Understanding the Mammogram Paradox

Understanding the Mammogram Paradox
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The mammogram paradox is that women who are harmed the most are the ones who claim the greatest benefit.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

While false-positive results, pain during the procedure, and radiation exposure may be among the most frequent harms associated with mammogram screening, “the most serious downside” is now recognized to be something called “overdiagnosis”—so serious as to raise the question: “does it make [the whole thing] worthless?” The value of doing routine mammograms at all is being questioned due to overdiagnosis, which is “the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that would never have become a threat to a woman’s health, or even apparent, during her lifetime.”

See, people “think…that once you have a cancer cell in your body, it will progress, predictably and inevitably, to a terrible death.” And “that[’s] simply not true of most cancers.” “Some cancers [may] outgrow their blood supply,” become starved, and wither away. “[O]thers may be recognized by [our] immune system and…successfully contained, and some are simply not that aggressive in the first place.” Meaning, yeah, it may continue to grow unchecked, but so slowly that it would be like 200 years before it was big enough to cause any problems. And so, in effect, you die with your tumor, instead of from your tumor.

Indeed, if you do autopsy studies of young and middle-aged women who just happened to die in a car accident or something, 20% of them had cancer in their breast. So, like one in five women are walking around with breast cancer. Now, that sounds a lot scarier than it is, since at that age range, the risk of dying from breast cancer is less than 1%. In fact, your risk of ever dying from breast cancer in your lifetime is less than 4%, which goes to show that many of these cancers that they found incidentally—in fact, most of them—would likely have just fizzled out on their own.

The problem is that we continue to have a 19th-century definition of cancer, dating back to the 1860s. See, cancer is defined by what it looks like under a microscope, not by what its subsequent behavior is. So, yeah, using that definition, one in five of these women technically had cancer, like this 30-year-old here. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would go on and do anything.

The question then becomes: if it’s so common, do you even want to know about it? If it’s going to progress and cause a problem, then definitely; catching it early could save your life. But, if it’s never going to grow, if it’s going to remain microscopic, then finding it could actually be bad for you. They’d be like look, you have cancer; we have to treat it—surgery, chemo, radiation—whatever it takes. Then, you’d suffer all the physical effects of treatment, the psychological hell of fearing for your life, all completely unnecessarily, if, in fact, it was never going to cause a problem. That’s overdiagnosis.

These kinds of car accident-type autopsy studies show that between 7 and 39% of women ages 40 through 70 are walking around with tiny breast cancers. 30 to 70% of men older than 60 have prostate cancers, and up to 100% of older adults have microscopic cancers in their thyroid glands. Yet, only point one percent—one in a thousand, ends up suffering or dying from thyroid cancer. Normally, it just sits there, and doesn’t do anything. Likewise, even though the majority of older men may have tiny cancers in their prostates, or a significant number of women in their breasts, the lifetime risk of death or cancer spread is only about 4%. So, if you had a magic wand that could pick up cancer with 100% accuracy, and waved it in front of people, your overdiagnosis rate—the probability that the prostate cancer you’d pick up would have turned out to be harmless—is like 90%, and nearly every single thyroid cancer, and a significant proportion of breast cancer cases. That’s why screening for these cancers can be tricky, or even potentially dangerous, since, in many cases—sometimes most cases—you would have been better off if they had never found it.

Now, this is not true for all cancers. “There is little evidence of overdiagnosis [for] cervical or colorectal cancer,” for example. Those cancers do seem to just keep growing; and so, the earlier you catch them, the better. So, institute Pap smears, and cervical cancer death rates plummet. And, just a single sigmoidoscopy between the ages of 55 and 65 may decrease one’s risk of dying from colorectal cancer by up to 40%—whereas some studies show that even getting mammograms every year don’t appear to reduce breast cancer mortality at all. But, if we assume a 15% drop, and a 30% overdiagnosis rate—which is what most studies have found—then that would mean for every 2,000 women invited for mammograms for 10 years, one will have her life prolonged, and 10 healthy women would be overdiagnosed. In other words, they “would not have had [a] breast cancer diagnosed” if they had skipped screening, but were instead “treated [for breast cancer] unnecessarily.

And, about a thousand would have gotten false alarms, which can be stressful while you wait for the results. But “[t]he harms caused by [becoming a cancer patient unnecessarily can be] lifelong,” and even mean a shorter life. It’s “important to be aware that some of the [needlessly treated] women will die from that treatment.” For example, radiation treatments can’t help but penetrate down into the heart as well, increasing risk of the #1 killer of women: heart disease.

This raises questions about doing routine mammograms, period, as it “converts thousands of healthy women into cancer patients unnecessarily”—some of whom may not make it out alive. Ironically, though, those who do become mammography’s biggest cheerleaders, thinking mammograms saved their life. The mammogram found a cancer you didn’t even know you had, and yeah, the treatment was rough—surgery, radiation, drugs, but it worked; life was saved. Thank God she got that mammogram; you should, too.

Whereas actually, the more likely scenario—in fact, maybe the 10 times more likely scenario, is that the treatment didn’t do anything, since the cancer wouldn’t have hurt you anyway. So, you went through all that pain and suffering for nothing. That’s the crazy thing about mammograms; the people who are harmed the most are the ones who claim the greatest benefit.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: U.S. AIR FORCES IN EUROPE & AIR FORCES AFRICA. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

While false-positive results, pain during the procedure, and radiation exposure may be among the most frequent harms associated with mammogram screening, “the most serious downside” is now recognized to be something called “overdiagnosis”—so serious as to raise the question: “does it make [the whole thing] worthless?” The value of doing routine mammograms at all is being questioned due to overdiagnosis, which is “the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that would never have become a threat to a woman’s health, or even apparent, during her lifetime.”

See, people “think…that once you have a cancer cell in your body, it will progress, predictably and inevitably, to a terrible death.” And “that[’s] simply not true of most cancers.” “Some cancers [may] outgrow their blood supply,” become starved, and wither away. “[O]thers may be recognized by [our] immune system and…successfully contained, and some are simply not that aggressive in the first place.” Meaning, yeah, it may continue to grow unchecked, but so slowly that it would be like 200 years before it was big enough to cause any problems. And so, in effect, you die with your tumor, instead of from your tumor.

Indeed, if you do autopsy studies of young and middle-aged women who just happened to die in a car accident or something, 20% of them had cancer in their breast. So, like one in five women are walking around with breast cancer. Now, that sounds a lot scarier than it is, since at that age range, the risk of dying from breast cancer is less than 1%. In fact, your risk of ever dying from breast cancer in your lifetime is less than 4%, which goes to show that many of these cancers that they found incidentally—in fact, most of them—would likely have just fizzled out on their own.

The problem is that we continue to have a 19th-century definition of cancer, dating back to the 1860s. See, cancer is defined by what it looks like under a microscope, not by what its subsequent behavior is. So, yeah, using that definition, one in five of these women technically had cancer, like this 30-year-old here. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it would go on and do anything.

The question then becomes: if it’s so common, do you even want to know about it? If it’s going to progress and cause a problem, then definitely; catching it early could save your life. But, if it’s never going to grow, if it’s going to remain microscopic, then finding it could actually be bad for you. They’d be like look, you have cancer; we have to treat it—surgery, chemo, radiation—whatever it takes. Then, you’d suffer all the physical effects of treatment, the psychological hell of fearing for your life, all completely unnecessarily, if, in fact, it was never going to cause a problem. That’s overdiagnosis.

These kinds of car accident-type autopsy studies show that between 7 and 39% of women ages 40 through 70 are walking around with tiny breast cancers. 30 to 70% of men older than 60 have prostate cancers, and up to 100% of older adults have microscopic cancers in their thyroid glands. Yet, only point one percent—one in a thousand, ends up suffering or dying from thyroid cancer. Normally, it just sits there, and doesn’t do anything. Likewise, even though the majority of older men may have tiny cancers in their prostates, or a significant number of women in their breasts, the lifetime risk of death or cancer spread is only about 4%. So, if you had a magic wand that could pick up cancer with 100% accuracy, and waved it in front of people, your overdiagnosis rate—the probability that the prostate cancer you’d pick up would have turned out to be harmless—is like 90%, and nearly every single thyroid cancer, and a significant proportion of breast cancer cases. That’s why screening for these cancers can be tricky, or even potentially dangerous, since, in many cases—sometimes most cases—you would have been better off if they had never found it.

Now, this is not true for all cancers. “There is little evidence of overdiagnosis [for] cervical or colorectal cancer,” for example. Those cancers do seem to just keep growing; and so, the earlier you catch them, the better. So, institute Pap smears, and cervical cancer death rates plummet. And, just a single sigmoidoscopy between the ages of 55 and 65 may decrease one’s risk of dying from colorectal cancer by up to 40%—whereas some studies show that even getting mammograms every year don’t appear to reduce breast cancer mortality at all. But, if we assume a 15% drop, and a 30% overdiagnosis rate—which is what most studies have found—then that would mean for every 2,000 women invited for mammograms for 10 years, one will have her life prolonged, and 10 healthy women would be overdiagnosed. In other words, they “would not have had [a] breast cancer diagnosed” if they had skipped screening, but were instead “treated [for breast cancer] unnecessarily.

