By: Sayer Ji, Founder
Should we be
looking for disease in people who don't have any symptoms? A large new study
indicates the answer is NO.
Subject to an
increasingly expansive disease screening programs, unsuspecting healthy
individuals are being transformed into patients every day. Massive 'awareness
raising' campaigns funded by industries that either cause disease by creating
and promoting harmful products, or make profit from the diseases by diagnosing
and treating them, dominate mainstream culture, with their tentacles reaching
deep into both private and public (i.e. governmental) sectors. Think of
KFC's now defunct "Buckets for the Cure" campaign, or Susan G.
Komen's stamp of approval on a Fracking Drill bit supposed to help find
a cure. Or, how about our very own Whitehouse saturating itself with Pink
light during Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
do these 'awareness raising' efforts have in common? They
almost all funnel the miseducated masses into fear-driven screening programs
that promise to 'save lives' by 'detecting disease early' instead of focusing
on removing and/or lessening the preventable causes of disease. Why not
employ real prevention and focus on root cause resolution, which is to say,
dietary changes, detoxification, and various modifiable lifestyle factors
such as stress reduction -- none of which, incidentally, require pharmaceutical
intervention. In the case of cancer, the primary focus should be on removing
exposure to cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).
cancer awareness raising campaigns intentionally avoud the term "carcinogen,"
as removal of these primary drivers were an irrelevant consideration. The
problem is that conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation
are themselves carcinogenic, and should be avoided in principle by anyone
looking to prevent, treat and/or reverse cancer, undermining the cancer
industry's main cash cow for the past half century. Additionally, if you
focus on identifying and removing the cause, you can't get people to throw
billions of dollars into fund-raising campaigns by promising a cure that
only exists as a possibility in the future, and requires ceaseless cash
offerings and supplication to the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical 'Gods.'
have these disease campaigns met their promises?
This all important
question is now drawing widespread attention following the publication of
study in the International Journal of Epidemiology titled: "Does screening
for disease save lives in asymptomatic adults? Systematic review of meta-analyses
and randomized trials."1
As many of our
readers who follow our work are already aware, routine mass screening for
cancer in healthy populations commonly leads to overdiagnosis (finding lesions
that do not cause harm or death), and when not identified as such, overtreatment
(a euphemism to what amounts to succumbing to medical abuse).
also leads to a staggering level of false-positives, with the 10
year cumulative rate for women receiving annual x-ray mammography reaching
50%. Even when false positives are identified, and the patient avoids
unnecessary surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, research shows that the
trauma of the false-positive is as severe as a real positive breast cancer
diagnosis, for at least six months following the diagnosis.
is exceedingly common primarily because of mistakes in cancer classification
based on a fundamental, at least half century old misunderstanding of cancer
biology. In 2013 the National Cancer Institute commissioned an expert working
group to look at present day definitions of screen detected cancers such
as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) ('breast cancer'), high grade intraepithelial
neoplasia (HGPIN) ('prostate cancer') and thyroid papillary carcinoma (thyroid
'cancer'), with the shocking conclusion that these should be reclassified
as non-cancerous, benign growths of epithelial origin. Yes, after millions
in the U.S. over the past few decades had their breasts, prostates, ovaries,
and thyroids removed as a 'precautionary' approach, now they are being told
they never had cancer to begin with. In other words, they had abnormal tissue
growth that would never have progressed to cause harm or death. But these
non-malignant lesions or tumors were treated as if they were life-threatening
cancers anyway, with patients often losing their breasts or prostates as
a result of medical errors that were disingenuously recorded in cancer statistics
as 'life saving' interventions that 'detected cancer early,' resulting in
inflating the '5-year survival' rates in a way that appears to show medical
progress. These semantical and statistical misrepresentations, are why,
absurdly, the cancer industry can announce that they saved over a million
lives in the past few decades, when in fact quite the opposite may be true.
on Science Daily, the new study confirms that despite screening programs
picking up millions of new 'early cancer' diagnoses disease-specific mortality
has not declined significantly as would be expected if these 'cancers' were
actually non-benign or life threatening":
for disease is a key component of modern healthcare. Yet, new surprising
new research shows that few currently available screening tests for major
diseases where death is a common outcome have documented reductions in
disease-specific mortality. Evidence was evaluated on 16 screening tests
for 9 major diseases where mortality is a common outcome. The researchers
found 45 randomized controlled trials and 98 meta-analyses that evaluated
disease-specific or all-cause mortality. Reductions in disease-specific
mortality were uncommon and reductions in all-cause mortality were very
in the U.S. are still not aware that breast screening for women aged 40-49
and PSA-based prostate screening in healthy men lost their endorsement in
2009 and 2012, respectively, by the U.S. Preventive Task Force (USPSTF),
explicitly because of concerns that the psychological and physical harms
of overdiagnosis and overtreatment outweighed their benefits in reducing
cancer specific mortality. In fact, prostate screening was associated with
increased mortality! Although not discussed by the USPSTF, we have detailed
the many ways which which mammography is likely increasing mortality in
those undergoing them.
Science Daily, senior author of the new study, professor John Ioannidis
comprehensive overview shows that documented reductions in disease-specific
mortality in randomized trials of screening for major diseases are uncommon.
Reductions in all-cause mortality are even more uncommon. This overview
offers researchers, policy-makers, and health care providers a synthesis
of RCT evidence on the potential benefits of screening and we hope that
it is timely in the wake of recent controversies." [emphasis added]
are vast resources of energy, money, and time put into screening programs.
This new meta-analysis should put a pause in the ongoing push to have asymptomatic
people subject themselves to unnecessary screening. But the truth is that
only we can make these decisions for ourselves. The medical-industrial complex
will likely continue to push for these programs regardless of the evidence
against them, and the governmental agencies in charge of overseeing them
will likely continue to default to a cheerleading instead of regulatory
role. We can only hope that our readers continue to educate themselves and
make a fully informed choice.
Nazmus Saquib, Juliann Saquib, and John Ioannidis. Does screening for disease
save lives in asymptomatic adults? Systematic review of meta-analyses and
randomized trials. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2015 DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyu140
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