CANCER AND CARDIOVASCULAR DRUG TRIALS......
"The correct establishment and maintenance of cell polarity are crucial for normal cell physiology and tissue homeostasis. Conversely, loss of cell polarity, tissue disorganization and excessive cell growth are hallmarks of cancer." From a 2011 issue of Cell Death & Differentiation (Epithelial Cell Polarity: A Major Gatekeeper Against Cancer?)
"Whereas the importance of cell proliferation in cancer is well recognized, the role cell polarity plays is only beginning to be appreciated. If cell proliferation and death are analogous to acceleration and brakes in a car, and metabolism is analogous to fuel, cell polarity can be compared with the steering wheel, which controls direction and maintains spatial relationships in traffic. Improper steering can result in significant damage even to a non-speeding car, and conversely, proper steering can prevent damage to a speeding car. similarly, we posit that loss of control over cell polarity can disrupt normal cell behavior and lead to initiation and progression of cancer." From a 2012 issue of the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology (Cell Polarity As A Regulator of Cancer Cell Behavior Plasticity)
"Epithelial cells possess a distinctive apical–basal polarity and loss of polarity is frequently assumed to be a common feature of cancer progression. A widely accepted paradigm for cancer progression is that epithelial cells undergo a transition, during which they lose apical / basal polarity and become highly migratory. [These cells] penetrate the basement membrane, cross the endothelium and enter the lymphatic system or bloodstream through which they are rapidly disseminated. At ectopic sites in the body, the cells colonize surrounding tissue to form metastases." From a 2013 issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Cell Polarity in Morphogenesis and Metastasis)
"Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer related death in women worldwide. The developing mammary gland is a highly proliferative and invasive tissue, and some of the developmental programs may be aberrantly activated to promote breast cancer progression. In the breast, luminal epithelial cells exhibit apical–basal polarity, and the failure to maintain this organizational structure, due to disruption of polarity complexes, is implicated in promoting hyperplasia and tumors." From the June 2016 edition of the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry (Cell Polarity Proteins in Breast Cancer Progression)
This helps explain why we should have a slightly negative overall polarity. If you really want to understand this whole relationship better, read Dr. Sircus' cool article from last December, ELECTROMAGNETIC PROPERTIES OF CANCER. Just remember that none of what you are reading today is 'way out there' or confined to alternative medicine. It's mainstream. In fact, DR. OTTO WARBURG won the Nobel Prize for Medicine back in 1931 for his pioneering work on this topic --- a topic that's getting increasingly wider play with every passing day (HERE). Now lets move on to the relationship of the fascia system to the lymphatic system.
FASCIA, CANCER, AND YOUR LYMPHATICS
Our body is under a constant invasion from every sort of microbe you can imagine. A failure to properly deal with these invaders by our immune system (80% OF WHICH LIVES IN THE GUT) would mean a quick death. The lymph system carries germs or other things that should not be there to the lymph nodes (larger nodules of lymphatic tissue), where they are filtered out. Because B-Cells (white blood cells that make antibodies) and T-CELLS (white blood cells that either eat the bad guys or throttle back on immune response to lessen one's chances of developing AUTOIMMUNITY) live in these nodes, said invaders are recognized, marked for destruction, and wiped out.
For reasons that are not totally clear, once cancer makes it as far as the lymph nodes, it actually has a better chance of survival, which is why finding cancer in lymph nodes is not a good thing. Instead of activating the immune system against cancer like would happen in the presence of germs, cancer in the lymphatics suppresses the immune system. Listen to the first two sentences of Lymphatic Vessels in Cancer Metastasis: Bridging the Gaps, from a 2006 issue of Oxford Academic's Carcinogenesis.
"Distant organ metastasis is the most important factor in determining patient survival in cancer. This is thought to occur via the body's own systems for transporting fluid and cells, the blood vascular and lymphatic systems. Cancer cells may exploit these vascular systems by expressing growth factors, which alter the normal pattern of angiogenesis and lymphatic vessel growth (lymphangiogenesis), thus creating conduits for tumour metastasis."
