widely cited but by no means universally accepted claim-her odds fall to 6 in 1,000. Therefore, for every 1,000 women screened, three of them avoid death from breast cancer, six die regardless, and the rest? They can’t possibly benefit because they weren’t going to die from the disease in the first place.

If mammograms worked as touted, death from breast cancer would be rare, since three-quarters of American women 40 and older get regular screenings (a total of 33.5 million per year). The modest decline in the death rate from the mid-1970s, when mammography was introduced, through the present can be attributed to factors other than screening, such as changes in treatment and the dramatic decrease in the use of Premarin and other cancer-promoting hormone replacement drugs. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that mammograms do not substantially reduce risk of death from breast cancer.

2. The Most Deadly Cancers Are Missed
The flip side is that some people who are screened get cancer and die anyway. Test results aren’t always accurate. Sometimes cancer is there, but it’s missed (false negatives). In the case of mammograms, it could be a question of a poor-quality test or a radiologist who overlooked something. Even experienced radiologists don’t always interpret test results the same, and sometimes they just plain get it wrong.

The most likely reason that cancer is overlooked, however, is due to the nature of cancer itself. The deadliest cancers grow very rapidly. Screening can detect slow-growing cancers in their early stages, but you can see how aggressive cancers could be missed if you’re only looking for them once a year. Depending on the cancer’s growth cycle, it could crop up just months after screening and be far advanced by the time the next test rolls around.

3. The Pitfalls of False Positives
Far more common than false negatives are false positives-those cancer scares that occur when you’re told that your test is suspicious but, after further evaluation, turns out to be nothing. False positives lead to confirmatory testing such as ultrasound of the breast and prostate, CT scan of the lung, colonoscopy, and colposcopy of the cervix. These tests are at best inconvenient and at worst extremely unpleasant, as anyone who’s had a colonoscopy knows. They also often lead to biopsies, which are far more invasive and could possibly promote the spread of cancer.

Unfortunately, false positive rates are incredibly high. For mammography, it’s close to 10 percent. For every 100 women screened, 10 will require further workup. If you repeat this screening test every year for 10 years, your cumulative risk of having at least one false positive rises to 65 percent. This means that more than half of all women will get the terrifying news that their mammogram is abnormal-the first step on the slippery slope of intervention.

False positive rates are high for PSA as well, especially among older men. Some estimate that three-quarters of men who have a prostate biopsy based on an elevated PSA level do not have cancer. And lifetime false-positive risk for Pap smears is 75 percent.
Another consideration is the psychological trauma of cancer screening. Being told you might have cancer is a harrowing experience, and the lag time between retesting and getting a clean bill of health can be months.

4. Unnecessary Treatment
Even worse than the sound and fury created by false positives is unnecessary treatment. Yes, some lives are saved due to early detection and treatment. But not all cancers are the same. Some are deadly, treated or not; others are not fatal regardless of treatment. Dr. Welch calls the latter pseudodisease-small, slow-growing or nonprogressive cancers that you’d never know existed were it not for screening tests. Yet all too often, these innocuous tumors are attacked with a vengeance, often to the detriment of patients.

A prime example is prostate cancer. Since 1975, its incidence has more than doubled. But rather than having an epidemic of prostate cancer, what we have is an epidemic of detection. Although many more men are being diagnosed and treated, the death rate from prostate cancer has held steady at 3 percent.

It’s human nature, when given a diagnosis of cancer, to want to get rid of it. But prostate cancer treatment is not benign. Surgical complications include difficulty urinating (17 percent), urinary incontinence (28 percent), and inability to have an erection (more than 50 percent). Radiation damages the rectum and can cause diarrhea and bowel urgency. Side effects of androgen suppression range from sexual dysfunction to risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Much of this treatment is completely unwarranted. Remember, the majority of prostate cancer is pseudodisease. Most men die with it, not of it.

What Tests Should You Get?
So which tests should you get and when should you get them? It depends on who you listen to. Unfortunately, there’s no clear consensus among expert panels and advocacy groups, so confusion reigns.

I hesitate to make blanket recommendations. However, before you have a test, I strongly encourage you to understand both the pros-the slim but potentially lifesaving possibility that early-stage, clinically significant cancer will be found and treated-and the cons-the high risk of false positives, additional testing, anxiety, and unnecessary treatment. That way, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the outcome, whatever it may be.

Think Twice
I understand that this is an emotionally charged issue. Cancer is scary and the treatments for it are as frightening as the disease itself. If you have symptoms of cancer, by all means see a doctor and discuss appropriate testing.

Otherwise, think twice. If your physician orders a cancer screening test, question its necessity. Doctors sometimes suggest these tests for all the wrong reasons: fears of malpractice, financial incentives, and even patient demand. Find out what course would be recommended if your results were positive. Then review the information in this article, read Dr. Welch’s book, and make your own educated decision.

Next time you hear that someone who died of cancer would have been saved if only he’d had regular testing, realize that’s nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. And, whatever you do, don’t let anyone make you feel irresponsible if you elect not to undergo cancer screening.

References
*SEER. Cancer of the breast. National Cancer Institute. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/ht… Accessed Sept. 2, 2008.
*US Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/cps3dix….. Accessed Aug 25, 2008.
*Welch HG. Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 2004.

Reprinted from Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. For information on subscribing to this newsletter, visit www.drwhitaker.com or call (800) 539-8219.

About Julian Whitaker, MD: America’s Wellness Doctor, Julian Whitaker, MD, is a pioneer in alternative medicine and founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, CA, the country’s largest alternative medicine clinic. Since 1979, Whitaker Wellness has helped more than 40,000 patients reverse serious health problems with lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and other safe, nontoxic therapies.