And, about a thousand would have gotten false alarms, which can be stressful while you wait for the results. But “[t]he harms caused by [becoming a cancer patient unnecessarily can be] lifelong,” and even mean a shorter life. It’s “important to be aware that some of the [needlessly treated] women will die from that treatment.” For example, radiation treatments can’t help but penetrate down into the heart as well, increasing risk of the #1 killer of women: heart disease.

This raises questions about doing routine mammograms, period, as it “converts thousands of healthy women into cancer patients unnecessarily”—some of whom may not make it out alive. Ironically, though, those who do become mammography’s biggest cheerleaders, thinking mammograms saved their life. The mammogram found a cancer you didn’t even know you had, and yeah, the treatment was rough—surgery, radiation, drugs, but it worked; life was saved. Thank God she got that mammogram; you should, too.

Whereas actually, the more likely scenario—in fact, maybe the 10 times more likely scenario, is that the treatment didn’t do anything, since the cancer wouldn’t have hurt you anyway. So, you went through all that pain and suffering for nothing. That’s the crazy thing about mammograms; the people who are harmed the most are the ones who claim the greatest benefit.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: U.S. AIR FORCES IN EUROPE & AIR FORCES AFRICA. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Isn’t that crazy? Now you can understand why I thought it necessary to dive so deeply into this topic, because of such counterintuitive concepts like this. I hope you’re all starting to get a better idea of the pros and cons of cancer screening, with more to come.

This is the eighth in a 14-video series. To watch the first half:

Stay tuned for:

If you can’t wait and want to watch the entire series right now you can stream it for a donation to NutritionFacts.org by going here.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

108 responses to “Understanding the Mammogram Paradox

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  1. Let’s spend more of the resources that are now spent on questionable testing and treatment on lifestyle education, i.e., truly preventive medicine.




    23
    1. I want to throw one wrinkle into the logic of this video and that is lifestyle.

      This video is perfect for people who aren’t eating animal products and don’t have excess growth hormone and don’t have the bad guy gut flora and aren’t having the animal choline and carnitine and aren’t having a high intake of methionine and don’t have the animal viruses or a mouth full of mercury or dead teeth from root canals.

      Does the reality of life change any advice about the issue or was this study done on a true cross section of the women in society?

      My mother who died of cancer at 53 ate chicken and fish all the time and ate microwave popcorn for her favorite snack and had bologna and cheese sandwiches for lunch and maybe an egg mcmuffin type sandwich for breakfast and drank diet cola all day long and that is a typical American lifestyle.

      I would be telling the vegans not to get mammograms for sure, but she probably needed one.

      Not sure that I have the logic straight on that.

      Maybe not, if they are looking at the whole.




      3
      1. LOL!

        I know that your videos simply things, Dr. Greger, because I came here with brain problems and can name all these things about what causes cancer and know the TMAO and about angiogenesis and apoptosis and it has been so easy to learn from you and it might be the toy policemen and bunnies.

        I am so glad you started off in pediatrics.

        You are the vegan Alton Brown of nutrition and I could learn it with half my brain tied behind my back.




        1
    2. Is there something else other than mammogram a lady of 62 should be doing instead?
      I’ve never had a mammogram in my life. I do have an appointment for one coming up but am thinking of canceling it. I think I have a relatively healthy lifestyle.




      0
    1. I noticed Peter C. Gotzsche was listed as well. He was one of the founders of the prestiguous Cochrane Collaboration, and has written an excellent book about Big Pharma—”Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime.”




      7
  2. “Whereas actually, the more likely scenario—in fact, maybe the 10 times more likely scenario, is that the treatment didn’t do anything, since the cancer wouldn’t have hurt you anyway. ”

    Actually it is much worse than “nothing” because the conventional treatments deeply and permanently damage the immune system, increase likelihood of future cancers, and cause all sorts of other side effects depending on the specifics of the treatment(s) used.




    17
  3. Excellent video much appreciated. My doctors are constantly pushing for me to get mammograms it’s to much so I’m at the point now that I can’t go to this
    Doctor anymore because she told me that it’s part of my physical An would t do the blood workout that I asked for until I go for a mammogram. It’s ridiculous
    It’s getting harder and harder to find doctors that will work with you not against you An cause you more stress then it’s worth .




    20
    1. It’s worthwhile to search out a more understanding doctors. You may find a DO more amenable to plant based nutrition than most MDs. Your insurance should cover them just as it does the others.




      7
    2. Thank you Dr Greger for these great series of Videos and I understand Margaret Sims your point of view as I notice in the US general practitioner usually as a yearly annual check up for women provide a referral form for mammogram. I hope the general practitioners keep up with the research and appreciate a patients decision about doing the mammogram.




      3
    3. Doctors being big bullies seems to be an epidemic.

      When I talk to people about their doctors, it is:

      1) They strong arm people arrogantly.
      2). When there really is something wrong, they WONT order the tests or scans.

      I am pondering that, because the number of my friends who thought they had thyroid conditions and couldn’t get a full panel test.

      I know one woman who believed that she had Cancer and brought it up and it was years later when the doctor found out that she was right.

      They won’t listen to people and say things like What have you been listening to Dr Oz?

      3). There aren’t many primary care doctors left anymore, because doctors want to be specialists, so it can take months to get a first appointment. Specialists the first appointment can be even longer, but often you don’t even see them, you see a nurse most of the visits.

      The delay benefitted me when my grandmothers doctor said that her kidneys had failed and that she would need dialysis.

      We had a whole month so I read things like have her drink cranberry juice and other things and she took a new test and the specialist looked at the numbers and said that she would have a greater chance of getting hit by a Mack truck than ever going on dialysis.




      5
  4. I wrote the article below 16 years ago and it still applies to today’s massive corruption of the field of medicine.

    http://www.thelandesreport.com/BreastCancer.htm

    Breast Cancer Money-Go-Round: Pharmaceuticals, Pesticides, and Radiation Cause Breast Cancer, While Wealthy Non-Profits and Feds Protect Industry

    by Lynn Landes 10/23/02

    They’re good girls and boys. Racing for the cure. Crying for the cameras. Sharing their pain. Wearing that crown of thorns like a halo. Nice folks. And aren’t they “better people” for just having “survived” breast cancer?

    Or…are they being played for suckers? Conned by a clever marketing strategy that makes heroes out of victims, and saints out of sinners. Racing for the cure, but running from the cause.

    Most of the well-financed breast cancer organizations make little or no mention of the non-genetic causes of breast cancer. Go to their websites. Read their literature. These organizations don’t focus on the environmental and pharmacological causes of this epidemic because it’s a dank dark alley that leads right to their corporate sponsors.

    “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was established by Zeneca, a bioscience company with sales of $8.62 billion in 1997. Forty-nine percent of Zeneca’s 1997 profits came from pesticides and other industrial chemicals, and 49% were from pharmaceutical sales, one-third (about $1.4 billion’s worth) of which were cancer treatment drugs,” says the Green Guide, a publication of Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet.

    Zeneca also makes Tamoxifen, “a known carcinogen” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). After only a few years of exposure, Tamoxifen can actually cause breast cancer, says a 1999 study from Duke University. “There is strong evidence of Tamoxifen’s toxicity, including high risks of uterine, gastrointestinal and fatal liver cancer,” reports The Cancer Information Network, adding, “The Breast Cancer Prevention Trial (BCPT) conducted by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP) “found that women taking Tamoxifen had more than twice the chance of developing uterine cancer compared with women on placebo.”

    General Electric is a huge global conglomerate that provides all kinds of products and services. GE also owns health clinics that use GE equipment that can expose patients to different types of radiation. GE makes ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and mammography machines – a known cause of breast cancer in younger women. In addition, there are 91 nuclear power plants based on the GE design operating in 11 countries,” says GE on its website. Nuclear power plants are a known source of radiation leakage.

    Radiation is a “complete carcinogen” says Dr. Peter Montegue, in his 1997 5-part series, “The Truth About Breast Cancer.” Montegue writes, “Very few things have the ability to initiate cancer AND promote it AND make it progress. Things that can do this are called “complete carcinogens.” By analyzing 50 years of U.S. National Cancer Institute data, Dr. Jay Gould, director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, Inc., says, “of the 3,000-odd counties in the United States, women living in about 1,300 nuclear counties (located within 100 miles of a reactor) are at the greatest risk of dying of breast cancer.” GE is also a contributor to many efforts to “battle” breast cancer.

