• The American Cancer Society Reverses Its Strong Position on Mammograms and PSA Testing

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    Dr. Otis Brawley,
    chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society told the New
    York Times on Wednesday, October 21, 2009, “We don’t want
    people to panic, but I’m admitting that American medicine has overpromised
    when it comes to screening. The advantages to screening have been
    exaggerated.”

    How does your
    personal physician communicate confidence and comfort to you now?
    “I am sorry I recommended a mammogram that resulted in an unnecessary
    amputation of your breast?” How consoling do these words feel,
    “It is a shame you haven’t had an erection in the past
    10 years due to the PSA test I insisted you get, that led to debilitating
    prostate treatments – I hope you and your wife understand I
    was just following orders from the American Cancer Society?”
    Tens of millions of women and men have been irreparably damaged
    by the universal and enthusiastic recommendations for “early
    detection programs,” also known as “screening,” from
    their personal physicians, neighborhood breast and prostate clinics,
    community hospitals, national medical associations and medical societies
    over the past four decades. Now, all that the faithful patients
    get is a timid apology from the American Cancer Society, evoked
    by an article in the October 21, 2009 issue of Journal of the
    American Medical Association, titled “Rethinking Screening
    for Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer.” Since, in my opinion,
    this admission of guilt is insufficient, what would be fair retribution
    for the harms done?

    Adequate scientific
    evidence to stop mass screening programs has been readily available
    to your personal doctor for more than three decades. A flick of
    the “on” button of his or her computer, and a ten-minute
    search at the National Library of Medicine (www.pubmed.gov)
    would have revealed the truth. In 1976 Pietro M. Gullino presented
    his findings on the natural history of cancer, showing early detection
    is really late detection, at the Conference on Breast Cancer:
    A Report to the Profession, sponsored by the White House, the
    National Cancer Institute, and the American Cancer Society. He explained:
    “If the time required for a tumor to double its diameter during
    a known period of time is taken as a measure of growth rate, one
    can calculate by extrapolation that two-thirds of the duration of
    a breast cancer remains undetectable by the patient or physician.
    Long before a breast carcinoma can be detected by present technology,
    metastatic spread may occur and does in most cases.” This report
    was subsequently published in the journal representing the American
    Cancer Society (Cancer).

    In more familiar
    words, Dr. Gullino and many other researchers have clearly told
    everyone listening: mammography, breast self-examination, PSA and
    digital rectal exam are really late detection methods and cannot
    be expected to save lives by “catching cancer before it spreads.”
    Unfortunately, there is no profit in telling this truth. So, 386,560
    people in the US are diagnosed annually with breast cancer (194,280)
    and prostate cancer (192,280); many of them through screening.

    Cancer Mongering
    – the Most Successful of All Medical Enterprises

    Cancer-screening
    businesses using two modern technologies – the mammogram and
    the blood test, prostate specific antigen (PSA) – have captured
    more customers than all other efforts combined. Campaigns have been
    so effective that about 75 percent of men have had a routine PSA
    test and about 70 percent of women older than 40 report they have
    had a recent mammogram. More than $20 billion is spent annually
    on screening for these two diseases.

    There are two
    customary ways a doctor-patient relationship is established. The
    traditional means is that you become ill and you seek out the advice
    of a doctor. In this case you initiate the relationship. The worth
    of the evidence supporting the doctor’s treatment does not
    need to be very solid. Your doctor is acting in his or her professional
    capacity to offer you the best available remedies without any real
    guarantee of the outcome. Remember, you asked for the help.

    The second
    means of establishing a doctor-patient relationship became common
    with the introduction of programs looking for “early”
    cancer (screening). In this scenario the doctor comes looking for
    you. Life is good – you are enjoying your family, hobbies,
    and work. Then a knock sounds at your front door by way of a radio,
    TV, or magazine advertisement. Just as likely, during an office
    visit for an unrelated issue, such as a virus cold, your doctor
    admonishes you for failing to have your annual mammogram or PSA
    test. Through screening programs millions of people have become
    patients. When the doctor turns unsuspecting men and women into
    customers then the evidence that the outcome of this campaign will
    be far “more good than harm” must be unquestionable.

    On October
    21, 2009 the public was told by the American Cancer Society that
    this has not been the case for breast and prostate screening. Why
    now? The evidence has not changed – the only change is that
    now a few more people are willing to tell the truth. Why the delay?
    Annually, there is $20 billion at stake for screening alone and
    hundreds of billions more for the tests and treatments that follow.
    The ivory towers of your town’s cancer centers have been built
    from the blood of men and women subjected to harmful screening programs.

    Read
    the rest of the article

    November
    2, 2009

    John McDougall,
    MD [send him mail],
    a board-certified Internist, is the founder and medical director
    of the nationally renowned McDougall
    Program
    , a ten-day, residential program located at a luxury
    resort in Santa Rosa, CA – a place where medical miracles occur
    through proper diet and lifestyle changes. He has been studying,
    writing and “speaking out” about the effects of nutrition on disease
    for over 30 years. Dr. McDougall is the author of 11 national bestselling
    books, writes a monthly newsletter, and co-founded Dr. McDougall’s
    Right Food’s Inc., a producer of high-quality vegetarian cuisine.
    You may subscribe to the free
    McDougall Newsletter
    . This
    article is the first chapter to Dr. John McDougall’s upcoming book.

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