In a paper presented to 7th Interdisciplinary World Congress on Low Back a Pelvic Pain, Australian massage therapist Peter Lelean (Migratory Fascia - A Role In Ductal Carcinoma In Situ?) wrote, "Treatment of shoulder pain in women revealed common pelvic misalignments and anomalies in upper thoracic myofascia, where distorted strain patterns may inhibit lymphatic function, therefore becoming a risk factor in Ductal Carcinoma In Situ." After talking about the part of the latisimus dorsi not associated with the THORACOLUMBAR FASCIA, he invoked TRAVELL & SIMMONS, quoting them as saying clear back in 1983, "Entrapment of this lymph duct by passage between tense fibers of an involved pectoralis major muscle, may cause edema of the breast. This seems to coincide with the reportedly higher proliferation of ductal accretions in the upper outer quadrant."
Osteopath Steve Matta expounded on this when he said in last year's Lymphatics, "The lymphatic channels course through fascia. Fascia can sometimes be nice and loose or it can be super tight. If all goes well, the lymph is able to move through lymphatic channels without any problems and we can properly fight infections. Let’s think about this for a second…if the lymphatic channels are located in the fascia and the fascia can tighten up, what do you think happens to the flow of lymph when the fascia is tight? That’s right, it slows down." So, beyond things like lymphedema, other problems can occur. Sometimes bad problems.
Something like seven and a half gallons of lymph (interstitial fluid) courses through the lymphatic system each day. A failure to move this fluid means you increase the amount of cellular waste in the body, which causes inflammation, which then EPIGENETICALLY turns on the genes said to cause cancer. In an article called Fascia, Muscles, and the Lymph System, renowned fascia therapist Victoria L. Magown wrote, "Fascia plays an important role with our Lymph System. The majority of our Lymph System lives in the Superficial Fascia right under the skin. The Fascia and Muscles need to be flexible, supple and strong to move the lymph through the lymphatic vessels. This is done by the Fascia and Muscles contracting which constricts the lymphatic vessels and pushes the lymph fluid forward. Check valves prevent the fluid from flowing backward. Since the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump it, its upward movement depends on the motions of the Fascia, Muscles and pumping joints." The thing is folks, it's not like I haven't shown you all of this previously (SEE MY ARTICLE ON THE PRIMO-LYMPHATIC SYSTEM).
MORE ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FASCIA & CANCER
COULD FIXING YOUR FASCIA HELP WITH CANCER?
"Adipocytes might arise from vascular stromal cells. Here, we identified adipose precursor cells resident in fascia, an uninterrupted sheet of connective tissue that extends throughout the body. Our findings suggest a novel model for the origin of adipocytes from the fascia, which explains both neogenesis and expansion of adipose tissue. Fascial preadipocytes generate adipose cells to form primitive adipose lobules in superficial fascia, a subcutaneous nonadipose tissue. With continuous adipogenesis, these primitive adipose lobules newly formed in superficial fascia may be the rudiment of subcutaneous adipose tissue."
There are any number of studies linking this all together. Two years ago the journal Trends in Biotechnology (Biomechanical and Biochemical Remodeling of Stromal Extracellular Matrix in Cancer) concluded that, "During cancer progression, epithelial cells undergo genetic alterations which, together with stromal changes including ECM remodeling, disturb the homeostatic dynamics of the epithelium. A parallel organization of stromal ECM fibrils is associated with tumorigenic responses. In an emerging paradigm, continuous and progressive regulation via mechanical forces and aberrant signaling are believed to be responsible for tumor-associated ECM remodeling."
A year prior, Research Gate (Tumor Mechanics and Metabolic Dysfunction) said, "Desmosplasia is a characteristic of most solid tumors and leads to fibrosis through abnormal extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and remodeling. The resulting stiff tumor stroma not only compromises vascular integrity to induce hypoxia, but also promotes aggressiveness by potentiating the activity of key growth, invasion, and survival pathways. Intriguingly, many of the pro-tumorigenic signaling pathways which are mechanically activated by ECM stiffness also promote glucose uptake and aerobic glycolysis, and an altered metabolism is a recognized hallmark of cancer. Indeed, emerging evidence suggests that metabolic alterations and an abnormal ECM may cooperatively drive cancer cell aggression and treatment resistance." Can anyone say Otto Warburg?