    Other corporations, such as Rhone-Poulec, Rohm & Hass, Eli Lilly Novartis, American Cyanamid, and Dupont, have also profiteered from both sides of this manufactured epidemic.

    In addition to these duplicitous industries and their heavily financed non-profit partners-in-deception, is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Its cozy relationship to (and increasing financial reliance on) business and industry through organizations like the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, is a blatant conflict of interest. Not surprisingly, the NIH website for breast cancer research is very similar to research funded by the top breast cancer organizations… it’s all about detection, cures, and genetics. Of the 14 areas of research listed, only 2 studies relate to the links between breast cancer and non-genetic influences. And those studies dismiss the notion of any connection.

    The NIH studies are grossly misleading.

    On June 26, 2002, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, part of NIH) issued a news release that said, “Study Finds No Association Between Oral Contraceptive Use and Breast Cancer For Women 35 and Over.” Actually the study did not include women older than 65 or younger than 35, which begs the question, “Why not?” What also makes this study hard to swallow are the results of the study on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) two weeks later. On July 9, 2002 (and after more than forty years of widespread use) the NIH announced that HRT (low dose estrogen plus progestin), can cause an increase in heart attacks, strokes, blood clots, and …breast cancer.

    So, are we to believe that the low dose estrogen-progestin combination is okay for contraception, but not for menopause?

    Actually, there was no difference between the outcome of those two studies, admitted Dr. Bob Spirtas, of the National Institute of Child Health and Development (part of NIH), in a conversation with this writer. A woman’s risk for breast cancer is 16% higher at the time she is taking oral contraceptives or HRT and for five years after she stops, at which point the risk is 3% or “statistically insignificant,” said Dr. Spirtas.

    Well, that certainly wasn’t the message conveyed by the NIH, which seemed to give oral contraceptives a clean bill of health.

    The NIH has also come to the rescue of the chemical industry. On May 15, 2001, the NIH announced, “DDT, PCBs Not Linked to Higher Rates of Breast Cancer, an Analysis of Five Northeast Studies Concludes.” However, the highly regarded authors of OurStolenFuture.com point out that most studies are flawed, “The problem is that DDE and the commonly-studied most persistent PCBs act as an anti-androgen and anti-estrogens, respectively, not estrogens. Findings that indicate these contaminants are not associated with breast cancer risk are completely irrelevant to the hypothesis that xenoestrogens may induce breast cancer.”

    It’s pretty clear. We’re firing blanks in this “war against breast cancer.” While industries release toxic chemicals, unsafe drugs, and radiation, they also fund government agencies and large non-profits who provide effective “cover” for their devastating activities.

    I call it the Breast Cancer Money-Go-Round.

    Links:

    http://www.thinkbeforeyoupink.org/Pages/PinkPromos.html

    http://www.preventcancer.com/

    http://www.monitor.net/rachel/r571.html

    http://dukemednews.duke.edu/news/article.php?id=354




    23
    1. Actually, after I had a biopsy at UConn Health Center (Farmington, CT), I was told by the radiologist: “Now you’re on the cancer conveyor belt, and you can’t get off it till we say you can.”

      I was immediately reminded of conveyor belts in chicken slaughter houses that I’d seen images off. Quite a telling statement and metaphor.




      13
      1. I can’t even handle reading this sentence. That is the same hospital where a doctor genuinely used the words, “kill her faster” about my grandmother and didn’t care that my family didn’t want to kill her faster.

        When I refused to put her in hospice, her specialists from there dropped her and wouldn’t ever give a prescription for a nebulizer.

        One of the interns saw me in their cafeteria after an ER doctor said he was going to admit her and she immediately contacted people and they refused to admit her.

        Honestly, I didnf see going to the hospital for antibiotics every few months as cruel, because we had such a sweet life together and I wanted one last Christmas and they were so horrible.




        4
  5. Most people know of someone who had aggressive prostate or breast cancer and from diagnosis to death was mere months. Until we can ascertain with some confidence which lesions NEED to be treated (and if in fact we have any treatment that works) there will always be the question of, SHOULD I, from both treating docs and we patients as well. This seems to be the crux and who wants to roll those dice? I have been of the impression that from genotyping, Gleason scores etc, some idea of aggressiveness, and prognosis could be determined. Is this NOT the case?




    5
  6. I really appreciate you pointing out that those who were harmed the most by over-diagnosis and excessive treatment are the loudest proponents of mammograms. Even here, during this series, there are very loud voices from those who cannot pause in their convictions for a moment to analyze the data. I doubt any of us wants to argue with a woman who has survived breast cancer treatment, but it is very wearing not to be able to have these discussions without them bursting in a yelling at us for being ignorant idiots who won’t get mammograms.

    Ironically, this video puts me back in my quandary over whether I should get one last colonoscopy at 60 (I had one at 50).




    9
    1. I also am unsure about another colonoscopy. I had a virtual colonoscopy because I was concerned about the risk of being punctured. A friend of mine experienced this. However, the virtual colonosopy is radiation but there is no anesthesia which is an advantage.




      3
        1. Went to the Cologuard site and it is interesting.

          There are a certain percentage of false positives (13% false positives)

          For false negatives, they say it found 92% of the genuine cancers.

          It only found 42% of the pre-cancers.

          As of March 2017, the list price of Cologuard is $649.

          Medicare and many insurances cover it and it is a stool sample kit sent to your house.

          It sounds interesting.

          There is that 8% gamble of missed Cancer, which maybe people who have family history they might not want to gamble on.

          For the people who tend to skip going to the doctors in the first place, this would be perfect.




          2
          1. The problem is that these tests are not appropriate if you have haemorrhoids – or are menstruating. An Austrian study found that nearly 40% of people undergoing screening had haemorrhoids.
            https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2193201

            Faecal occult blood testing (FOBT) is fairly widely used as first line screening tool in a a number of countries, however, and then people are usually referred for a colonoscopy if the FOBT detects blood. However, Cologard is a bit different and more expensive because it is a type of DNA testing.rather than conventional blood testing

            It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to buy a standard FOBT. They are about $25.in the US I understand.
            https://www.colonoscopyassist.com/Fobt_Test.html




            3
              1. I was going by this data from their web-site and from what another site wrote about it, but the numbers you wrote are also on a different part of the web-site.

                Not sure why the discrepancy.

                https://www.cologuardtest.com/meet-cologuard

                Versus

                https://www.cologuardtest.com/meet-cologuard/how-effective-is-cologuard

                What another site says:

                “Cologuard is a disruptive technology in the war on colon cancer. As a non-invasive frontline screening test, it is FDA-approved and covered by Medicare and an increasing number of commercial payers. In a 10,000-patient clinical trial, Cologuard found 92% of cancers, 42% of pre-cancers and had a specificity of 87%.”




                0
                1. The study resolves the mystery as the wording is precise i.e. depends on the specific type of high risk precancerous polyp.:

                  “The sensitivity for detecting colorectal cancer was 92.3% with DNA testing and 73.8% with FIT (P=0.002). The sensitivity for detecting advanced precancerous lesions was 42.4% with DNA testing and 23.8% with FIT (P<0.001). The rate of detection of polyps with high-grade dysplasia was 69.2% with DNA testing and 46.2% with FIT (P=0.004); the rates of detection of serrated sessile polyps measuring 1 cm or more were 42.4% and 5.1%, respectively (P<0.001). "




                  2
                  1. Thank You David, I wouldn’t have figured that out.

                    I wonder which high risk precancerous polyp is more common?

                    It missing the pre-Cancer does limit its usefulness in my eyes, because you would rather catch it before it is Cancer, but it is something easy enough to do as often as you want, so I guess that balances it.

                    People at high risk could send their stool sample every year if they wanted, where you wouldn’t want to do a colonoscopy or a CT Scan every year.




                    1
        1. The process involves a technician inflating your colon with air and having a series of CT scans taken, front, side, and back. It requires no anesthesia however, it is uncomfortable.  I was in and out in 15 minutes driving myself home.  The prep for the virtual colonoscopy is the same as a regular colonoscopy.  My insurance covered it.  I think if it wasn’t covered the charge was $300- $400.




          0
          1. I also had one a year ago because I did not want anesthesia and doc said I had a “tricky colon”. I am still not sure it was wise given quite a few organs get radiation but the extra risk of puncture convinced me. I had polyps previously so am at higher risk. I don’t think I’ll repeat it in 5 years, which is what was recommended but rely on my now WFP diet.

            The newer machines use less radiation and adjust the dose depending on the size of the patient. Still it’s several years worth of ” natural radiation” in a few minutes. If I were younger, I likely would not have had one …




            2
    2. Why would you want to poke a camera up your fundament if you are fit and well, symptomless and eating and exercising healthily? Why not TRUST your body as opposed to the medical establishment which is hardly a shining beacon of integrity is it?…. and remember no one lives forever. I know Dr Greger makes an exception for colorectal and cervical tumours, but there is a whole minefield of disinformation here he has not yet begun to excavate.




