Preventive medicine or screening for cancer?

The rationale for cancer screening is that this will reduce the burden of deaths from cancer and that lowering cancer-specific deaths will decrease overall mortality. according to Dr Brom, these assumptions no longer seem to be supported by the facts:

‘The evidence suggests that screening for breast cancer should no longer be routine but taken on an individual basis, taking into account the many risk factors for that person.

A study by Harding and Colleagues found a positive correlation between the extent of screening and breast cancer incidence but not with breast cancer mortality. So while there was an absolute increase of 10 percentage points in the extent of screening, this was accompanied by a 16% higher cancer diagnosis but no significant change in breast cancer deaths. They suggested that their findings point to a widespread overdiagnosis.1

Cancer screening is so sensitive that premalignant and very early cancers are detected, which may never cause a problem and may even regress. Instead of saving lives, research is now suggesting that regular screening may do the opposite, causing more harm and suffering, and that the overall mortality does not decrease.

There is some evidence that the radiation involved in screening or treatment may activate cancer stem cells. According to the authors of the study when tumours are challenged by certain stressors such as radiation, this may generate cancer stem cells, along with surviving cancer stem cells, to produce more tumours. 2

Any indication of a ductal-cell cancer can be approached by supporting health and let the body respond with extra support. The innate intelligence of the body knows what to do. Integrative doctors can provide nutritional support and suggest lifestyle changes necessary for potential cancer to reverse itself back to happy cells.

  1. Harding C et al. Breast Cancer Screening, Incidence, and Mortality Across US Counties. JAMA Intern Med 2015;175(9):1483-1489.
  2. Lagadec C, Vlashi E et al. Radiation-induced reprogramming of breast cancer cells. Stem Cells. 2012;(30):833-844.
    (Hersch J, et al. How do we achieve informed choice for women considering breast screening? Prev Med. 2011 Sep;53(3):144-6).

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Preventive medicine or screening for cancer?

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