Conventional Medicine Runs Amok: Prostate, Breast, and Colon Screenings

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cancer screeningCall it the sledgehammer approach to medicine. Rather than catching or curing disease, aggressive cancer screenings and unnecessary biopsies are actually spreading deadly “superbugs” among patients.

Take prostate exams, for example. Millions of men each year are tested for prostate cancer—and an increasing number of them are getting sick from potentially lethal drug-resistant infections. Studies from three countries show that infectious complications from prostate biopsies have more than doubled in less than a decade. As much as five percent of prostate biopsies develop infections from the procedure—or about 50,000 Americans every year, and an equal number in Europe. Nine out of 10,000 men whose tests were negative for prostate cancer died within a month from sepsis and other complications, according to a recent study in the Journal of Urology.

The standard needle biopsy test for prostate cancer sends an ultrasound-guided needle a dozen times through the rectum to collect specimens from the prostate gland. But this also allows the needle to bring bacteria from the bowel into the prostate, bladder, and bloodstream. This is particularly dangerous if the bacteria happen to be “superbugs” which are resistant to antibiotics (please see our article on superbugs in this issue).

Part of the problem is the procedure itself. A 2004 study from the John Wayne Cancer Institute in California indicates that if you do have cancer, getting a needle biopsy may increase the chance that the cancer will spread by as much as 50 percent compared to patients who receive the more traditional excisional biopsies (or “lumpectomies”).

In response to this, it is argued that biopsies save lives too. A Swedish study is cited suggesting that younger men with early prostate cancer have better survival odds if they have surgery right away instead of waiting for treatment. But look more closely at the study. About 95 percent of the cancers in the Swedish study were found because they were causing symptoms. In the United States, however, most of the cancers are found after a PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test raises a red flag, long before symptoms appear. And that’s the problem: an elevated PSA test almost invariably leads to a needle biopsy, even though false PSA positives are commonplace. A recent study concluded that after 20 years of follow-up with patients, the rate of death from prostate cancer did not differ significantly between men in the screening group and those in the control group.

Also keep in mind that some prostrate cancers are aggressive, while others grow very slowly and many may never cause problems. But the standard surgery and radiation treatment is the same for nearly all of them, and has been known to have nasty side effects like impotence, urinary incontinence, and bowel problems.

A European study on prostate cancer screening indicated that in a sample of 1,400 men, one man’s life would be saved from the early detection and treatment—while 48 others would undergo painful and dangerous treatments like surgery or radiation that would not improve their health because either the cancer was not life-threatening to begin with or because the cancer was too far gone.

Is this the only example of conventional “preventive” medicine run amok? Far from it.

Recent research suggests that the elderly get colonoscopies far too often—creating unnecessary risks to their health, and a waste of money, as Medicare is paying for it. In fact, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends against routine colon cancer screening for most people 76 to 85—and says for those older than 85, screening risks outweigh the benefits. Complications for older patients include accidental perforation of the colon, bleeding, and complications from sedatives, any of which can lead to death. And most of these colonoscopies for the elderly are completely unnecessary to begin with—a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine says that only 27 percent of all study patients with frequent exams had any symptoms that might have raised suspicion of cancer.

There is big money in cancer screenings. Americans spend $4 billion on mammograms alone, and some of those tests cause false alarms that lead to unnecessary follow-up surgery on normal breasts—at a cost of as much as $70 billion over a decade. The radiation alone from too many mammograms can be a cause of cancer, although CAT scans, with their massive amount of radiation, may be an even bigger risk.

And this isn’t the only “preventive” medicine risk for women who are worried about breast cancer.

The Health Sciences Institute points out that the drug tamoxifen, which was identified as a carcinogen by the California EPA more than ten years ago, is frequently recommended if there is a risk of breast cancer. This synthetic hormone-like drug effectively prevents estrogen from binding to breast cancer cells, making it more effective than chemotherapy in treating estrogen-driven breast cancer tumors—the most common type of breast cancer tumor in postmenopausal women. But the potential dangers range from nausea and vomiting to deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, not to mention cancer itself. Tamoxifen actually increases the risk of a rarer type of breast cancer that is aggressive and harder to treat.

What is really inexcusable is that animal studies suggest phytoestrogens from foods such as soy do as much or more than tamoxifen to prevent cancer without the side effect risks. But drug companies and the FDA couldn’t care less because these phytoestrogens can’t be patented and thus can’t be brought through the FDA approval process.

There are also other, much safer ways to reduce one’s risk of breast cancer: being as lean as possible without being underweight; exercising for at least 30 minutes a day; limiting alcohol consumption; and, for new mothers, breast-feeding their children for up to six months.