On his website 'The Fascianator,' Anthony Chrisco overviewed the first ever Harvard Medical School Joint Conference on Fascia, Cancer and Acupuncture, saying "It is in these pockets of stiffness that the cancer cells grow and proliferate. The end result is the growth of cancerous tumors in the body. Specifically in areas like our pelvis and thorax. I also learned how consistent rolling, yoga, massage and any other form of movement helps our lymphatic system shuttle our cellular waste so can be filtered out and eliminated." Last year, a large group of elite fascia researchers led by Langevin, Keely, Schleip, Findley, and others, published a similar study called Connecting (T)issues: How Research in Fascia Biology Can Impact Integrative Oncology in the journal Cancer Research. Take a gander at some of their cherry-picked conclusions.
"Recent advances in cancer biology are underscoring the importance of connective tissue in the local tumor environment. Inflammation and fibrosis are well-recognized contributors to cancer, and connective tissue stiffness is emerging as a driving factor in tumor growth. Physical-based therapies have been shown to reduce connective tissue inflammation and fibrosis and thus may have direct beneficial effects on cancer spreading and metastasis. Pathologic processes involving chronic inflammation and tissue fibrosis result in stiff connective tissue; this is likely a bidirectional feedback, as emerging evidence points to tissue stiffness itself being a contributor to the fibrotic process. In addition, there is evidence that these factors are important in cancer biology as well. Although the importance of connective tissue or stroma in cancer was first hypothesized over a century ago, cancer research has predominantly focused on the neoplastic transformation of the cancer cells themselves. However, the last decades have seen a growing interest in the factors within the “soil” that may influence cancer growth, such as angiogenesis and inflammation. Indeed there is increasing evidence that inflammation and metabolic abnormalities within the cancer microenvironment are not simply a passive reaction to cancer cells, but can also drive neoplastic transformation. Complementary and integrative treatments, such as massage, acupuncture, and yoga, are used by increasing numbers of cancer patients to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. In addition, such treatments may have other important and currently overlooked benefits by reducing tissue stiffness and improving mobility."
Why is all of this such a big deal? Think about it this way; not only are we collectively living the high carb lifestyle (HERE ---- REMEMBER THAT SUGAR IS MASSIVELY INFLAMMATORY), which leads to serious tissue densification (a breeding ground for cancer), but medicine's standard cancer therapies (namely chemo and radiation) have devastating effects on connective tissues. I have seen time and time again in my patients that have undergone these treatments that the results leave surrounding tissues hard, tough, thick, and a great deal of the time, generally immobile. Forget for a moment that this causes pain, while realizing it contributes to the vicious cycle of inflammation and cancer. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
For those of you interested in this topic, you could take one of Thomas Findley's (MD / Ph.D / Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Rutgers University) classes on DRY NEEDLING. Or if you want to deal with PATIENTS LIKE THESE, you could take courses from Walter Fritz, a renowned PT from New York who wrote the article, Myofascial Release in the Head and Neck Cancer Patient. As long as the fascia has been dealt with first (HERE), CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS are an incredible neurological and immuno-friendly form of treatment as well. You could even try Polarity Therapy, which was developed just after WWII by Dr. Randolph Stone, an Austrian / American DO, Chiro, and Naturopath. Plus, many people are attacking the ACID (H+) / AKLALI (OH-) conundrum by consuming special kinds of water or alkali foods.
What do I personally recommend to keep your fascia supple, hydrated, and mobile, whether you are fighting cancer, trying to stay cancer-free, or simply looking to stay healthy and pain free? For starters, drink plenty of water (not fluids; water). Secondly, there are a wide variety of self-helps available for working on your own fascia (HERE for instance). Thirdly, pumping your lymphatics may require you to climb on the kid's TRAMPOLINE or maybe use a WHOLE BODY VIBRATION MACHINE. RESISTANCE TRAINING has also shown itself valuable.
And although this list is in no ways complete, there's no substitute for knocking out inflammation at its source (HERE) --- which will require you to eat some sort of ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET. There is also lots of information out there on treatments like CUPPING being used to pump the lymphatics. And would be easy to argue that nothing is more important that stretching (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). In fact, listen to what a group of ten Harvard researchers, including Dr. Langevin, concluded in a study published in the July 2016 issue of the Journal of Cell Physiology (Stretching Impacts Inflammation Resolution in Connective Tissue).
