The cruel and costly hoax of breast cancer screening:
Protect yourself from mainstream mammography mania
With the barrage of media hype surrounding breast cancer, it's no wonder women often cite it as their primary health concern. But should you really be as worried as the media says you should be? A recent nationwide survey conducted by the American Cancer Society (ACS) found that women have a distorted perception regarding their lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. The average woman has about an 11 percent risk of getting the disease at some point during her life, but nearly half of those surveyed believed their risk was between 30 percent and 50 percent. Many also mistakenly believe that women in their 30s and 40s are more likely to be diagnosed than older women. This misconception has led to a lot of unnecessary anxiety among women in the prime of life.
All this worry has made breast cancer screening an enormous business. It has been pushed as an essential part of surviving breast cancer under the assumption that "early detection means an early cure." Women have been terrorized into having repeated mammograms, manual breast examinations, light exams, and anything else that can be dreamed up by the ACS or the doctors to get an early diagnosis.
Reality check-"early" detection does not save lives
The problem with these early detection techniques is that they aren't all that effective. Eric Chamot, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Geneva in Switzerland, commented recently that "it seems clear that the widespread use of a marketing approach to telling women about mammography screening has led to an exaggerated idea of the method's effectiveness."
More than half of the women surveyed by Dr. Chamot and his team of researchers said they believed screening reduces the risk of breast cancer death by between 50 and 75 percent-a grossly distorted idea, promoted by doctors. Research has shown that mammograms do not offer any advantage over physical breast exams in reducing cancer mortality.
In a Canadian study, researchers followed the cases of nearly 40,000 women divided into two groups. One group received mammograms and physical breast exams, the other group received physical breast exams only. Over the five-year screening period and subsequent 13-year, follow-up period, 88 women in the mammography/physical exam group died of breast cancer, compared with 90 deaths in the physical-exam-only group.
Under pressure: Why mammograms don't work
Mammograms can only detect tumors when they have reached a certain size-a size large enough to equal an advanced state of cancer. That is if the mass found by the mammogram actually is cancer in the first place. The rate of false positives is very high. In a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers reviewed the medical records of 2,227 women between the ages of 40 and 69. Results showed that after nine mammograms, the risk of a false positive was more than 43 percent.
False positive mammogram results lead to all sorts of unnecessary and dangerous intervention procedures including mastectomies and lymph node removal. Many surgeons advise removing lymph nodes "just to be on the safe side," but there is no way to tell if the nodes are positive or negative for cancer until after they have been dissected. If they turn out to be negative, the woman has lost a valuable line of defense against any existing or any future cancer cells. Even if the lymph nodes test positive for cancer, there is no evidence that removal increases survival rates.
The compression contradiction
In addition to unacceptably high false positive rates, the very act of performing a mammogram may activate an otherwise quiescent and benign condition. The radiologist doing the exam is likely to compress the breast excessively in order to make the tissue more dense and thus better show any possible tumor changes. After all, changes in density are what they are looking for. The enormous pressure can break down cancer tissue and spread it to other organs. This possibility, which I call the "compression syndrome," is rarely revealed to women undergoing regular mammograms.
I find it maddeningly contradictory that medical students are taught to examine breasts gently to keep any possible cancer from spreading, yet radiologists are allowed to manhandle them for a mammogram.
A safe and effective screening alternative
There is an alternative method of detecting the early stages of cancer. I think it is your best defense against this deadly disease, but odds are your doctor has never heard of it. Despite its amazing accuracy, the Anti-Malignan Antibody Screen (AMAS) just hasn't been heavily promoted.
The test itself couldn't be easier, and it doesn't involve the painful squeezing and possible cancer spreading of a mammogram or the huge potential for human error of a physical exam. Your doctor simply takes a blood sample and screens it for Anti-Malignan Antibody (AMA), a naturally occurring antibody whose levels become elevated in the presence of cancer cells. These serum levels tend to rise early in the course of the disease, which means that you can detect the presence of cancer as much as several months-even a year-before other clinical tests find it.
The AMAS test can detect early cancer cells of all types (not just breast cancer). It has an accuracy rate of greater than 95 percent. With a second test, the accuracy is greater than 99 percent. False positive (and false negative) rates are less than 1 percent.
Results of the AMAS test alone cannot be used to diagnose the disease. However, it is a remarkable breakthrough for the detection of cancerous cells, which, taken in conjunction with other factors, may help physicians arrive at a more concrete-and accurate-diagnosis.