As we noted in March, more is not necessarily better when treating as well as trying to prevent cancer: after years of patient trials and clinical experience, even oncologists are grudgingly agreeing that more chemotherapy does not necessarily produce a better outcome. The side effects of additional aggressive chemo invariably outweigh the benefits. The same goes for radical, disfiguring surgeries like mastectomies with the removal of pectoral muscles and all area lymph glands: for many patients facing breast cancer at an early stage (estimated to be up to 40,000 per year) the removal of area lymph modes is now known to be unnecessary.

The book Death by Medicine by Gary Null et al. documents the fact that the number of people who die each day because of medical errors—physician mistakes, hospital-related illness, and reactions to FDA-approved medications—is the equivalent of six jumbo jets falling out of the sky. More Americans are dying each year at the hands of medicine than all American casualties in WWI and the Civil War combined. The book has recently become an award-winning documentary film.

Health policy expert John C. Goodman discusses the huge economic cost of adverse medical events—between $393 and $958 billion in 2006. He estimates that 6.1 million injuries and 187,000 deaths caused by the health care system: “This is equal to between $4,000 and $10,000 a year for every household in America. Roughly speaking, every time the healthcare system spends a dollar healing us, it causes up to 45 cents worth of harm.”

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  • Suzanne

    Do thermography instead of a mammo. No radiation, no pressure and any problem on the thermography appears 8-12 years BEFORE a mammo shows a problem.

    • Sue Thomas

      It costs too much for me: a few years ago I was able to afford it, but cannot find a way now to get thermography for a price I can afford.

      • Trish

        Check and ask around. Wellness centers and some Chiropractors. Some may give you a discount for
        your first visit.

      • Mary Argall

        Regarding your question about the affordability of thermograms, I live in Madison, WI and the cost for a breast thermography here is about $150. So, not sure how that compares to the prices in your area. But, at least, it’s only once a year, too. My OB/GYN here asks me for the results and doesn’t try to talk me into a mammogram instead. So, she is aware of thermography, but I go to an MD here instead who orders thermograms and conducts them in his office..

        • nancy

          I live in Madion as well. Can I ask what thermography clinic you go to. I checked online and there was only 1. thanks

        • Mary Lou Tringali, PhD

          I live in North Palm Beach, FL and I paid $150 (sale price) for the first visit and then $175.00 for the rest of the visits. I have tried to convince CIGNA, my insurance carrier, that it makes much more medical sense to detect cancer ahead of time rather than waiting for a lump to appear years later and finding out from a mammogram. CIGNA still wouldn’t pay for the thermography visit. Argh!

  • Screening and scanning are just high tech marketing tools for the greedy “health” industry. It is sad but true that many, many people die not from disease but from “modern cures”. It is quite the hoax to convince patients that the INDUSTRY HEALS not the body itself. Make a great place for the body to live and be nurtured through decent organic foods and you will NOT need these huge INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE scanning centers. It is so predatory. Get them while they are sick!

    • Chuck Ricini

      I am overwhelmed after reading this article, it is the absolute truth. I pray enough people will read
      this GOD sent information to make a difference in this world !
      Amen

    • One of the major causes of modern day chronic disease is conventional medicine and it’s drug based therapies.

  • Thank you for this post and the information it conveys regarding cancer screenings. I shall share with others.

  • Harry

    Stop suggesting soy. Thyroid suppression is not healthy and soy will do this.

    • Steve

      Well use fermented soy then; case solved.

    • Sue

      Also Soy is definitely not a good option for those with estrogen positive breast cancer.

  • Richard Vance

    This is true. I contracted an infection from needle biopsy and so did every man I know who had a
    Needle biopsy. One man spent 3 days in the hospital fighting a super bug.

    When my Dr at MD ANDERSON said he wanted another biopsy “just because”
    I had not had one in a year I said no. Now with my PSA drastically falling
    I’m glad I skipped that infectious cancer spreading procedure.

    If your prostate cancer is stable(level or falling PSA) just eat and live as healthy as you can
    And avoid needle biopsies. When the time comes to biopsy choose
    an MRI or other noninvasive imaging procedure.

    My urologist is money hungry yours may be too. You can fire him.

  • razzle

    And this does not include the extra cost of misdiagnosis and mis-treatment of chronic persistant Lyme Borreliosis or related coinfections (Bartonella, Babesia, Anaplasma/Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, etc.)…these infections are often misdiagnosed as the over 350 other diseases that they can closely mimic, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, etc. See http://turnthecorner.org/ for more info…

  • emily scott

    help!!!! this is America, the best country, and we are being treated like captives. Death to every money hungry physician and death to every liar!!

    • Kat

      Death??? That seems a bit harsh. We don’t want to sound like jihadists. What if we say “let’s drum them out of business!” instead?

