Mammograms Again Proven Harmful to Women and Actually May Increase Cancer Risk


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Mammograms Send Women To Their Deathbeds Faster And Increase Their Risk of Breast Cancer As Much As 30 Percent

Even with the established evidence which supports the long-term health risks and danger of mammograms, the medical community still pushes them like pancakes. Besides overdiagnosis and the unnecessary treatment of insignificant cancers, mammograms cause radiation-induced breast cancer themselves, increasing several risk factors for the disease.

Increases Breast Cancer Mortality

Mammography is the most widely used screening modality for breast cancer and with good reason for the medical community. It gives them more patients. Breast cancer screenings result in an increase in breast cancer mortality and fail to address prevention.

Diagnosis of cancers that would otherwise never have caused symptoms or death in a woman’s lifetime can expose a woman to the immediate risks of therapy (surgical deformity or toxicities from radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy), late sequelae (lymphedema), and late effects of therapeutic radiation (new cancers, scarring, or cardiac toxicity). Although the specific plan of oncologists is usually to recommend tailored treatments according to tumor characteristics, there is still no reliable way to distinguish which cancer would never progress in an individual patient; and consequently treatments are lumped into the “treat all just in case” just in case category.

Breast cancer screening does not play a direct role in the reductions of deaths due to breast cancer in almost every region in the world. Part of the failure correlates to more than 70 percent of mammographically detected tumors being false positives leading to unnecessary and invasive biopsies and subsequent cancer treatment such as radiation which itself causes cancer.

More Than Half Result In Overdiagnosis

Out of all breast cancers detected by screening mammograms, up to54% are estimated to be results of overdiagnosis. The best estimations of overdiagnosis come from either long-term follow-up of RCTs of screening or the calculation of excess incidence in large screening programs.

Despite no evidence ever having supported any recommendations made for regular periodic screening and mammography at any age, malicious recommendations from the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) on breast cancer screening are now promoting that breast cancer screening should begin at age 40 and earlier in high-risk patients. Published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), the recommendations released by the SBI and ACR state that the average patient should begin annual breast cancer screening at age 40. They also target women in their 30s if they are considered “high risk” as they stated.

On average, 10% of women will be recalled from each screening examination for further testing, and only 5 of the 100 women recalled will have cancer. Approximately 50% of women screened annually for 10 years in the United States will experience a false positive, of whom7% to 17% will have biopsies. The risk of cancer increases as much as 30% in a given 10 year period of women being exposed to yearly mammograms.

Inaccurate Even When Cancer Is Present

6% to 46% of women with invasive cancer will have negative mammograms, especially if they are young, have dense breasts, or have mucinous, lobular, or rapidly growing cancers.

Radiation-induced mutations can cause breast cancer, especially if exposure occurs before age 30 years and is at high doses, such as from mantle radiation therapy for Hodgkin disease. The breast dose associated with a typical two-view mammogram is approximately 4 mSv and extremely unlikely to cause cancer. One Sv is equivalent to 200 mammograms. Latency is at least 8 years, and the increased risk is lifelong.

The rate of advanced breast cancer for U.S. women 25 to 39 years old nearly doubled from 1976 to 2009, a difference too great to be a matter of chance.

In 1976, 1.53 out of every 100,000 American women 25 to 39 years old was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, a study in the American Medical Association found. By 2009, the rate had almost doubled to 2.9 per 100,000 women in that age group — a difference too large to be a chance result.

Cause Far More Harm Than Good

A disturbing study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is bringing mainstream attention to the fact that mammography has caused far more harm than good in the millions of women who have employed it over the past 30 years as their primary strategy in the fight against breast cancer

Titled “Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence,” researchers estimated that among women younger than 40 years of age, breast cancer was overdiagnosed, i.e. “tumors were detected on screening that would never have led to clinical symptoms,” in 1.3 million U.S. women over the past 30 years. In 2008, alone, “breast cancer was overdiagnosed in more than 70,000 women; this accounted for 31% of all breast cancers diagnosed.

Most mammography-detected breast cancer presents without symptoms in the majority of women within which it is detected, and if left untreated will not progress to cause harm to women. Indeed, without x-ray diagnostic technologies, many if not most of the women diagnosed with it would never have known they had it in the first place. The journal Lancet Oncology, in fact, published a cohort study last year finding that even clinically verified “invasive” cancers appear to regress with time if left untreated:

“[We] believe many invasive breast cancers detected by repeated mammography screening do not persist to be detected by screening at the end of 6 years, suggesting that the natural course of many of the screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress.”