If the diagnosis is positive, most doctors rush to remove the tumor. It is instinct to want to take all necessary steps toward a cure, but do not let your physician rush you into surgery. Most cancers are slow-growing, and you need not panic into treatment. (The unfortunate fact is that if a tumor is fast-growing, mainstream therapies like chemotherapy and radiation will most likely be useless anyway.) The evidence is strong that surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy are less effective in the long run than less toxic therapies, such as UV light therapy, hydrogen peroxide therapy, immunologic treatment, or blood pheresis.
Actions to take:
(1) Of course, the best way to combat cancer is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. One of the major keys to preventing breast cancer is selenium. Studies have shown that the selenium concentration in an area's soil has a strong correlation with the rates of cancer in that area. The more selenium, the less cancer is found. Since it is rather difficult to know whether or not the soil where you live is selenium-rich, and since the foods you buy in the supermarket are grown all over the country, it's best to take supplemental selenium. A dose of 200 micrograms a day is a safe amount. Selenium supplements are available in most health-food and drug stores. If you prefer food sources of selenium, try eating Brazil nuts, which are the richest natural source of this vital nutrient.
Another weapon in the battle against breast cancer is testosterone. In a study performed at the Baton Rouge Menopause Clinic, researchers treated 4,000 patients with a combination of estrogen and testosterone. By the end of the study, only one patient in every 1,000 had been diagnosed with cancer. That's less than half the national average! To find a doctor skilled in the use of natural hormones who can help you with this therapy, contact the Broda Barnes Foundation at (203)261-2101 or the American College for Advancement in Medicine at (800)532-3688 or www.acam.org. (Be sure your doctor does not use methyl-testoterone-it has been shown to be harmful to the liver).
(2) Do not let your doctor frighten you into undergoing regular mammograms! If you suspect that you have cancer or if you have other risk factors, like family history of the disease, ask your doctor to run an AMAS test. If he refuses, find a doctor who will perform the test. You (or your doctor) can find out everything you need to know about the AMAS test by contacting the Boston firm Oncolab Inc. at 36 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02215; tel. (617)536-0850.
(3) There is no need to rush into drastic treatment measures if the AMAS test detects cancerous cells. As mentioned above, most tumors are slow-growing: Ductal carcinomas are small, localized, very confined lesions that can be closely monitored with no risk to the patient and may never have to be treated.
(4) In the event that cancer cells are detected, begin the following supplement regimen: 50,000 IU of vitamin A twice a day, as well as 5,000 IU of vitamin D combined with 1,000 milligrams of calcium once a day. These supplements may have the ability to shrink tumors and/or inhibit cancer cell proliferation.
(5) As far as aggressive treatment of breast cancer goes, there are only a few therapies that I fully endorse:
Dr. Rigdon Lentz, of Nashville, TN, uses a method called blood pheresis, which filters cancer from the blood. For more information on this treatment, contact Dr. Lentz's office at (615)831-1222.
Another option is to contact the Burzynski Clinic in Houston, TX at (713)335-5699 or www.cancermed.com. Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski has developed a cancer therapy so effective, that even the National Cancer Institute has reviewed it and noted its benefits.
But perhaps the most effective treatment I have encountered is photoluminescence in conjunction with intravenous hydrogen peroxide therapy. Photoluminescence involves withdrawing a small portion of blood from the vein, exposing the blood to ultraviolet light, and then reinjecting it back into the patient's body. Intravenous hydrogen peroxide can enhance the effects of photoluminescence. Unfortunately, it is difficult to locate clinics providing this treatment. However, the Freedom Center for Advanced Medicine in Provo, UT, run by Dr. Judith Moore and Dr. Dennis Remington (a member of the American College for Advancement in Medicine), does offer this unique and life-saving therapy. For details on their services, contact them at (801)373-8500 or www.freedommedcenter.com.
Boyles, Salynn. "How Likely Are You to Get Breast Cancer? Surveys Find Women Overestimate Risk and Value of Screening," WebMD Medical News, 10/18/01
"Mammography Does Not Reduce Breast Cancer Mortality When Added to Careful Breast Examination for Women Aged 50-59 Years," Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2000; 92(18); 1,455
"Predicting the Cumulative Risk of False-Positive Mammograms," Jounral of the National Cancer Institute 2000; 92(20): 1,657-1,666