"It is now well established that acute inflammation is accompanied by an active program of resolution that begins in the first few hours after the onset of inflammation and involves the synthesis of specialized pro-resolving mediators derived from dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids [FISH OIL]. We developed a method by which rats and mice spontaneously stretch their whole body when they are partially lifted by the tail and allowed to grasp the edge of a surface with their front paws. When held in this position, the animals spontaneously extend both front and hind-limbs, which increases the distance between shoulders and hips by 25%. This increase in shoulder-to-hip distance stretches the thoracolumbar fascia, which connects the shoulders and pelvis, and creates a shear plane deformation between its most superficial layer (aponeurosis of latissimus dorsi) and the subcutaneous tissues of the back. The results of this study show that stretching decreases inflammation, and the similar effects of active and passive stretching suggest a mechanical effect on the tissues. Connective tissue, or stroma, is increasingly recognized as an important player in both the transition from acute to chronic inflammation, as well as the resolution of acute inflammation, either through direct contact with immune cells or by inducing changes in cytokine profiles in the tissue. The influence of mechanical forces within connective tissue is potentially far-reaching since connective tissue plays multiple roles in the body: as part of the musculoskeletal system, connective tissue forms continuous, compliant layers that can both stretch and bear loads; as part of the immune system, connective tissue is both the “container” for immune exchanges throughout the body, as well as the “conduit” through which water, proteins and immune cells return to the blood via lymphatics. Given these multiple roles, it is plausible that body movements could influence immune-related processes through a cross-talk between resident stromal cells and circulating immune cells."
God forbid you ever come down with CANCER, but if you simply PLAY THE ODDS, some of you reading this either will, or maybe already have. What I want to do now is give you a bonus section on what sort of diet might (emphasis on might) actually help accentuate your healing process, while providing a "boost" to any standard therapies you may or may not choose to do. In an age when most doctors don't give a rip about what you eat while you're fighting cancer (HERE), and an equal number who wouldn't have any idea what to suggest anyway (HERE), doesn't it make sense to educate yourself?
DISCLAIMER: The information presented on this site (including this post), while directly cherry-picked from the most current peer-review available, is just that --- cherry-picked information. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases of any kind, including cancer. If you feel you have a disease that needs diagnosing or treating, or if you are interested in an out-of-the-box approach, please discuss this post with your physician. Please realize that there is a high probability of receiving a deer-in-the-headlights look.
WHAT KIND OF DIET IS BEST?
DR. DAVID GORSKI is an intriguing guy. He's not only one of the nation's most renowned breast cancer surgeons, he's a research scientist with a Ph.D in cellular physiology. Along with a number of pals, he also happens to run the anti-quackery website mentioned in the quote above. Gorski is rabidly and unapologetically against all forms of alternative medicine. All. Period, end of story. But, like any number of his site's brethren, he has to pretend that everything the medical community does is based on "SCIENCE". In other words, he seems to believe that the science-based medicine (which also happens to be the name of his site) that I call "EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE" here on my site, is the be-all, end-all, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that the only effective treatments of sickness and disease (IN THIS CASE CANCER) are drugs, chemo (many types, including immunotherapy), radiation, and surgery. Enter Dr. Thomas Seyfried.
Compared to crackpots like me, Seyfried and those like him have proven much tougher targets of Gorski's vitrol. You see, Dr. S is part of the club. He's part of academia. And he thinks like Warburg. In fact, check out the 2012 book he wrote called Cancer as a Metabolic Disease: On the Origin, Management, and Prevention of Cancer, and listen to one of the many glowing Amazon reviews; this one by Dr. Stephen Strum.
"I am a board-certified medical oncologist with 30 years experience in caring for cancer patients and another 20 years of research in cancer medicine dating back to 1963. Seyfried's is the most significant book I have read in my 50 years in this field. It should be required reading of all cancer specialists, physicians in general, scientific researchers in the field of cancer and for medical students. I cannot overstate what a valuable contribution Thomas Seyfried has made in writing this masterpiece."
What exactly is it that has made Dr. Seyfried so popular with so many people, yet so vilified by others? He's a huge proponent of using the Ketogenic Diet to help those with cancer. The premise that DR. WARBURG proved scientifically --- that cancer needs sugar to survive. Take away cancer's sugar supply and you at least start pulling the rug out from under it. And what's really cool is that this is the work that Seyfried does in his lab at Boston College on a day-to-day-to-day basis.
How does one go about starving cancer of sugar? The KETOGENIC DIET of course (preferably done PALEO STYLE, using only organic fats). I recommend the Ketogenic Diet to enough people (it's been mainstream medicine's treatment of choice for SEIZURE DISORDERS for decades) that you can find it on my ONLINE PATIENT HANDOUTS. Allow me to leave you with videos on the Cancer / Lymphatics connection by Drs. Schleip, Findlay, and Langevin, as well as Doctor Seyfried's Cancer as a Metabolic Disease with Metabolic Solutions lecture.