      5
      1. I know this is a few days later, but my husband probably owes his life to one. He had multiple pre-cancerous polyps removed, including a large one that was on the verge. He has had several followups in the past few years and now has almost as low a chance of dying of colon cancer as anyone else. This all occurred ten years ago. I could be taking care of him during late stage cancer treatment at this moment. Trusting his body to take care of itself, even on a WFPB diet, might well have been a death sentence. I do think my situation is different, having been plant-based for 40 years and having one completely clean colonoscopy 9 years ago, but I am very happy that my husband had that colonoscopy when he did.

        A blanket bigotry against all medical tests and treatments is just as problematic as a blanket endorsement of them. Dr. Greger helps us analyze the results, risks, and benefits. Colonoscopies, unlike mammograms, really do discover early cancers and allow complete early removal of precancerous lesions. I’m not sure if they are worth the risk for everyone, or it they are the right test, but let us inquire with open minds.




        1
    3. The video suggests to me that there is a significant difference between the potential benefits / harm of a colonoscopy and the potential benefits / harm of a mammogram.




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    4. The initial screening tests (at least for breast and prostate cancer) aren’t very good at distinguishing from the cancers that might kill you from the ones that won’t. If its an aggressive cancer, there’s a good chance it’s already metastasized in the intervals between screenings.

      For me, it was shocking learning just how little progress has actually been made in treatment of most cancers. With few exceptions, the survival benefit of classic chemo is in the low single percent range. And despite immense R&D, newer drugs seem to offer only marginal gains. As health consumers, I think we credit oncology with the same scale of advance seen elsewhere in medicine last century, such as antibiotics. Whereas the actual treatment benefits are more akin to our chances at the roulette table. So, its not just a question of whether screening picks up cancers before they can become invasive, but our misplaced faith that doing so would make a major difference.




      4
      1. Darryl

        That first article you cited (the low single percent range one from 2004) is not a completely reliable guide, for a number of reasons.

        For example, this 2012 meta analysis of outcomes for women with (early) breast cancer found

        “largely independently of age (up to at least 70 years) or the tumour characteristics currently available to us for the patients selected to be in these trials, some taxane-plus-anthracycline-based or higher-cumulative-dosage anthracycline-based regimens (not requiring stem cells) reduced breast cancer mortality by, on average, about one-third. 10-year overall mortality differences paralleled breast cancer mortality differences, despite taxane, anthracycline, and other toxicities.”
        http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61625-5/fulltext




        1
      2. Darryl

        David Gorski has written a couple of articles which relate to that 2004 study and the 2% rate conclusion it came to. They are worth a read. However for some reason, they won’t post here. One is on the sciencebasedmedicine.org website and the other on his respectfulinsolence.com bog

        There’s another analysis which also discussed this study although it is based on Gorski’s analysis and the breast cancer study published in the Lancet

        http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/columnists/opinion-those-who-attack-chemotherapy-are-doing-a-disservice




        0
    5. I was very dismayed by these comments as I do not feel they advance the discussion at all

      “ I doubt any of us wants to argue with a woman who has survived breast cancer treatment” Really? Why not? While undergoing cancer treatment I told very few people because I quickly discovered a huge bias ou there where people either pity you or become terribly awkward. I welcome an argument and healthy debate – you should welcome an argument from a perspective and life experience different from your own as well. My cancer experience doesn’t define me and i don’t appreciate being branded or put into a group you do not wish to have a conversion with. Ouch!

      “ it is very wearing not to be able to have these discussions without them bursting in a yelling at us for being ignorant idiots who won’t get mammograms.” Did I miss the yelling and insults on this thread? We grow from discussions with people who have different opinions. Grouping all cancer survivors together, labelling them all as angry and aggressive and then putting on blinders and covering your ears to everything they have to say, will not make anyone in this community wiser.




      4
    1. To me the message in this video series looks rather clear. For the majority of women, getting a mammogram seems a gamble with the odds stacked against you at over 10 to 1. For every woman saved, at least another dies, from over-diagnosis and over-treatment, with 10 healthy women having the quality of their lives severely impacted and shortened by years through undergoing a nightmare of unnecessary and grossly harmful treatments – having their breasts removed, their bodies damaged by radiation and poisoned by chemotherapy, and more than likely, their bank accounts emptied.

      For women who worry about the possibility of breast cancer, especially for women who know they have increased risk, rather than waiting until they have something doctors can diagnosis and then statistically can only harmfully and ineffectively treat, it makes far better sense to prevent the problem in the first place, by eating a diet the research shows will do so. And for the “7 and 39% of women ages 40 through 70” already walking around with tiny breast cancers, can not only keep them from developing, but can boost the bodies immune system responses to even kill and eliminate them (https://nutritionfacts.org/video/how-plant-based-to-lower-igf-1/ http://nutritionfacts.org/video/starving-cancer-with-methionine-restriction/ ) while having a host of other very positive and healthful side effects.

      And if a woman did have the aggressive type, do we have any evidence that conventional treatment would actually help women who have the aggressive type rather than harm them? As Dr. Greger pointed out in this video, the successes claimed by the cancer industry may in fact consist of healthy women unnecessarily treated who managed to survive:

      “This raises questions about doing routine mammograms, period, as it “converts thousands of healthy women into cancer patients unnecessarily”—some of whom may not make it out alive. Ironically, though, those who do become mammography’s biggest cheerleaders, thinking mammograms saved their life. The mammogram found a cancer you didn’t even know you had, and yeah, the treatment was rough—surgery, radiation, drugs, but it worked; life was saved. Thank God she got that mammogram; you should, too.

      Whereas actually, the more likely scenario—in fact, maybe the 10 times more likely scenario, is that the treatment didn’t do anything, since the cancer wouldn’t have hurt you anyway. So, you went through all that pain and suffering for nothing. That’s the crazy thing about mammograms; the people who are harmed the most are the ones who claim the greatest benefit.”

      As best I can tell looking at the research, while surgery might prove useful, even women diagnosed with aggressive breast cancers have far better odds not only of surviving, but of wholly regaining their health, through making radical changes in their diets and lifestyles than by subjecting themselves to radiation or chemotherapy.




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      1. Incidentally, I highly recommend that anyone diagnosed with cancer check out Dr. Kelly Turner’s Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds, book, ( https://radicalremission.com/about/the-book/), and read it cover to cover, the sooner after diagnosis the better, although anytime seems good. Hope and inspiration can become in very short supply for people diagnosed with cancer once the cancer industry has gotten hold of them, where forcing patient compliance through fear, intimidation, and misinformation seems the rule. This book can provide a much needed infusion of hope and inspiration to those who have desperate need for them, and includes inspirational accounts both from those who chose alternative treatments alone and survived, and those who chose conventional treatments in combination with alternative modalities and survived.

        Building on previous work and going a few steps farther, Dr. Turner collected additional validated accounts of extraordinary healings from cancer, and then analyzed these accounts by actually asking the individuals involved what they had done. In her work she makes no apologies for focusing on individuals with extraordinary healing outcomes, and on the strategies they used to achieve such outcomes. These stories do not just seem anecdotal, which to doctors sometimes seems a synonym for unreliable or possibly invented accounts, but factual reports of extraordinary outcomes supported by full medical documentation.

        Regardless of whether patients chose conventional or alternative modalities, Dr. Turner found that almost all patients who experienced extraordinary outcomes made use of these nine key factors:

        1. They radically changed their diets; 2. Took control of their health; 3. Followed their intuition; 4. Used herbs and supplements; 5. Released suppressed emotions; 6. Increased positive emotions; 7. Embraced social support; 8. Deepened their spiritual connection, and 9. Had strong reasons for living.




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        1. Good post. It is a powerful hex, the cancer diagnosis and the insistence that the patient must submit absolutely to the authority of the medical profession to determine the treatment, OR DIE. Until of course it has all run its course and what profit is there to be made has been made, and recovery applauded, or the patient has become a shameful thing by refusing to respond to the cuts and pills and various other savageries. So many so called incurables are spat out, told to go home and make their peace with the world… and many do just that, roll over and die. A few do not, but it is wretched witchery.




          5
          1. Dr. Turner’s book has a number of accounts of radical remissions of those treated by conventional medicine, and then spat out as incurables, and then sent home to die. For example, check this one out: http://amazawa.me/2016/08/10/shin-terayama-cured-himself-of-incurable-cancer-sent-love-to-his-cancer-cells/

            For me, these radical remission seem the real miracles, as they not only had to heal from a cancer, but to do this with bodies severely weakened and damaged by the conventional cancer treatments that they had undergone. Which goes to show the incredible potential healing capacity of our bodies, if only we give then what they need to heal, AND stop doing what makes them sick.