The study authors point out “The introduction of screening mammography in the United States has been associated with a doubling in the number of cases of early-stage breast cancer that are detected each year.” And yet, they noted, only 6.5% of these early-stage breast cancer cases were expected to progress to advanced disease. Mammography-detected breast cancer and related ‘abnormal breast findings,’ in other words, may represent natural, benign variations in breast morphology. Preemptive treatment strategies, however, are still employed today as the standard of care, with mastectomy rates actually increasing since 2004.

It is also questionable whether screening mammograms can even provide genuine ‘early diagnosis’ as is frequently claimed. A new blood test being developed in America and Nottingham, England will pick up on proteins developed by the very earliest ‘rogue’ cells almost before a cancer has formed. In the press release the scientists claim that this is a good 4 years before a mammogram can show up a tumour. Apparently, a cancer makes about 40 divisions during its life, and mammograms cannot pick up a breast tumour until it is of a sufficient size, usually around 20 such divisions. So much for early diagnosis!

These concerns are part of a growing trend. Perhaps one of the most damning reports was a large scale study by Johns Hopkins published in 2008 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine (Arch Intern Med. 2008;168[21:2302-2303). In the Background to the research it was pointed out that breast cancer diagnosis rates increased significantly in four Scandanavian counties after women there began receiving mammograms every two years.

The Dangers of Routine Mammography

The recent Komen controversy has the media buzzing about a reversal of policy over its decision to cut funding to PP and mammogram screening procedures. The real issue for women’s health is not about funding but about the deadly effects from radiation spewing from mammogram screening devices.

Routine mammograms are far less effective at preventing breast cancer deaths and far more expected to cause unnecessary procedures, over-treatment and ultimately accelerate death more than any other screening method on women.

  1. A routine mammogram screening typically involves four x-rays, two per breast. This amounts to more than 150 times the amount of radiation that is used for a single chest x-ray. Bottom line: screening mammograms send a strong dose of ionizing radiation through your tissues. Any dose of ionizing radiation is capable of contributing to cancer and heart disease.
  2. Screening mammograms increase the risk of developing cancer in premenopausal women.
  3. Screening mammograms require breast tissue to be squeezed firmly between two plates. This compressive force can damage small blood vessels which can result in existing cancerous cells spreading to other areas of the body.
  4. Cancers that exist in pre-menopausal women with dense breast tissue and in postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy are commonly undetected by screening mammograms.
  5. For women who have a family history of breast cancer and early onset of menstruation, the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer with screening mammograms when no cancer actually exists can be as high as 100 percent.

A Better Solution: Thermography

Thermography (also called thermology) is a little-known technique for breast cancer detection that’s been available since the 1960s. It’s non-invasive and non-toxic, using an infrared camera to measure thermal emissions from the entire chest and auxiliary regions. Cancerous tissue develops a blood supply to feed a growing tumor, and the abnormal blood vessel formations generate significantly more heat than the surrounding healthy tissue. The infrared camera detects the differences in heat emitted from abnormal tissue (including malignancies, benign tumors and fibrocystic disease), as compared to normal tissue. There is no physical contact with the patient, who stands several feet away from the camera while a technician takes a series of images.

A second set of images is taken following a “cold challenge”. The patient places her hands in ice cold water for one minute causing healthy tissue to constrict while the abnormal tumor tissue remains hot. The infrared scanner easily distinguishes the difference, and these images are compared with the first set for confirmation.

Thermography can detect abnormalities before the onset of a malignancy, and as early as ten years before being recognized by other procedures such as manual breast exam, mammography, ultrasound or MRI. This makes it potentially life-saving for women who are unknowingly developing abnormalities, as it can take several years for a cancerous tumor to develop and be detected by mammogram. Its accuracy is also impressive, with false negative and false positive rates at 9% for each. Thermography is also an effective way to establish a baseline for comparison with future scans; therefore, women should begin screening by the age of 25.

Although widely embraced by alternative health care practitioners, thermography’s obscurity in the mainstream means that too many women rely on mammograms as their only option. There are several reasons for thermography’s lack of support by the conventional medical community. Early thermal scanners were not very sensitive, nor were they well-tested before being used in clinical practice. This resulted in many misdiagnosed cases and its utter dismissal by the medical community. Since then the technology has advanced dramatically and thermography now uses highly sensitive state-of-the-art infrared cameras and sophisticated computers. A wealth of clinical research attests to its high degree of sensitivity and accuracy. In 1982, the FDA approved thermography for breast cancer screening, yet most of the medical establishment is either unaware of it or still associates it with its early false start. Since most women are also uninformed of the technology there is no pressure on the medical community to support it.