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BRAND NEW GOVERNMENT STATISTICS ON
THE OBESITY / CANCER CONNECTION
The report said that 2/3 of our nation's adults are overweight or obese. What they didn't tell you is that when you add in the people whose blood markers show they are fat even though they might look OK on a height / weight chart (between 8 and 10% of the population --- HERE), all of a sudden we are in the 3/4 range. And while according to the CDC, many cancers have seen a downward trend, this is not true of the cancers related to obesity (endometrial, ovarian, and post-menopausal BREAST CANCER). As the rest of the world becomes increasingly "Westernized," they look more and more like us because they eat more and more like us (heavily processed foods and junk).
And just like the rest of government, everyone sits around declaring that something should be done. In fact, just yesterday senators from Maine and New Hampshire put forth a measure to create a "Diabetes Council" made up of researchers, physicians, and public health officials to discuss ways of improving our nation's TYPE II DIABETES PREVENTION and create better guidelines for delivering better care and providing better outcomes for diabetics or those with prediabetes (CARDIOMETABOLIC SYNDROME). Although it sounds "better," this is a total waste of time. We already know what causes Type II Diabetes.
Type II Diabetes (just like CANCER) is one of the myriad of health-related problems driven by inflammation (HERE). And while it's certainly not the only way to drive inflammation, suffice it to say that SUGAR and JUNK CARBS are highly inflammatory (HERE). And here is the kicker. The brilliant OTTO WARBURG (MD / Ph.D) won the Nobel Prize for Medicine -- back in 1931 -- for figuring out that cancer is fed by the fermentation of sugar. It's why KETOGENIC DIETS have proven effective in helping people prevent and even reverse this nasty killer.
If you are LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE, rest assured that you will pay a heavy price. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but sooner or later it will catch up with you and make your life miserable --- and I'm not simply talking cancer (HERE, HERE, and HERE are just a few of the numerous examples I could have come up with). If you are looking to lose weight and get healthy in the process, take a look at the posts filed under THIS CATEGORY. And be honest with yourself; who else provides you this much valuable information, completely free, with no strings attached?
CANCER IS IN THE NEWS AGAIN
SEE WHAT THE EXPERTS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS TERRIBLE DISEASE
Liz Szabo from the February 9, 2017 issue of USA Today (Dozens of New Cancer Drugs do Little to Improve Survival) talking about a study from JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surgery (Unintended Consequences of Expensive Cancer Therapeutics — The Pursuit of Marginal Indications and a Me-Too Mentality That Stifles Innovation and Creativity)
A good friend of mine works in an oncology department somewhere (purposefully anonymous) here in the Midwest. He says that every single lunch is a veritable smorgasbord for everyone working in the facility; the catering paid for by one or another of the numerous drug reps that are a fixture in the clinic (HERE). It's the price of doing business. And no one will deny that CANCER is big business --- really big business. In light of this, it's always interesting to take a look and see what some of the latest Cancer research has to say. After all, aren't we supposed to be following a model based on "BEST EVIDENCE"?
It is becoming increasingly clear that equivocating EARLY DETECTION with PREVENTION is a huge myth (HERE). We are also seeing that the medical research community believes Cancer is, for the most part, a random event. Case in point, the study from yesterday's issue of Science (Stem Cell Divisions, Somatic Mutations, Cancer Etiology, and Cancer Prevention). The authors (from Johns Hopkins) started things off by saying, "Most textbooks attribute cancer-causing mutations to two major sources: inherited and environmental factors. A recent study highlighted the prominent role in cancer of replicative (R) mutations that arise from a third source: unavoidable errors associated with DNA replication." The authors concluded by using a variety of "STATISTICS" to show that nearly 7 out of 10 cases are totally random, i.e. there's not a durnned thing you can do about it. In other words, they are largely throwing the concept of EPIGENETICS out the door.
"Cancer is today the most common cause of death in the world. Primary prevention is the best way to reduce cancer deaths. Recognition of a third contributor to cancer—R mutations—does not diminish the importance of primary prevention but emphasizes that not all cancers can be prevented by avoiding environmental risk factors. Fortunately, primary prevention is not the only type of prevention that exists or can be improved in the future. Secondary prevention, i.e., early detection and intervention, can also be lifesaving."
