Thursday, October 22, 2009

Do We Over Test and Treat Prostate and Breast Cancers? American Cancer Society Says Yes!

Even though I have objected to taking the PSA test for years and take the C-Reactive Protein test instead, the doctors compromise and gave me both tests. Both the deadly aggressive breast and prostate cancers grow so fast that taking routine yearly tests do not catch them in time. Only self exams fairly frequently by women trained well at centers to detect growths should be implemented. Most radiologists are not good at reading x-rays well enough to detect breast cancer anyway. Perhaps we could determine what part of the year does deadly breast cancer proceed.

I know one that may prevent many breast and prostate cancers. Several thousand units of Vitamin D3 seems to be necessary because we use sunscreen so much that we don't get vitamin D from the sun. Women should spend 10-15 minutes in the sun between 10 AM and 4 PM in most places. I read in Consumer Reports On Health health letter and can be subscribed at that Vitamin D in present in every tissue in the human body. The body can store two months worth of Vitamin D3 so large amounts of supplements can be taken. Consumer Reports estimated that 10,000 units can be taken daily. For White persons, only about 15 minutes at times but not in the early morning or late afternoons when the sun is not strong enough to produce vitamin D.

States in the Northern half of the USA do not provide enough sun to help us produce enough vitamin D without supplements. Surprisingly New Jersey residents are in the states with the lowest levels of vitamin D. Surprisingly Florida and Oregon get about the same amount of sun and are in the middle range. Oregon has many sunny days during the summer and due to little pollution the sun seems to be very hot and burns fairly quickly without sunscreen.

Scientific studies have shown Vitamin D helps prevent breast, colon, and many other cancers. Even darker people living in the South seem to survive melanoma better than those in the richer South. Too poor to use sunscreen!

The stoppage of allowing the use of menopause hormones to stop hot flashes based on a fraudulent study at Wyeth, previous home of CEO Donald Rumsfeld has greatly and rapidly reduced breast cancer in the last several years. Do not use them.

Jim Kawakami, Oct 21, 2009,

Do We Over Test and Treat Prostate and Breast Cancers? American Cancer Society Says Yes! NY Times Gina Kolata Oct 21, 2009 ... The new analysis — by Dr. Laura Esserman, a professor of surgery and radiology at the University of California, San Francisco, and director of the Carol Frank Buck Breast Care Center there, and Dr. Ian Thompson, professor and chairman of the department of urology at The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio — finds that prostate cancer screening and breast cancer screening are not so different.

Both have a problem that runs counter to everything people have been told about cancer: They are finding cancers that do not need to be found because they would never spread and kill or even be noticed if left alone. That has led to a huge increase in cancer diagnoses because, without screening, those innocuous cancers would go undetected.

At the same time, both screening tests are not making much of a dent in the number of cancers that are deadly. That may be because many lethal breast cancers grow so fast they spring up between mammograms. And the deadly prostate ones have already spread at the time of cancer screening. The dilemma for breast and prostate screening is that it is not usually clear which tumors need aggressive treatment and which can be left alone. And one reason that is not clear, some say, is that studying it has not been much of a priority.

“The issue here is, as we look at cancer medicine over the last 35 or 40 years, we have always worked to treat cancer or to find cancer early,” Dr. Brawley said. “And we never sat back and actually thought, ‘Are we treating the cancers that need to be treated?’ ”

The very idea that some cancers are not dangerous and some might actually go away on their own can be hard to swallow, researchers say.

“It is so counterintuitive that it raises debate every time it comes up and every time it has been observed,” said Dr. Barnett Kramer, associate director for disease prevention at the National Institutes of Health.

It was first raised as a theoretical possibility in the 1970s, Dr. Kramer said. Then it was documented in a rare pediatric cancer, but was dismissed as something peculiar to that cancer. Then it was discovered in common cancers as well, but it is still not always accepted or appreciated, he said.

But finding those insignificant cancers is the reason the breast and prostate cancer rates soared when screening was introduced, Dr. Kramer said. And those cancers, he said, are the reason screening has the problem called overdiagnosis — labeling innocuous tumors cancer and treating them as though they could be lethal when in fact they are not dangerous.

“Overdiagnosis is pure, unadulterated harm,” he said.

Dr. Peter Albertsen, chief and program director of the urology division at the University of Connecticut Health Center, said that had not been an easy message to get across. “Politically, it’s almost unacceptable,” Dr. Albertsen said. “If you question overdiagnosis in breast cancer, you are against women. If you question overdiagnosis in prostate cancer, you are against men.” ...

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