  • janetoc

    My husband just had a routine colonoscopy and they took out a “pre-cancerous polyp”. This happened 5 years ago. The recommended screening is every 5 years. Something about waiting 5 years doesn’t sit well with me. Either, the polyp is not pre-cancerous as they suggest or what??? I am starting to wonder if this miracle procedure is a bit of a hoax. Do polyps ever go away on their own? Do we always have polyps and its just that it happened that he had only one? Something smells fishy to me if there is pre-cancerous anything and the next test is suggested for 5 years down the pike. Don’t we all have pre-cancerous cells and depending upon how we treat our bodies, things either happen or they don’t?

  • Jon F. Burke, Ph.D.

    Read the contents of the website published by Joseph Mercola: http://www.mercola.com. He has many,many articles cited in national professional journals (e.g. JAMA, Clinical Neurology, Clinical pharmacology, etc., etc.) quoting literally hundred of studies which have identified botched medical practices and recommendations that, when followed, have resulted in the deaths of innocent patients who blindly trusted their doctors and believed that government oversight agencies such as the CDC and FDA, to name only two of many, but died in the process of this misplaced belief.

    When it comes to health recommendations, believe me, the government is not your friend. The money made daily by the pharmacy industry is the direct result of that industry’s major investments in medical schools and the boards of medicine that exist and license physicians in every state. If discovered recommending non-western curative techniques or other than pharmacy industry approved compounds with which to address human suffering, physicians throughout the United States, who make these recommendations, run the very real risk of loosing their licenses.

  • Jerry Amos

    I’ve an irregular heartbeat, atrial flutter (which is not fibrillation). I feel fine. I’m 76. The cardiologist in Nashua New Hampshire prescribed medications which knocked me on my butt, then insisted I needed a catheterization and an ablation. Second opinion from Massachusetts General Hospital senior cardiologist no medications no operations needed. Since then we have skied at 10,000 feet no problem.

    My prostate is lumpy. The urologist in Nashua New Hampshire did a biopsy which the mail in lab said advanced cancer. The urologist insisted I needed beam radiation 5 days a week for 6 weeks. Second opinion from Massachusetts General Hospital urologist and resident pathologist the lumps are not cancerous, no treatment needed.

    Getting to the right doctors saved me lots of nasty side effects and tens of thousands of dollars.

    Oh, yes, we do supplements like glucosamine and omega 3 and vitamin D3 2000 IU and B12 since we’re mostly vegans. Read “The China Study” by prof. T. Colin Campbell on healthy lifestyle…

    • D.

      Please do not read the China Study or anything else by Colin Campbell. He’s an idiot. Check out the ‘net for further information about Denise Minger’s complete dismantling of the China Study. If you want good health advice read up on nutrient dense foods at sites like http://www.westonaprice.org

      The China Study is a crock.

  • Rebecca Gorlin

    And let’s not forget the Pap test. It is unnecessary for asymptomatic healthy women, unreliable with a lot of false positives and negatives, and invasive. Cervical cancer is not even the most common cancer among women. Most countries don’t do Paps nearly as often as here and their cervical cancer rates are no higher than ours. It makes a lot of money for doctors as opposed to the CSA blood test, which is far more accurate, and noninvasive.

    • D.

      Well said, Rebecca. I couldn’t agree more. Most women remain largely uninformed about health care matters, which is exactly what the allopathic medical industry counts on.

  • I was in hospital with chest pains and luckily they were too busy to operate on me because others were falling over like nine pins in the ER. I am now well and found out after a few visits to a Bowen Technique Therapist that my chest pain was caused by a sprung rib. While waiting to be discharged I spoke to a patient who had gone in three months prior for a stent (like I was supposed to get) and three months later she was on a bag full of drugs after her liver failed and numerous other organs were affected.. She was a mess and I thank my lucky stars they could not take me on that day. I was “prepped” and ready to “go with the flow”, but was saved by the bell as they say! I did not go back for a follow up and do not intend to go there again as I am working on staying healthy by change of lifestyle and regular Bowen Treatments.

  • RONICE

    I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH EATING ORGANIC AND USING NATURAL HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE COST? MOST PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD IT. AND IF YOU BUY NATURAL PRODUCTS YOU ALSO HAVE TO BE CAREFUL ABOUT SUPPLIERS USING FILLERS AND SUCH AND THE BETTER PRODUCTS ARE GENERALLY MORE EXPENSIVE. PRICES ARE HIGHER FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTS PERIOD. IF YOU HAVE INSURANCE PHARMACUTICALS ARE GENERALLY CHEAPER….ANY KIND OF ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS ARE EXPENSIVE AND WILL BE UNTIL THE FDA CAN PROFIT FROM IT….IT’S SO WRONG….OF COURSE SINCE THE BEGINNING OF LIFE IT HAS BEEN GREED THAT DESTROYS…..