What's interesting is that these authors end by propagating the myth that increasing numbers of experts in the field of Public Health are decrying --- that early detection, prevention, and intervention are lifesaving in the way we have been led to believe they are. For peer-reviewed proof that this is not the case, you can go back and click on the appropriate links at the beginning of the second paragraph above. Or you can read the piece I wrote on this very topic almost two years ago called "RANDOMNESS RUN AMOK". But what about those who have already been diagnosed with Cancer? While I'm not here to make suggestions one way or another, there is some highly interesting information coming to light that everyone should be aware of.
There is good reason that many, including myself, have described American Healthcare (no matter which political party is running the show) as "UNSUSTAINABLE". Cancer treatment is a microcosm of this fact. For instance, in January of last year, JAMA Oncology (The Use of Superlatives in Cancer Research) revealed that when it comes to describing new Cancer drugs, hype and propaganda rule the day. "The language used in oncology practice and research may elicit important connotations. Whereas most new cancer drugs afford modest benefits, approved drugs or those in development may be heralded as 'game changers,' 'miracle cures,' 'home runs,' 'revolutionary,' 'transformative,' 'marvel,' 'lifesaving,' 'groundbreaking,' 'marvel,' or 'breakthroughs' in the lay press. These news articles may be important sources of information to patients, the public, and investors—with a broader reach than medical journal articles. However, omission of medical context or use of inflated descriptors may lead to misunderstandings among readers." This, folks, is the art of the PRESS RELEASE (or HERE). BIG PHARMA is doing everything in it's power to lead you to the Koolaid. And just how effective is the Koolaid we've been collectively drinking? Let me show you by discussing something called "Surrogate Endpoints".
People want drugs to do big things --- give them their sex life back (HERE), cure their Diabetes (HERE), or reverse their COPD (HERE). Surrogate Endpoints are all of the little (measurable) things that drugs do on their way to doing their big thing. For instance, BLOOD PRESSURE DRUGS are supposed to lower high blood pressure --- that is a Surrogate Endpoint. The ultimate goal of these drugs is that the patients live longer and have fewer strokes and / or heart attacks. One of the dirty little secrets in the practice of medicine is that we have developed an entire industry around managing Surrogate Endpoints, while doing little or nothing for the patient as far as the big picture is concerned. We see this in both STATIN DRUGS (yes, they lower blood cholesterol) and DIABETES DRUGS (yes, they lower blood sugar) as well as any number of others --- including those used to treat Cancer. The question is not whether or not a drug is reaching Surrogate Endpoints, but whether the drug is accomplishing its "Big Thing".
Ed Silverman, writing for STAT's December 7, 2016 Pharmalot Column (Many Cancer Drugs Approved Using Surrogate Markers Don’t Improve Quality of Life) said, "More than a dozen cancer drugs that were approved based on so-called surrogate markers, such as the ability to shrink tumors, failed to improve the quality of life for patients. Yet most of the medicines, which previously were found not to extend lives, are also expensive, with many costing much more than $100,000 annually, and all but one remain on the market, according to a new analysis." The study itself, from the December issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) said, "Cancer drugs initially approved by the US Food and Drug Administration on the basis of surrogate endpoints often remain FDA approved even after postmarketing studies find that they neither prolong patients’ lives nor improve their quality of life." A study from last month's issue of JAMA Internal Medicine (Quality of Life, Overall Survival, and Costs of Cancer Drugs Approved Based on Surrogate Endpoints) echoed these results. "The lack of evidence of a clinically meaningful benefit for many cancer drugs approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) through expedited pathways raises questions about whether physicians and patients can make informed treatment decisions." There are any number of similar studies coming to identical conclusions.
For instance, last August, Meghana Keshavan wrote an article for STAT called Experimental Cancer Therapy Holds Great Promise — But at Great Cost. In it she discussed the newest and hottest trend in Cancer treatment, Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is defined by Wikipedia as, "the "treatment of disease by inducing, enhancing, or suppressing an immune response." Sounds rather benign until you read what she wrote about one of the latest forms of Immunotherapy. "The treatment induces such sudden and severe side effects that it can take a small army of top specialists to keep patients alive while their newly engineered immune systems attack their cancer cells. The result: [these treatments] remain so risky, so complex, and so difficult to manage that experts warn it’ll be years before it’s available to most patients who would stand to benefit — even though two drug makers, startup Kite Pharma and pharmaceutical giant Novartis, are racing to get their versions of the therapy approved by the the Food and Drug Administration as early as next year." Believe me when I tell you that this was a freaky article. But that's my opinion; what are the experts saying about Immunotherapy?