            4
        2. alef1, “focusing on individuals with extraordinary healing outcomes” is like focussing on healthy centenarians and asking how they managed to live so long; their answers vary all over the map, from an egg a day to a shot of bourbon and a cigar every evening. My guess is that their longevity is based on good genes, a good socioeconomic background, and a healthy dose of luck. The same is true for surviving cancer; there have been amazing stories of patients with metastatic cancer going into remission, on their own, or after treatment. These are all anecdotes — personal stories — they are not data and scientific evidence. And they don’t apply to most of us. That’s where research comes into play, hopefully to discover what will help most of us.




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          1. Dr. J –

            I suggest that you read the book before putting her meticulous research results into the same category as accounts by centenarians who claim they reached an advanced age by drinking a shot of whiskey every day or by smoking cigars.. The strategies used by cancer survivors did not vary all over the map, but showed very strong patterns.

            And for the record, even Medscape, the mainline online newsletter for conventional medicine, gave her book a very positive review, and took her research results seriously:

            Radical Remissions: Cancer Patients Who Defy the Odds
            by Roxanne Nelson Medscape July 08, 2014 See https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/827945 (3 pages)

            Ann excerpt: “These were primarily case studies, but there was no information about how the patient managed to survive, she noted. “No one had asked the patients what they had done to heal,” Dr. Turner explained.

            Most of the cancer survivors she interviewed reported that their doctors never asked what, if anything, they were doing that might be helping them. They also said that no one was keeping track of them.

            She specifically studied 3 categories of cancer patients: those who healed from their disease without the use of any standard/conventional medicine; those who were treated with standard therapy and, when it failed to work, tried other treatments that did help; and those who used conventional and alternative medicine at the same time to overcome a very serious prognosis (i.e., any cancer that has a 5-year survival rate below 25%, such as advanced lung or pancreatic cancer).

            “Everyone has seen cases like this in their practice,” Dr. Turner said, “yet few have ever investigated them.”

            One reason for that, she believes, is that physicians simply don’t have the time and can’t explain it. Another is that oncologists might not want to instill false hope in patients with advanced disease. Still, those are not good reasons to ignore these cases. “It is not only scientifically irresponsible, it is also foolish, since there is the potential to learn so much about how the body heals,” she said.

            Of the cases that she reviewed, about 85% have no evidence of disease on their medical charts. About 15% still have cancer, but their tumors have shrunk and have remained stable for years.”




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            1. alef1, I meant to ask you: Did Dr. Turner include a control group in her book? Did she discover what patients who didn’t survive did or did not do? Because it is possible that they, too, made use of the 9 factors you listed. Without a control group, there is no way of knowing if these factors were possibly contributing to remissions or not.

              It reminds me of the hypothesis that those cancer patients with a positive attitude fared better than those without, but later studies showed that wasn’t true. But not after many cancer patients felt coerced (“browbeaten”) by their medical care professionals to adopt a “positive attitude,” because it would help them “beat cancer.” (I know some of these people.) A similar scenario occurred for support groups.

              And then there are the stories of people who “did everything right,” healthy diet, exercise, good social support, purpose in life, etc etc but who still were diagnosed with heart disease or cancer; I know of a few, through friends. They felt betrayed. And their stories would tend to negate the benefit of the 9 factors you mentioned.

              Moreover, a diagnosis of cancer is not necessarily a death sentence; many people live a long time afterward, and die of other causes. My mother was one; she had 3 diagnoses of cancer in her life (in her mid 30s, mid 50s, late 70s), and died in her early 90s of other causes. (She did undergo treatment for all of them.) The statistics of cancer survival rates are really interesting. And cancer is not one disease, but a whole population of diseases. Even breast cancer is a huge group of different cancers; some are more aggressive than others, and some late stage cancers appear to spontaneously go into remission — but which ones?

              btw, an anecdote is defined as “a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.” The stories of cancer patients who appear to beat the odds are certainly interesting — fascinating, even — but without any control groups, or better yet actual tests, they remain anecdotes. Which is not derogatory; they can suggest further studies, but by themselves they are not conclusive.




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      2. There’s another relevant concern here concerning surgery that may follow screening tests, and eg colonoscopies, where anaesthesia is used. That is the risk of eg brain damage from anaesthetic drugs.. I remember seeing a number of reports over the years of hypoxemia following anaesthesia.

        “Despite advances in monitoring technology, hypoxemia continues to occur commonly in the operating room and may be a serious safety concern because of its potential impact on end organ function and long-term outcomes. Further studies are needed to improve our understanding of the clinical impact of intraoperative hypoxemia and the strategies that will be most useful in minimizing its occurrence.”
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991088/

        As well as young children, older people appear to be at higher risk of adverse effects including an increased risk of dementia
        https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20010/risk_factors_and_prevention/487/general_anaesthetics
        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/this-is-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-go-under-anaesthesia-a6725386.html

        In the case of colonoscopies, anaesthesia appears to be associated with a greater risk of complications anyway
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4887133/

        Returning to the specific concern about brain damage, this below is just from an abstract (the full article is behind a paywall) but it outlines some of the concerns that exist
        “An increasing number of clinical and experimental observations, however, suggest that anaesthetic drugs, especially when they are administered at the extremes of age, can trigger long-term morphological and functional alterations in the brain.”
        https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn.2016.128

        There is apparently an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and pneumonia in at-risk people undergoing general anaesthesia as well but I don’t have any specific references at hand.
        http://www.sagahq.org/images/AnesthesiaLayVersion.pdf

        I also have concerns about the affects of sedation and regional anaesthesia but haven’t looked at these in detail although I have seen breie references to them in some papers.
        https://patient.info/doctor/important-complications-of-anaesthesia

        All in all, I’d suggest that older people in particular should avoid all procedures that require anaesthesia – and especially prolonged anaesthesia – unless there is a clear need and a personal risk-rewards assessment has been undertaken.




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        1. Timely reminder. We all know older people who recovered from operations with significant impairments that were then often casually discounted by medical staff as simply part and parcel of what to expect. It was reported in the beginning as specific to those operations that might interfere with blood supply to the brain but has long since morphed into a by product of anaesthesia generally…. like the depression often experienced which has led to changes in anaesthetic practices. And then there is the risk of blood clots- which seems to have ballooned (poor pun) in recent years- possibly as a result of blood clotting treatments used to minimise risk of bleeds-  or more like, enable hospitals to get a quicker turn around to free up beds. Finally, hospital acquired infections…..




          3
    2. Live the best life you can, eat right and exercise well and be kind to your body, not anxious to invade it with cameras and radiation and various toxins.




      4
  7. Wow!

    This video is so powerful and so important that it makes me want to give you a standing ovation!

    If I do my own version of cherry picking, this is the one I would put in the must see from this series.




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  8. I have to add though, that women who found aggressive breast cancers are going to not know even how to emotionally process this at all and I would like to give all of the women a big hug right now, because it is so confusing that they couldn’t possibly understand it and someone needs to acknowledge their feelings, because I am devastated for them.

    There has been a lot of talk about Paleo and Keto in the discussions on this board and the people doing those diets often come from MS and brain damage and they are so emotionally invested in those diets, because it “saved their lives” or “healed their brain damage” and they are emotionally invested in those programs and are literally dripping in passion for it. I know more than one person who have changed careers and bought farms to raise grass fed animals. People who can suddenly walk again, like Dr. Wahls are so emotional about it.

    And, yes, I am here at the WFPB Vegan channel and am applauding all of it, but I have such a heart for people for how confusing it really all is and I have a heart for how emotionally invested people are in what they are doing.

    Dr. Wahls herself isn’t some demon. She is a woman who couldn’t sit up in a chair and who discovered that she could heal her mitochondria rather quickly and ride a bike ten miles in 6 weeks, similar to the gains Dr. Greger’s grandmother had.

    Yes, I know that vegan can do more than that, but that is why I never got upset with Jerry Lewis.

    I genuinely understand him and I understand the women who found cancer becoming cheer leaders for mammograms.

    I took a course called “Persuasion” in college and the professor talked about the mechanism of how people would get emotionally invested and that group finds it so hard to change their minds, because of how their brains become hard wired even toward a belief system and the more they suffer for the belief system, the more invested they become.




    3
    1. The emotional investment comes in on the back of a repressed anger at what is experienced as self denial. People deny themselves their pleasures in the expectation of a greater reward, and no one is going to be allowed to rob them of that reward or trash it, because that is not fair. Hence the constant demands for reassurance.

      This is not how to look at life.

      I follow the vegan WFPB diet because it has had a miraculous effect on my health right in the here and now, although to get here I had to ruthlessly exclude all junk. I am not doing it despite it making me ill, or in a state of repressed anger at what I am denying myself, all on the back of the promise that by enduring this suffering I will avoid being ill/dying in the future. What a terrible Damocles sword to hang over the head.

      If the diet started to make me sick I would stop or modify it or whatever. So if Jerry feels wonderful eating his steak, good for him, although I do not know why he feels the need to come on this board seeking to undermine other people’s different choices. Maybe he is not as sure as he would like to be. Maybe his body knows more than he can bring himself to admit, about what is going on inside it.




