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when it comes to cancer, the more things change, the more they stay the same


Cancer Treatment

A couple of weeks ago, Cheryl Clark wrote an article for MedPage Today (a medical news site) called Value of U.S. Cancer Care Questioned: Screening, Prevention, and Treatment have Extended Life, but at What Cost?  In the article, we see yet another example of the theme I have been showing you for years — that early detection helping survival rates is largely a myth.  This is not only true of BREAST CANCER (HERE is a specific article on the subject), but it’s true with CANCER in general (HERE).  It’s the very reason that ANNUAL PHYSICAL EXAMS are no longer recommended (along with PROSTATE EXAMS and Pelvic Exams).  Listen to what Dartmouth Professor, Dr. Samir Soneji says in his recent report for the WHO’s Cancer Mortality (the report was based on Cancer data from the years from 1982 to 2010.

“We are experiencing declines in mortality from cancer in the U.S., but those declines are coming at the same pace as in Europe, which is spending a lot less money. Screening, prevention, and treatment have extended life, but that’s coming at a much higher cost [in the U.S.] than in Europe…..    Cancers are being diagnosed earlier, without corresponding changes in actual dates of death. In other words, it just means people are finding out they have cancer earlier.”

The harsh reality is that study after study is revealing that discovering Cancer earlier, does not increase your survival rates.  This is due to something called “OVER-DIAGNOSIS“.  When mortality rate for various cancers are compared to Europe, who spends much less money than America does on all aspects of Cancer treatment, what do we find?

“The U.S. averted the largest number of deaths for stomach and colorectal cancer. But it experienced the largest number of excess deaths for lung cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And only a modest number of deaths from breast and prostate cancer were averted.”

If you are interested in seeing how modest “modest” is, just click on some of the links.  And if you want to see what physicians and those in healthcare have to say about this phenomenon, make sure to read the original article’s comment section.  Here is one of them by an MD.  “Oncologists often seem more interested in the date of death rather than quality of life years. It is past time for re-ordering priorities and considering patients rather than prolonging life by 6 weeks.”  An example of this phenomenon can be found HERE.

Bear in mind that even though I am sharing the most current research and diagnostic / treatment guidelines with you, your doctor will not likely be sharing this information with you anytime soon.  There’s simply too much money to be made by doing things the old way.  But all too often that’s how it is with EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.


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