Just days ago, Dr. Nathan Gay, an oncology fellow at Oregon Health and Science University, and Dr. Vinay Prasad, an assistant professor in Hematology Oncology at Oregon Health and Science University, teamed up to write an article for STAT (Few People Actually Benefit from ‘Breakthrough’ Cancer Immunotherapy) that showed that even though it was being touted in one of this year's Super Bowl ads, Immunotherapy is not all it's been touted to be. As are all the quotes in my posts, these are cherry-picked due to restraints on time and space.
"Today, though, only a tiny minority of patients expected to die from cancer will benefit from immunotherapy. As is often the case, hype sadly exceeds evidence. Using US national cancer statistics and FDA approvals, we estimated the percent of cancer patients who might actually benefit from immunotherapy. The result was surprising, given the way these drugs are described. The answer was just 8 percent. We also ran the numbers another way by setting a lower bar for success, and credited these drugs for any patient whose cancer did not grow substantially during follow-up. Even with that adjustment, the estimate was less than 10 percent. Who is to blame for the disconnect between reality and hype? Doctors, researchers, the pharmaceutical industry, reporters, patient advocates — all use sensational language to describe these drugs. To make matters worse, the United States is one of the only countries to permit direct-to-consumer advertising, resulting in an astonishing 80 drug ads airing every hour — some of which are misleading."
There were two comments to these doctor's article; the first by a person decrying the article as unfair because the treatment has so much promise. The second by one Steve Kohn, an individual who says he was "lured" into becoming part of a clinical trial in Immunotherapy because of the "hype" he'd been exposed to. Listen to what he says. "Little did I know how much suffering would come from finally being in remission. The Chemo-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy I suffered from when I began the trial has worsened to the point where I question whether the decision to participate in the trial was the right one. In my case the treatment destroyed the cancer cells so far, but also is in the process of destroying my sensory nerves making my pain at times unbearable." I truly feel for the millions of people like Steve, who end up making decisions because they are essentially between a rock and a hard place, with few places to turn, and advice that is often questionable at best, and at worst, meant to TAKE ADVANTAGE OF SUFFERING PEOPLE. Speaking of advice, what's the medical community saying that we can do to prevent Cancer as far as our diets are concerned?
Writing for the March 15 edition of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr Amanda Narod (Georgetown University) put out an interesting article called, A Menu for Cancer Risk Reduction? Five Truths About the Role of Food and Diet in Cancer Prevention. Some of the article was very good. However, some of it made the same old mistakes that we've seen for decades. For one, she wrote about VEGETABLES & FRUITS. Click the link to see why, while fruits are not all bad, they are not synonymous with vegetables (she did talk about the benefits of CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES). She also touted the benefits of whole grains (to see why this is largely a mythical impossibility for most people in Westernized society, read my short post on GRAINS). She even went as far to tout SOY as one of her five "Cancer Prevention" tips. In some ways I feel like I just stepped into Dr. Emmet Brown's Lamborghini and went back to the 1980's.
Her last point, "fire up the grill with caution," was not terrible advice, but neither was it worthy of a spot on a "Top Five" list. She discussed the problems associated with "well done meats" as related to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH's, which have been associated with everything from Cancer to HEART DISEASE to developmental issues such as low IQ's. Also be aware that because these creatures have a benzene-like ring structure, they also happen to act as XENOESTROGENS (artificial sources of estrogen --- just like Soy). While it's true that people can get a degree of PAH exposure from their cooking habits, the real exposure is coming from (Wikipedia), "smoking rates, fuel types in cooking, pollution controls on power plants, industrial processes [there were a slew of them listed], and vehicles." It sort of reminded me of an article I wrote a while back about AGES (Advanced Glycation Endproducts). While it's true that charring your grilled food can produce AGES, they are largely the result of LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. Which brings me to one last point --- arguably the biggest and most important point on her list ----a point that the good Dr. Narod completely failed to mention.