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    2. She may not be vegan, but Note- Dr. Wahls starts with 3 full platefuls of vegetables and fruit!
      Absolutely no processed foods of any kind either. She certainly has some things right.




      1
      1. I agree Marilyn!

        My friends and relatives who can’t go vegan can at least get healthier.

        When Dr Greger showed the Standard American Diet minimum requirements of 1 serving of fruit and 1 leaf of a leafy green, etcetera what I know is that 95 or 96 percent of Americans couldn’t meet that minimal criteria.

        I said on this site once that I went decades without eating one lentil and years without eating even one serving of fruit, but that was probably decades, too. I am going to guess that it might have been thirty years that I didn’t eat fruit, except for maybe orange juice when I ate breakfast at diners, which wasn’t often, because I skipped breakfast or grabbed a coffee more than anything.

        I have turned it completely around now, but it is like turning a train where the five percent of people who grew up almost plant based just have a little process.

        I don’t blame the government for not resetting the standard when almost nobody can reach their minimum levels.




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    3. Deb, I appreciate your concern, but when you wrote about women with aggressive breast cancer you said that information “is so confusing that they couldn’t possibly understand it.” I think that you underestimate most women. My sister was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer — 8 months after a “clear” screening mammogram, she found a lump — and she was able to process as much information as she could find. She even participated in several clinical trials. All this despite knowing that our young aunt — 1 year older than my sister and 5 years older than me — died at age 38 from a similarly aggressive breast cancer.

      I blame various cancer organizations (e.g., the American Cancer Society) for having extensively used fear as a marketing tool to stampede potential patients into screening programs. And yet, I hear or see very little from these same organizations on how to prevent cancer. At best, they pay brief lip service to “lifestyle changes” with little to no solid information and while waving their hands — then focus on soliciting donations for treatments and screening.

      My position is: the more information, education, and outreach, the better. Women are very wise; let’s not denigrate their rational abilities. It may be necessary to modify the message, but not to keep silent about it.




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      1. Dr J. I agree with you about prevention and information. I am wondering if you don’t find it confusing, because you are a Dr and in whole food plant based?

        I am sitting at dinners with radical Keto people and radical Paleo and people who sell shakes and Atkins and I am the only Vegan and am newly Vegan. As far as Cancer goes, not one of the people around me know this information and not one of them knows the types of things I have read on sites like Chris Beats Cancer and I didn’t until I searched inside and out and it might have been my brain problems, but I was utterly confused between Gerson and Budney and whether the enzyme study was a faulty study or not and I looked at Dr. Axe and he was treating his mother with essential oils and everybody everywhere had a different home remedy and the Mayo Clinic and other sites disagrees with all of it and I watched the PH Miracle Doctor and found that he went to prison and got confused in one direction, then the other direction. I watched the Rife Frequencies videos and whether PEMF kills cancer cells and whether Cancer cells can survive an electromagnetic field studies from Israel and this persons zappers and that persons zappers and clinics in Mexico versus doctors in America versus the Green smoothie woman.

        I know it might not be confusing to you, but my mother died from Cancer at 53 and she didn’t get a mammogram and I am not mad at Dr. Greger for putting up the real statistics and I am not mad at all of the press over the years for calling chicken lean meat and for recommending eggs, then saying to not eat them, then saying to eat them, then saying to not eat them and doing the same thing between butter and margarine and every oil out there.

        It may be more that I have been on web site after web site from every every every direction and the arguments are fierce and people are authoritative from every direction and on top of that the local doctors I have met have been bullies and Cancer doctors get money from pushing things like chemotherapy and I could go on and on and on about the supplements I have taken and Dr. Greger saying that they don’t even have the ingredients or might kill you.

        I DO find it so confusing and also acknowledge that I am coming off a mental breakdown from nutritional deficiency so severe that someone smart, like you talks and I don’t know if you will be the smarter one or Dr. Oz or Dr. Axe or Dr______________.

        I like the researchers is my honest confession.

        I like the numbers in front of me and then I can make a decision and know I did my best.

        My mother was choosing based on the information back then and she did her best with what she knew.

        She died before the good chemotherapy for breast cancer came along. 1998




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        1. And I wrote all that and re-read it and it sounds intense, but I am not intense on the inside.

          I don’t know how to explain things and that is a brain problem.

          I have literally hundreds of bottles of supplements and have swallowed so many glasses of carrot juice and got sick on flax oil even after I happily found quark at my grocery store. I almost paid thousands for a water PH system and pondered structured water and almost paid thousands for different frequency machines and all sorts of things, but I kept going and going and going and got here and Dr. Greger just reads the actual words of studies and that is like being on vacation. My brain isn’t spinning right now. It is learning.

          And I already did every TED Talk on Cancer and learned about how hard it is to starve it with Keto, and heard the counter-arguments to PH and they are all so smart and I am not interested in smart. I am interested in research studies.




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          1. I think Camcer is such a culture war and people talk about greed and conspiracy and doctors tell people not to even look at the Internet and I don’t blame them for that, because it might cause people to not listen to them.

            To me it is confusing enough that I pondered

            do I buu Blood Root?
            do I do hyperthermia?
            Do I buy Laetrile or did someone have a logic for banning it?
            Do I get my fillings removed and my dead teeth pulled?

            There are hundreds of foods and pills and essential oils and gadgets and places to fly to.

            And web md and American Cancer Society and Cancer Turur all have their own logic.

            And I am a Christian and had to decide do I fly to Mexico or To churches with healing ministries or watch Benny Hinn episodes.

            I don’t even think I could write enough responses to get across how complicated it really is and most people that I know don’t even have enough money for their insurance and doctors bills not to mention their medications and this gets expensive in every direction possible.

            Organic food is expensive, but it is better than worrying about whether Roundup or something in my rice or tea might be giving me Cancer.




            1
            1. Sorry that I have written circles around everybody.

              Clearly I am passionate about all of this.

              I genuinely have pondered all of it from the latest things in medicine the vaccines and the uses of laser and there are treatments which aren’t as scary to me which might make it to the hospitals some day.

              Right now it seems easier to not have growth hormone and not have methionine and also not have sugar and throw in intermittent fasting and all the fruits and veggies and beans and nuts in the highest Cancer killing range and as much Matcha as I can afford, but that is expensive for the better tasting stuff too.

              Sorry again, I know this series is so personal to me and so emotional.

              Dr Gregers grandmother lived for decades more. My mother died at 53.




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      2. Not to cause an uproar but this is so what I think about vaccines too- there are legitimate concerns out there about vaccines (and I’m not even anti-vax!) and the biggest tool we have to get people vaccinated is fear (everyone will die if you don’t get vaccinated) and shame (everyone will die and it will be your fault). There is no room to say “we want better, safer, well studied vaccines” before we do an irreversible procedures…. and is there room to say “we want a better, safer, and well studied” screenings and prevention for breast cancer?




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  9. Shame on you! Your facts are flawed about slow going breast cancers. Breast cancer in young women are usually quite aggressive and often deadly. Breast cancer is also more common in certain ethnic women. I will never forget the case of a 26 yr. old mother who died because she did not follow up with the recommended specialist after her abnormal mammogram. You should be advocating for improvement of the procedure not eliminating the procedure. In addition, the breast tissue needs to be flattened as much as possible during a mammogram (that’s why is hurts some women-sometimes) because that gives the physician reading it the best opportunity to assess for abnormalities.




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    1. Nancy, I am so sorry to hear about the 26 years old.

      I don’t think Dr. Greger needs to be ashamed for reading these studies and showing them to us, but I do agree with you that there has to be a different process, because there is the 1% of women who will die if they don’t have any process at all and that is way too large.

      The fact other women are dying and getting disfigured is also unacceptable.

      In light of that, I am pondering what type of a process I would recommend to a young woman who has a family history of cancer, particularly if they live in a toxic environment and eat a toxic diet.

      Having thermography as a baseline to get rid of the radiation risk seems reasonable and maybe having a process where if something shows up, monitoring it to see if it is growing or shrinking and doing a vegan process during that time period to get rid of the growth hormone and things like that, instead of jumping straight into treating it, might be a middle ground position about it. Maybe? I am not sure, but I know it has to be utterly devastating to be a mother or patient or a doctor who has to make these decisions.

      His series has helped me understand more than I did before and we have to not be afraid of these studies. We need to have a big picture to know how to act.




      2
  10. Wow! This is the best video so far of the series. Thank you SO MUCH for presenting this research.

    I am hoping that the Doctor will discuss family history. My grandmother (supposedly?) had breast cancer in the 50s and she had a mastectomy. The surgeon crudely removed a huge part of her arm, as well – she could barely lift her arm after that, and it was so disfigured she wore long sleeves for the next 50 years. Afterward the doctor said “I’m pretty sure you had breast cancer”.

