The National Cancer Institute estimates that 38% of women will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. during their lifetime and other scientists predict a much higher percentage. Today, about 600,000 US women are diagnosed with cancer each year. Breast cancer is the leading cause.
Women continue to promote “pink” associated with runs, walks, fund raisers and fashion shows that raise millions of dollars for the “cure”, yet the incidence of breast cancer have been increasing the past 40 years.
On the brighter side, evidence shows that the number of women diagnosed with breast cancer abruptly began falling after the Women’s Health Initiative study in 2002 reported the direct link of the use of synthetic hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to an increased risk of heart disease, breast cancer, dementia, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
Donald Berry at the University of Texas who led the analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine can hardly believe it and states, “But it really looks like it’s a story that holds together.”
Choosing NOT to use HRT is in every woman’s best interest.
Cancer institutions across the country tout new technology for treatments and detection devices while assuring women they are in good hands. Tamoxifen, a very popular drug prescribed to prevent the recurrence of breast cancer promotes uterine cancer, strokes, blood clots and eye disorders. Women are told not to worry because a hysterectomy is a viable solution. Interestingly, Tamoxifen is on the US Government’s list of known human carcinogens.
Chemotherapy, the drug of choice to treat breast cancer as well as others, is thrust upon women and men as the gold standard. Heaven forbid if one refuses. Recently, sixteen year old Abraham Cherrix, who has been battling Hodgkin’s Disease refused a second round of chemotherapy after he became debilitated by three months of the regime. After thoroughly researching their options, he and his parents decided upon an herbal treatment called the Hoxsey method to treat the disease. This enraged the medical establishment. His doctor reported him and his family to the authorities. He was taken from his parents by social workers and the legal system, accusing them of child abuse and neglect because they refused to comply with doctors orders.
Finally after a battle, Abraham and his parents won the right to make a personal choice of treatment. However, the family must report into the courts with updates every three months on his progress. This emotional turmoil is more than any family should endure during this time.
How have we arrived at this point in America where it is illegal to choose our own medical care? Who can fault this family for choosing an alternative option when the outcomes of chemotherapy are dismal at best?
How interesting that a confidential survey taken at Canada’s McGill Center, one of the most prestigious mainstream cancer treatment centers in the world reported that 58 out of 64 oncologists claimed that they would NOT undergo chemotherapy themselves if suddenly faced with a cancer diagnosis of their own. In addition, they would not allow any of their family members to undergo this treatment either.
Why is it that 90.6% of the expert cancer specialists at a world-renowned cancer treatment center would not have anything to do with chemotherapy, even if their lives depended on it? But they have no problem prescribing it to folks like you and me. Their reasoning is that it is ineffective and toxic, it does not work and can hasten death, yet we as consumers have accepted the insidious idea that a toxic chemical will heal us.
Perhaps this analogy puts it in perspective. Using chemotherapy is like trying to kill a mouse in your garage by blowing up the garage. You may kill the mouse, but destroy everything else. This is more of a reason why we need to learn about preventive measures regarding not only breast cancer, but all illness and disease. The informed person has a chance of winning this battle.
Another disturbing study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute reported that adverse events related to chemotherapy and the associated costs may have been underestimated. Women experienced more hospitalizations and emergency room visits for side effects of chemotherapy. Also reported is that only one study has been done to measure the side effects of chemotherapy in the general population! Again, understand this treatment is considered the gold standard and is fully supported by our medical institutions.
Asked why this could be happening, Dr. Michael Hassett, a clinical instructor in medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in Boston said, “There are a number of possible explanations. Clinical trials may not detect all of the side effects that occur. People enrolled in clinical trials may be less likely than those treated in the general community to experience serious side effects of chemotherapy. Clinical trials may not have enough power to detect rare side effects. Or, our study could have overestimated the likelihood of experiencing serious side effects of chemotherapy, because we used hospital bills rather than medical records to identify these events.” Did you get that? This sounds like political/cover your bases psycho babble to me.
There are too many hidden agendas in drug trials today, not to mention the self interests and conflict of interests that exist between scientists, pharmaceutical companies and other big business. He ends with, “Hopefully, women with breast cancer who hear about this study will understand that deciding whether or not to have chemotherapy must be made on an individual basis.” “Women should talk with their doctors about both the benefits and risks of chemotherapy. For women with small cancers, the benefits may not outweigh the risks.”
What can you do to make good choices about health care? Think Prevention…it’s the best cure. Ask questions, use your common sense, and research like your life depended on it. It does! And do not hesitate to consider other options even when others disagree with you.
1. [email protected] August 14, 2006
2. Michael Hassett, M.D., clinical instructor, medicine, Center for Outcomes and Policy Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston; John Erban, M.D., director, breast cancer program, and associate professor, medicine, Tufts New England Medical Center, Boston; Aug. 18, 2006, Journal of the National Cancer Institute
Visit the links below for more information.
www.navi.net/~rsc/chemorad.htm – for information on chemotherapy and oncologists
http://www.whale.to/cancer/kelley/app3.html – for information on the war on cancer
http://www.westonaprice.org/women/mammography.html for information about mammography madness.