Modern-day breast thermography boasts vastly improved technology and more extensive scientific clinical research.

In fact, the article references data from major peer review journals and research on more than 300,000 women who have been tested using the technology. Combined with the successes in detecting breast cancer with greater accuracy than other methods, the technology is slowly gaining ground among more progressive practitioners.

Sugar molecule kinks red meat consumption and elevated cancer risk .


Neu5Gc, a non-human sugar found in red meat, promotes inflammation and cancer progression in rodents.

While people who eat a lot of red meat are known to be at higher risk for certain cancers, other carnivores are not, prompting researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine to investigate the possible tumor-forming role of a sugar called Neu5Gc, which is naturally found in most mammals but not in humans.

In a study published in the Dec. 29 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists found that feeding Neu5Gc to mice engineered to be deficient in the sugar (like humans) significantly promoted spontaneous cancers. The study did not involve exposure to carcinogens or artificially inducing cancers, further implicating Neu5Gc as a key link between red meat consumption and cancer.

“Until now, all of our evidence linking Neu5Gc to cancer was circumstantial or indirectly predicted from somewhat artificial experimental setups,” said principal investigator Ajit Varki, MD, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and member of the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “This is the first time we have directly shown that mimicking the exact situation in humans — feeding non-human Neu5Gc and inducing anti-Neu5Gc antibodies — increases spontaneous cancers in mice.”

Varki’s team first conducted a systematic survey of common foods. They found that red meats (beef, pork and lamb) are rich in Neu5Gc, affirming that foods of mammalian origin such as these are the primary sources of Neu5Gc in the human diet. The molecule was found to be bio-available, too, meaning it can be distributed to tissues throughout the body via the bloodstream.

The researchers had previously discovered that animal Neu5Gc can be absorbed into human tissues. In this study, they hypothesized that eating red meat could lead to inflammation if the body’s immune system is constantly generating antibodies against consumed animal Neu5Gc, a foreign molecule. Chronic inflammation is known to promote tumor formation.

To test this hypothesis, the team engineered mice to mimic humans in that they lacked their own Neu5Gc and produced antibodies against it. When these mice were fed Neu5Gc, they developed systemic inflammation. Spontaneous tumor formation increased fivefold and Neu5Gc accumulated in the tumors.

“The final proof in humans will be much harder to come by,” Varki said. “But on a more general note, this work may also help explain potential connections of red meat consumption to other diseases exacerbated by chronic inflammation, such as atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes.

“Of course, moderate amounts of red meat can be a source of good nutrition for young people. We hope that our work will eventually lead the way to practical solutions for this catch-22.”

Study co-authors include Annie N. Samraj, Oliver M. T. Pearce, Heinz Läubli, Alyssa N. Crittenden, Anne K. Bergfeld, Kalyan Banda, Christopher J. Gregg, Andrea E. Bingman, Patrick Secrest, Sandra L. Diaz and Nissi M. Varki, all at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

This research was funded, in part, by the Ellison Medical Foundation, the National Cancer Institute (grant R01CA38701), a Samuel and Ruth Engelberg Fellowship from the Cancer Research Institute and a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship.

 

Aspirin a day could dramatically cut cancer risk, says biggest study yet .


An aspirin a day could dramatically cut people’s chances of getting and dying from common cancers, according to the most detailed review yet of the cheap drug’s ability to stem disease.

Aspirin

More than 130,000 deaths would be avoided over a 20-year period if Britain’s 50- to 64-year-olds took a daily aspirin for 10 years, because the beneficial effects continue even when the aspirin is stopped, the authors say.

A research team led by Professor Jack Cuzick, head of the centre for cancer prevention at Queen Mary University of London, concluded that people between 50 and 65 should consider regularly taking the 75mg low-dosage tablets.

Cuzick said that taking aspirin “looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement”.

In a briefing to journalists, the scientist added that he had been dosing himself for the last four years, keeping the tablets beside his bed. “I take aspirin as part of a bedtime ritual every day and I can achieve that quite easily,” he said.

However, to obtain the newfound benefits of the drug, people would have to take aspirin for at least five years and probably 10, the review said.

Aspirin 0608 WEB Aspirin: effects on cancer

Aspirin was originally developed as a painkiller and treatment for fever and inflammation, but more than a century after it was first synthesised from willow bark, researchers have found more medical uses for it.

It has been demonstrated to reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes as well as the chances of some cancers. But the big question has been whether the benefits outweigh the harms, because aspirin can cause stomach bleeds, which could be potentially fatal in some people.