    I am wondering if that constitutes a family history of breast cancer on my part, and if so, should that affect my screening decisions. My mother is 65 and very healthy. No sisters or aunts.




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    1. Jen, I am so sorry to hear that your family went through that.

      These videos are giving you a way to start thinking it through.

      My thought is that my logic on just about everything has been swayed in one direction, then another by the logic of different speakers, and I suspect it is like steering a raft down a stream, you might err in one direction or the other sometimes, and that is what “Medicine” itself keeps doing, so I can’t expect us lay people to not do it, too.




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  11. Finally!! This is exactly what I’ve been thinking for years!! My doctor and I debate this topic every time I go in because I haven’t had a mammogram in 5 years. I told him that I bet if you checked the breasts of women who died of other causes, you’d probably find cancers.

    Personally, I did have a tiny “something” that they had me wait 6 months and then come back for another mammogram and another ultrasound, only to find that it had disappeared (thankfully!). And you are totally correct in referring to the waiting period as “psychological hell”!!




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  12. Great video: thank you
    Many of the articles are by Dr H Gilbert Welch
    Dr Welch has lectured several times locally at hour hospital in Maine as he teaches over at Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire
    The outcomes research they do there is extremely important.
    Too often people ignore the science and go for screening without getting risks and benefits explained (and even then will go for the screening)
    Humans are not good at estimating risk




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  13. Medical business strategy uncovered:

    1 Exaggerate the benefits and downplay the risk

    2 Educate to believe cancer is equal to death

    3 “If death happens it wasn’t me, but if it did not happen it was me.”

    4 Bring more customers




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  14. Death from medical intervention (iatrogenesis) is the third leading cause of death in the United States; going to the doctor can be very dangerous.

    Instead, purchase a quantity of each of the most anti-inflammatory spices and herbs* (Atlantic Spice Company has bulk spices; very inexpensive by the pound. Peruse Ebay for the herbs.)

    Buy as well a quantity of powdered Turkey Tail and Reishi mushroom (Ebay items as well.)

    Combine it all, in equal parts, along with 1:250 parts peperine for potentiation. Mix half-teaspoon of the combination into kumbucha with a squirt of hemp seed oil and mix with a milk frother. Drink twice per day.

    Drink it. Live a long and healthy life.

    *Allspice, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin seed, ginger root, mustard seed, nutmeg, sumac, turmeric. Also white pine bark, amla, acai, gogi, and knotweed powder.




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  15. I’m extremely grateful for Dr. Greger’s well-reasoned argument. Knowledge is powerful, especially when one is dealing with an invasive ductal carcinoma, as I am. The whole food, planted-based diet is simply amazing. I got the results of my blood work yesterday and the doctor was impressed. I chose not to have radiation therapy because of the dangers that have been pointed out.

    Thank you for the productive discussion!




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    1. Nancy, I am impressed by your good attitude and that you are handling this in an empowered way.

      Glad that your doctor was impressed.

      That is great news.




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      1. Thank you for your generous comments, Deb. Dr. Greger has inspired me to “put his observations to the test” in the nutritional choices I make each day. Thus far I’ve lost forty pounds and have much more energy.




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          1. Dr. Kadish,

            Your encouragement and support are very much appreciated! There’s so much to be thankful for, especially the natural healing agents of sunlight, fresh air, nature, living water, and our connection with others. This video series has been a blessing for me.




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    2. It is good to hear that your doctor is being supportive and that you are finding support in the whole food plant based community.

      Dr. Ornish talks a lot about how it is healthier to have the human connection and have support.

      What I found interesting about this series is that suddenly the women came out of the woodwork.

      A lot of women are dealing with these issues.

      I had symptoms of breast cancer and a mother who died from it at the same age that I got the symptoms.

      I literally flooded my body with every single nutrient I could find a study on.

      My refrigerator always has broccoli sprouts and kale and cabbage and onions and garlic and I have a new respect for Brussel Sprouts..

      My pantry always has turmeric and Matcha tea and Dandelion root and leaf tea and walnuts and pecans and peanuts.

      My water is often alkaline with a hint of lemon

      And, yes, I had several symptoms of Cancer and Diabetes and Thyroid problems go away and I am still working on brain issues.

      It has been fun, not at all scary, maybe because I refused to get any diagnoses, but I did it intentionally, because when I watched the community which was using whole food plant based talking about reversing their stage 4 cancers, they were all laughing and smiling and I wanted that.




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      1. Deb, what is “a symptom” of cancer? Is it a diagnosis? If not, it doesn’t mean anything. You can have cancer with no symptoms. or lots of symptoms which don’t mean cancer. Or symptoms which do mean cancer.

        And even untreated diagnosed cancer doesn’t necessarily kill the patient right away. A family member was first treated for lymphoma, then 6 months later diagnosed with kidney cancer, which he chose not to treat. His doctor estimated he had 2 years to live; he survived more than 4 years, and just recently passed away from what appears to be metastatic cancer — which he also chose not to treat.




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  16. I laugh, because I started with the enzyme pills and juicing (ad nausea) and other protocols like flax seed oil and quark and all sorts of things, but I got here and got rid of most of the supplements (and the cost of them) and will never drink flax seed oil or coconut oil ever, ever, ever again. Hallelujah!

    In the course of a year, of avoiding doctors in the natural, I have read every doctor that I can find on the internet about every subject, but there has yet to be a site that I enjoy as well as this site.

    Kudos, Dr. Greger!




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  17. Thank you Dr Gregor for this series. I had a radial scar diagnosed after a ultrasound for a palpable lump. I had two biopsies which both came back as benign. I never did a mammagram but they are pushing me to get it removed and to have a mammagram even after the benign diagnosis. Apparently it can hide a small cancer or increase my chances of getting breast cancer in the future. I cannot find any definite research on studies either way as to whether it does incease your chances as the studies seem to conflict each other. I suppose my question is am i someone who falls into the overdiagnosis category? The psychological stress i have had through this has been the worse of my life. I am 38 years old and have a healthy plant based diet. I do have silver fillings but am in the process of getting them removed. I am unsure as to what to do. I do not have any breast cancer symptoms except for this lump and pain since having the biopsies. I am not asking anyone to tell me what to do but if you have any helpful advice or links i would appreciate it.




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    1. Sam, I am so sorry for the situation that you find yourself in.
      Did you find this lump from a self examination? There is now a retreat from the push to get all women routinely to examine their breasts.  The message from Dr Greger relates to the benefits of not opening the lid to see if the cat is in the box, but in your case  you know there is a lump and it has been messed with (the biopsies etc). And now you can even feel it. Once symptoms have manifested the mindset, and the effect of that on the body, changes. If you decide to do nothing out of fear of the consequences of intervention, ask yourself, would you sit on your hands for weeks months years scared stiff, prodding yourself from time to time  forever thinking that any malaise meant not only that it was cancerous after all, but that it had spread to some other organ? The success stories for those who do go down the alternative route often relate to people who have followed the standard treatment model as far as it will take them and have been booted off that bus by their own medics. They have nothing lose and that is liberating for them.  All I can tell you is what I hope I would do in your case. Embrace a radical change in your lifestyle (there are bound to be some self sabotaging practices in which you still indulge, root them out) adopt interventional fasting- one day a week, say, nothing but water) and treat that as your treatment, and do not continue to probe the body for signs that all is either OK or is not. If that does not feel right for you, have the courage to override all pressures to the contrary including those on this board, and go down the medical interventionist route knowing you made that decision yourself on the basis of what felt right at that time for you. Own that choice. Do not make it anyone else’s responsibility and potential fault or liability. Try to develop some trust in yourself and your own continual self healing. Make your life worthwhile, every moment of it that you currently enjoy and remember there is only the day that is today for anyone. Life span is an artefact of memory. Life ends just as it began- in a mystery.




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      1. Thank you so much Gillian. Your advice was very helpful. I did find the lump through self examination and really wish i hadn’t due to all the stress it has caused and of course all the medical intervention. I am continuing on your health journey and healing. I am doing everything recommended on this site but have moments of doubt but am working on that. Thanks again.




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  18. I have become aware of this problem recently and actually am quite confused by my medical professional I see. My mom died from stage 4 Ovarian cancer, so of course they wanted to test me for the BRACA gene, yes I have the BRACA2 mutation. So they want me to get checked every 6 months!! Rotating from Mammogram to Breast MRI. It scares me to believe those tests are much worse than having the gene. They talked me into having a Full hysterectomy at the age of 41. and wanted me to get a double mastectomy. After listening to Dr. Gregers video I am wondering If I should just forget all the tests and see what happens or continue the tests.