    • D.

      If you think the cost of healthy foods and supplements is too high, what must you think of the medical industry? Those dudes don’t live in million dollar homes, even here in the middle part of the country, because they do things for free. The current medical paradigm should not be called health care because it is no such thing. It should be called death watch because they’re looking for ways to keep you sick, not make you well. Spend the money on staying healthy, not on doctors who will make sure you stay ill and on meds for the rest of your life.

  • Tara sharma, M.D.

    very well written documentary on the pittfalls of so called preventive proceedures. How is a mammogram or colonoscopy preventive? it is early diagnosis not preventive. I will quote from a patient of mine” my mother in law got colon cancer because the doctors did not give her colonoscopy” when I asked her about her life style just typical cancer causing daily protocol.
    the prevention is for the diseases not to happen. It can only happen when people take responsibility for their own health. quit blaming everybody else. if some thing goes wrong or unexpected run to a lawyer to get compensation.
    It is a sad state of affairs but true that I want to abuse my body to the hilt expect somebody else to fix it. if something does not go the perfect way. I will sue.
    Iam sharing this inforrmation with my fellow physicians. hope all of them willl pay attention
    thanks. keep up the good work. references given from the literature are very helpful

  • MY WIFE OFFERS A MONTHLY EMAIL ALERT TO DO A SELF HELP BREAST EXAMINATION…SHE HAS BEEN BANNED FROM THE LOCAL NEWS PAPER.
    WE ARE WRITING AND APPROACHIG THE HOSPITAL BOARD, TOO.

  • Barbara Blaylock

    I’m a cancer survivor and have reason to believe that my cancer was mainly caused by all the radiation treatments I have received over the years – including chest x rays, dental x rays, mammograms, and an unnecessary CT scan – as well as several years of taking Premarin on my doctor’s recommendation.

    After 15 years on an HMO I’m impressed by the level of medical ignorance of the general practitioners I’ve seen (I’m on my ninth so far). They’re all young and seem to have no diagnostic skills. They give lots of lab tests, which are not always accurate, base treatment on the lab tests, ignoring the patient’s history, and do not listen well to what the patient tells them. I’ve gotten appointment notes from two of them and was appalled at the tremendous inaccuracy of the notes. I would recommend that every patient request a written record of the physician’s appointment notes and insist on correcting them to the extent needed.

    • D.

      What a great idea! I wonder how many doctors would protest? If they do, move on.

  • I had the tests. I refused to believe the lies they told me. I refused their treatments and the cancer was healed. This happens with other ailments also and I have a powerful physician who taught me to use the brains he gave me (Hosea 4:6). Once a person gets a negative test result the system is at work using fear tactics coupled with urgency and lack of information. Yes many have and will fall for these tactics and place themselves at risk. for the very bugs the industry may have possibly concocted intentionally or most certainly through negligence in the name of profits. As one trained in fundamental Japanese natural medicine we do not pierce the body unless absolutely necessary. This is not natural and indeed does increase the chance of transferring unwanted organisms into the body and of course it is no surprise that the drugs used in treatment cause worse conditions than the original problem. We must continue to fight back with informed choices for those who see the truth. All others…get your bank accounts ready to be cleaned out.

  • Lois

    My husband passed away in Nov. 2008 after having part of his pancreas removed because of cancer 2 1/2 years before. Obviously, the chemo ruined his immune system and radiation destroyed his digestive system. Because of this, he had many problems with diarrhea and also several infections. While he was being treated for a bladder infection, his urologist also checked his prostate which had been excellent all those years before. He told us that Raymond had the prostate of a “young man”. I have to believe that it was because of the fact that this forward-looking urologist advised him many years ago to take Vit. E and Selenium to protect his prostate. By the way, he was 82 years old when he died.

  • Tania

    This is crazy! They also say that tamoxifen also causes psirosis of the liver…my mother had alzheimers and she also had psirosis…she never drank heavily actually she drank rarely…she ended up with breast cancer in 97 and the Dr’s gave her tamoxifen and they believe that is what caused the psirosis… I honestly believe that our government is trying to kill off our race, it is they (ultimately the FDA) who encourages the pharmaceutical companies to “push” these drugs to the Dr’s who then “push” or “scare” the people into taking them…this is definitely a wake up call and something to think about!!

  • Left for dead…..I have to listen to MD’s and question their practises constantly. Drugs are sometimes life saving and sometimes they are the killer. I combat my health by educating myself by reading and by monitoring what I put in my body….how much and how long.

  • I do consider all the concepts you have introduced on your post. They are very convincing and will definitely work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for newbies. Could you please extend them a little from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  • How long do you think we has before congress trashes medicare?

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