Concluding that the benefits outweighed the risks, Cuzick’s team, writing in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, said that by taking low-dose aspirin every day for 10 years, bowel cancer cases could be cut by about 35% and deaths by 40%. Aspirin could reduce rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers by 30% and deaths from them by 35% to 50%.

However, taking aspirin every day for 10 years increases the risk of stomach bleeds among 60-year-olds from 2.2% to 3.6%. In about 5% of those who have a stomach bleed, it could be fatal.

Cuzick added that there was evidence that this side-effect could be more common in people who have the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in their stomach, which also causes peptic ulcers. He said people considering embarking on a regime of daily aspirin should talk to their GP and it might be possible to be tested first.

A second risk is stroke. Aspirin is already given to some people to reduce their risk of heart attacks or ischemic stroke, caused by blood clots, which it does by thinning the blood. But it is likely to worsen a haemorrhagic stroke, caused by bleeding in the brain.

The study also shows that 10 years of aspirin reduces heart attacks by 18% and deaths by 5%, but although it reduces stroke numbers by 5%, there is a 21% increase in deaths.

All the cancers in which aspirin has a beneficial effect have some lifestyle causes – from smoking in lung cancer to alcohol in oesophageal cancer and obesity in all of them. Taking aspirin, said Cuzick, “should not be seen as a reason for not improving your lifestyle”. The drug, however, would reduce the cancer risk even in people who have a healthy lifestyle, he said.

Increasing numbers of people in middle age are already being prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes. Recently there has been an outcry over the “medicalisation” of the population and concern about side-effects – which trial data suggest are less common and less serious than those in aspirin. Cuzick said there was no evidence of any interaction between the two drugs. “In many people, taking both of them is probably a good idea,” he said.

However, Cancer Research UK (CRUK)warned that people should speak to their GP before starting on daily aspirin. The charity said it would like to see more research on who should and should not be taking it.

“Aspirin is showing promise in preventing certain types of cancer, but it’s vital that we balance this with the complications it can cause – such as bleeding, stomach ulcers, or even strokes in some people,” said Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at CRUK.

“Before aspirin can be recommended for cancer prevention some important questions need to be answered, including what is the best dose and how long people should take it for. And tests need to be developed to predict who is likely to have side-effects.

“Given the continued uncertainty over who should take aspirin, Cancer Research UK is funding a number of trials and research projects to make the picture clearer,” she said.

Aspirin also has a smaller preventive effect on other major cancers, according to the research paper. It could reduce the number of lung cancers by 5% and deaths by 15%. It could cut prostate cancers by 10% and deaths by 15%, and breast cancers by 10%, with a reduction in deaths of 5%.

There would be an overall 9% reduction in the number of cancers, strokes and heart attacks suffered by men and a fall of 7% in women.

Cuzick acknowledged that people generally did not like taking pills for a long period, although, he said, some were “more than happy to take multivitamins for many, many years without any clear evidence of benefit. It is a regular habit.”

As a generic drug – Bayer’s patent ran out in the 1930s – there are no profits to be made by big pharmaceutical companies from the estimated 100bn tablets taken around the world every year.

The science – and the warnings

What did the study find?

The risk of both developing and dying from digestive-tract cancers – those of the bowel, stomach and oesophagus – was reduced by about a third in people who took low doses of aspirin daily for 10 years. Cases of breast, prostate and lung cancer were reduced by about 10%, though no effect was seen on other cancers.

What do scientists recommend?

For aspirin’s anti-cancer benefits to kick in, people needed to have taken aspirin for at least five years from the ages of 50 to 64. Most of the research was based on low 75mg doses. The longer the drug was taken, the better its preventive effects, until the age of 65, after which there was an increased risk of internal bleeding. The study found no benefit in taking aspirin before the age of 50. Scientists recommend that people consult their GP before taking daily aspirin to prevent cancer.

How does aspirin prevent cancer?

There are two theories. First, inflammation in the body causes cells to divide, which increases the risk of them mutating into cancerous forms.

Because aspirin reduces inflammation, it lowers the risk of cancerous cells developing.

Second, cancer cells can piggyback on blood platelets, which help the blood to clot. Aspirin thins the blood by making platelets less sticky, which may also make it harder for them to carry cancer cells and so spread the disease.

What are the risks?

Aspirin can cause bleeding in the stomach and bowel. This can be serious, especially in the over 70s, but rarely affects younger people unless they have an underlying condition.

“My personal advice would be that everyone 50 to 64 should consider taking aspirin. You should talk to your GP first to see if you’ve got any of the major risk factors for bleeding, but if not I think the benefits substantially outweigh the risks,” said the senior author, Prof Jack Cuzick.