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    1. Not to tell you what to do, but to give you hope–have you heard the saying, “Diet trumps genes”? (Google it and read….)
      For example, take a look at this:
      http://www.adventisthealth.tv/twins-demonstrate-diet-trumps-genes/

      Also, if you have not read it, please read “The China Study.” I have been at risk of cancer all of my adult life, and in fact, got it and was treated in 2001. Now I am afraid I’ll get it again from the treatment, but these two things I share with you have given me much hope–and plenty to do! :D

      Best!




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      1. Thank you for replying, I have read the China Study. Great book! I have not heard Diet trumps genes. Itleast that I recall. I hope you stay out of any more issues with cancer. I will just realize worrying about it will not help, and enjoy my WFPB lifestyle.




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  19. Deeply disturbing and thought provoking.

    As someone who was diagnosed under the age of 50 through mammogram with a very aggressive form of breast cancer that was stage 1a (so it was tiny and hadn’t spread) and was subsequently treated with 12 rounds of chemo, 2 surgeries, 14 months of monoclonal antibody infusions and 25 rounds of radiation I feel very conflicted about all of this.

    On the one hand, I am grateful to have been diagnosed and potentially saved from death both for myself and for my family and children. On the other hand, I have often wondered whether it was “overkill” and whether in fact my body would have been able to heal itself. One thing is for sure, no one will ever know the answer to that question; but what I do know is that I today cancer free and because of that, I feel I did what was right for me and my family.




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  20. Hi! Has anyone read about asparagine in regards to breast cancer? It was published several days ago. It sounds like eating asparagus, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts is not a good idea for people who had breast cancer in the past. Any thoughts? Thank you!




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    1. Julia,
      That is an interesting study on asparagine. It appears the study was done on mice only, and no definitive research on humans. But they also tried to delve into the chemical mechanisms of action during their research. And according to the researchers, the bad effects may extend to other cancers as well. I, too, would like to see an assessment by a professional on whether it would be wise to eliminate asparagus from our diet, since it has the largest amount of asparagine, at least until more research is done. The other foods mentioned are otherwise very healthy, so the benefits might outweigh any detrimental effects, because they contain smaller amounts of asparagine.




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  21. So far, none of the videos of this series has helped me. On the contrary, they bring more confusion.

    I have neurofibromatosis type 1, NF1 for short, and a 2016 Finnish study found that not only did we have a far more increased risk of breast cancer, but that our prognosis was far worse. The same study recommended MRI and not mammograms for early detection and avoiding radiation.
    Medical protocol do not include MRI for NF1 currently in any country as far as I know.

    I follow a plant based vegan diet both for cutaneous neurofibromas control and for cancer prevention.

    I understand the risks from the mammogram better but how to apply them to my situation is another story.

    I have a question: is there a genetic identity of the aggressive breast cancers vs slow-growth-won’t-kill-you breast cancers? Could a biopsy identify which type a woman has and decide accordingly for or against treatment?

    Nobody is ever interested in NF1, not event this website. It is the most common genetic disorder. The amount of papers published yearly is ridiculously low and we are truly abandoned . We are left at doing our own research and rebuffed when we present our geneticist with improvement after switching to a vegan diet.

    Nf1 is a gene suppressor, the good guy. Those who carry a mutation lack that protection and also have an increased risk for many internal tumours, both benign and malignant. Yet, prevention is never considered or advised and doctors wait for problems before treating them.

    I hope one of the next video will approach the peculiar case of those carrying a gene mutation, not only the famous BRCA, but also the other forgotten ones.




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    1. Hi I’m a health support volunteer with nutritionfacts.org. Thanks for your questions.
      I don’t know if you’ve watched the whole series Dr. Greger did on mammograms, but I don’t think the purpose was to discourage all mammograms. I think the point is more that women are simply being told to get them done versus having a discussion with their doctor, weighing the risks and benefits after being given all the information, and coming to the decision that is best for them. That is said more in this video:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/9-out-of-10-women-misinformed-about-mammograms/

      As far as you biopsy question, yes a biopsy does identify not only if a tumor is cancerous but what type of cancer it is and thus guides treatment. There are different types of biopsies which and some show more information than others. Surgical biopsies show more than needle biopsies. There is more information if you want it from the Breast Cancer Foundation
      http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-cancer-biopsy

      Dr. Greger generally recommends that if you are looking for information on a topic he hasn’t specifically covered, you look at pubmed.gov. I did take a quick look there and there seems to be a lot of info on neurofibromatosis and breast cancer.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=neurofibromatosis+breast+cancer

      You are doing one of the best things you can do to prevent cancer by following a healthy plant based diet:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-dietary-factors-affect-breast-cancer-most/

      All the best to you,
      NurseKelly
      Health Support Volunteer




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  22. I’ve not heard anyone in the comments mention just getting a lumpectomy and refusing further treatment. The medical establishment can not make you do more.
    My sister had a small cancer in her breast not found by mammography but by a doctor. She had a lumpectomy but refused radiation or any further treatment. She has passed the 5 year mark and is fine.




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    1. JJ,
      I’m one of those women who chose to have a lumpectomy without radiation therapy or chemo afterwards. I’m continually researching scientific journals for the latest insights on cancer treatments and prevention. It seems increasingly clear that one must build up the immune system so that the natural killer cells can function properly.




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    2. JJ,

      As physicians, our primary job is to educate, not demand or otherwise manipulate the patient. Many of my patients have chosen various courses of action including solely a lumpectomy.

      One of the hardest aspects of advising patients, especially when potentially life-threatening situations are present, is the inherent self-bias we all have from training, media and ones limited observations.

      Never let a health care provider talk you into any procedure/test that you don’t understand unless you’re in an immediate life-threatening situation.

      My suggestion, when confronting any disorder, is to address as many known issues, from environmental toxins, lifestyle, genetic predispositions to obviously diet.

      Maximize one’s immune system function and change your known parameters to minimize a recurrence. Diet is fundamental to this outcome.

      Dr. Alan Kadish Health Support Volunteer




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  23. As a man (or woman) thinketh in his heart, so is he… Which is why misdiagnosis can cause harm, regardless of treatment AND why false positive can be so harmful also. In other words, if you are told you have cancer – your mind can seize this as truth and manifest it into reality.




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  24. Excellent video….however we question if your advice regarding pap smears is helpful given that they are used to detect HPV which seems to be present in nearly all women at one time or another and even though less than 1 in 1000 women who test positive for HPV go on to have cervical cancer and the other 99.9% of women ‘s bodies eliminate it without intervention, it doesn’t stop doctors from treating it as a definite indicator of cervical cancer often proscribing an HPV vaccination which, the last time we checked the CDC website, is now the main cause of women developing cervical cancer.




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    1. Hi I’m a RN and health support volunteer with nutritionfacts.org. Thanks for your great question. I think that hypothesis about iodine and breast cancer came out of the very low breast cancer rates in Japan and their high sea weed diet which is high in iodine. You do want to be sure not to have too much iodine. You may like this video about seaweed and breast cancer and about iodine:
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-seaweed-is-most-protective-against-breast-cancer/
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/avoiding-iodine-deficiency-2/

      I don’t if you’ve seen Dr. Greger’s videos about breast cancer and diet. A healthy, plant based diet is likely you best bet in preventing not only breast cancer but other cancers and heart disease as well.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/which-dietary-factors-affect-breast-cancer-most/

      If you are looking for more information, you may want to go to pubmed.gov. That’s where Dr. Greger recommends you look if you are interested in any topics he hasn’t yet covered. I did take a quick look and it looks like there is some research articles there:
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=iodine+breast+cancer+prevention

      All the best to you.
      NurseKelly
      Health Support Volunteer




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  25. Thank you for finally getting this information out there. All of the healthy behaviors that you teach us on this website are what will protect us from cancer. Once I heard about the dangerous ionizing radiation in mammograms 10 years ago, I stopped getting them. I just wish that I was able to hear the information sooner and stop 10 years before that. Thank you again for such accurate and decisive information.




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  26. Hi,

    I appreciate Dr. Greger distilling the current research on the effectiveness of mammograms in terms of preventing breast cancer deaths. I only ever had one mammogram seven years ago and don’t plan on getting any more.

    However, I would like to understand better when it would be appropriate to be screened. Some people are going to get breast cancer that will have an impact on their mortality — are there certain signs to look for that would indicate a need to for a mammogram? I’m just not getting this aspect of the research. Mammograms are not preventative, but are there any circumstances where you would want to get one?

    Thanks, Jen




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  27. Hi Jen and thanks for your question. This is a risk/benefit equation that can and should be discussed with your doctor. I do think that watching Dr. Greger’s entire series on this topic will be incredibly helpful if you haven’t already done so. Then take this information to your doctor to discuss your personal concerns. Dr. Furhman’s website also has lots of helpful information to help guide your decision (https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/health-concerns/27/breast-cancer)




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  28. I have a question about mammograms as a whole. Males also develop breast cancer, I have no idea what the rates or research on this matter are. I am curious what the screening for males is (is there one?) and if there isn’t, is there a reason males aren’t screened?




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