Leave a comment

Checking treatments for common ailments

Rex Says: The government falls short yet again but at least they realize what we are doing in America is not working. But they refuse to consider the additional choice of balancing your body’s pH as an option, for instance. No money in that though.
Checking treatments for common ailments
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
Associated Press
Updated: 07/02/2009 01:41:55 AM [...]

Rex Says: The government falls short yet again but at least they realize what we are doing in America is not working. But they refuse to consider the additional choice of balancing your body’s pH as an option, for instance. No money in that though.

Checking treatments for common ailments

By LAURAN NEERGAARD
Associated Press
Updated: 07/02/2009 01:41:55 AM PDT

http://www.montereyherald.com/health/ci_12739661?source=rss

Leave a comment

Prostate Cancer Screenings Essentially Useless

Rex Says: Health Screenings and treatment options are a very personal, individual choice. However, if I had not taken the initiative and studied prostate cancer internationally and considere other options, I would be here 2 years post-op after major surgery that would have greatly affected my quality of life (at the early age ot 44) [...]

Rex Says: Health Screenings and treatment options are a very personal, individual choice. However, if I had not taken the initiative and studied prostate cancer internationally and considere other options, I would be here 2 years post-op after major surgery that would have greatly affected my quality of life (at the early age ot 44) AND most likely be just waiting to develop cancer again, RATHER than being healthy and cancer free. My journey now is to get the information to those who may otherwise never hear it, so that they can make a TRULY informed decision.

The first article is a recap of the major long term study of over 76K men and the ineffectiveness of PSA testing. This month I used the PCA3 test to determine cancer rating.
The second link was in the national Parade magazine yesterday speaking to the same issue.

Prostate Cancer Screenings Essentially Useless
by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Regular prostate cancer screening has no effect on the risk of death from the disease, according to a large-scale, long-term study conducted by researchers from the National Cancer Institute and published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“There was little or no scientific evidence that it saved lives,” said Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society.

The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures blood levels of a protein produced by the prostate gland, has been controversial as a cancer screening test since it first became popular in the 1990s. At the time, Brawley was one of many scientists who raised concern over the usefulness of the test.

“I can say firsthand that some American screening advocates were vicious in their attacks on those who dared question prostate cancer screening,” Brawley said. Some lay and physician advocates had a religious-like fervor for screening.”

In the current study, part of the Prostate, Lung, Colorectal and Ovarian Cancer Screening Trial, researchers looked at rates of prostate cancer and prostate cancer death among 76,693 men, half of whom were assigned to undergo PSA screening once per year. The other participants were assigned to continue with regular health care practices and not advised regarding prostate screening. The participants were then followed for seven to 10 years each.

The current results are considered preliminary and the study is still ongoing. By its conclusion, all participants will have been followed for 13 years each.

In the preliminary analysis, the overall rate of prostate cancer death among participants “was very low and did not differ significantly between the two study groups,” the researchers wrote. An independent review committee has endorsed the findings and recommended their publication.

Because most prostate cancers are slow growing, many men may die of other causes without ever experiencing symptoms from an active cancer. Neither the PSA test nor a biopsy, however, is able to determine whether a cancer is slow-growing or aggressive.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended against prostate cancer screening in men above the age of 74.

Sources for this story include: www.cnn.com.

NEXT ARTICLE – PARADE MAGAZINE

http://www.parade.com/health/2009/06/breakthrough-news-in-prostate-cancer.html

3 Comments

It's Official ! Rex is Cancer Free !!

Lisa Says: Everything was pointing to the lifestyle changes we made and supplements Rex used making the difference in Rex’s health. His regular labs looked great and he’s the picture of health. But there was that nagging little doubt “could my path to health have been this easy?”. I had done [...]

Lisa Says: Everything was pointing to the lifestyle changes we made and supplements Rex used making the difference in Rex’s health. His regular labs looked great and he’s the picture of health. But there was that nagging little doubt “could my path to health have been this easy?”. I had done additional research on Dr. Ornish’s work in reversing prostate cancer ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naWt-i9Q3os ) and noted that in addition to repeat biopsies, he had used MR spectroscopys to measure tumor shrinkage. So we scheduled an appt. with the surgeon we originally consulted with two years ago. After a discussion of why an MRI would not really be appropriate in Rex’s case (apparently they tend to measure if cancer has spread, not if it’s gone), the surgeon suggested a new test, the PCA3. A simple urine test but very unique in that it screens for a molecule specific to prostate cancer. ‘Normal’ is considered under 50 and 25-30 being optimal. Rex decided to do it and his total was 16. We are just ecstatic !
I know Rex says, “Could it have really been that easy?” and I told him it was SIMPLE but not necessarily EASY. He working on giving himself credit for recreating himself and the discipline it took.

To piggyback the recent international research we’ve posted regarding 49 of 50 men being treated unnecessarily for prostate cancer (that mainstream treatment only saves a predicted 1 in 50 lives), this test is groundbreaking in that it can give the information on which types of cancers are aggressive and those which do not have that potential to spread thereby allowing the patient to make a more informed decision about an appropriate path of active surveillance versus surgery or radiation.

As we were sitting there in the surgeon’s office waiting for him to come in, I realized that it easily could have been Rex’s 2 year post op check after that major, life changing surgery we had pretty much decided on previously, to check to see if the cancer had come back. Yet instead, we were led on a different path, and two years later he’s healthy, and whole, and feels led to share his story, and get the information out about how lifestyle and nutrition can play such a significant role in health. AMEN!

New Urine Test Detects Prostate Cancer Better Than Other Methods

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085639.htm

Leave a comment