I'm not quite sure how one can legitimately talk about using diet to prevent cancer, and not at least mention the work of the venerable DR. OTTO WARBURG. Warburg (MD / Ph. D) won the 1931 Nobel Prize in Medicine by figuring out that Cancer is fed via the fermentation of sugar. That's right folks, sugar feeds cancer. If you really want to do something to prevent cancer, I suggest you click on the link above (the article is very short) and read it. As I showed you back in 2015, Cancer is not as "random" as an event as we are being led to believe. Face it; if it really is random, there is nothing --- not a blasted thing --- you or anyone else can do about it other than bend over and take whatever it gives you. I'm not into that, and you shouldn't be either (HERE).
For more information about fighting chronic illnesses of all sorts (not to mention chronic pain) take a moment to READ THIS POST. And in light of today's post, it's not surprising that the KETOGENIC DIET remains one of the most exciting things going in the diet-based treatment of Cancer.
BRAND NEW STUDY TIES OBESITY TO NEARLY A DOZEN KINDS OF CANCER
Sure, we talk a good fight, but when it comes down to brass tacks, "PREVENTION" for most health-related issues is is not working, mainly because it is not what we have been led to believe it is. And while there are certainly outliers (incredibly healthy people who wind up with cancer, or the four-pack-a-day person who lives to be 95), the statistics are telling. With nearly 70% of our population either obese or overweight, and another 7 to 10 percent considered to be "SKINNY FAT" (the medical term for this is Medically Obese Normal Weight), we are reminded that the current governmental bickering over healthcare is almost laughable considering the UNSUSTAINABLE TRAJECTORY we're on, whoever's plan comes out on top (HERE). Nowhere is this more evident than in the diagnosis and treatment of CANCER.
I recently showed you how Dr. Otto Warburg, winner of 1931's Nobel Prize for Medicine, figured out that cancer is fed by sugar (HERE). This is not simply because sugar is seriously acidic (HERE), but because it's seriously inflammatory as well (HERE). And interestingly enough, both cancer and obesity (not to mention DIABETES) fall under the category of "CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY DISEASES". This has been reiterated by a brand new study from yesterday's issue of the British Medical Journal called Adiposity and Cancer at Major Anatomical Sites: Umbrella Review of the Literature. In her analysis of the data from over 200 meta-analysis on the subject, England's Maria Kyrgiou and her team concluded that (cherry-picked of course)......
"An increase in body mass index was associated with a higher risk of developing oesophageal adenocarcinoma; colon and rectal cancer in men; biliary tract system and pancreatic cancer; endometrial cancer in premenopausal women; kidney cancer; and multiple myeloma. Weight gain and waist to hip circumference ratio were associated with higher risks of postmenopausal breast cancer in women who have never used hormone replacement therapy and endometrial cancer, respectively. The increase in the risk of developing cancer for every 5 kg increase in body mass index ranged from 9% for rectal cancer among men, to 56% for biliary tract system cancer. The risk of postmenopausal breast cancer among women who have never used HRT increased by 11% for each 5 kg of weight gain in adulthood, and the risk of endometrial cancer increased by 21% for each .1 increase in waist to hip ratio. Five additional associations were supported by strong evidence when categorical measures of adiposity were included: weight gain with colorectal cancer; body mass index with gallbladder, gastric, and ovarian cancer; and multiple myeloma mortality. Associations for 11 cancers (oesophageal adenocarcinoma, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the gastric cardia, colon, rectum, biliary tract system, pancreas, breast, endometrium, ovary, and kidney) were supported by strong evidence."
An editorial in the same issue of BMJ by a couple of researchers from the "Harvard of the Midwest" (St. Louis' own Washington University) went even further when they stated....
"Though some specifics remain to be worked out, the unavoidable conclusion from these data is that preventing excess adult weight gain can reduce the risk of cancer. Furthermore, emerging evidence suggests that excess body fat in early life also has an adverse effect on risk of cancer in adulthood. Those in primary care can be a powerful force to lower the burden of obesity related cancers, as well as the many other chronic diseases linked to obesity such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The data are clear. The time for action is now."
But here's the conundrum. What in the world are doctors going to do differently than they've been doing for who-knows-how-long? Most people are already aware of how bad their diets really are, and are choosing to live that SAME LIFESTYLE anyway. On top of this, doctors are so buried in ACA paperwork and regulation that they barely have time to breathe, let alone warn mom that "Little Johnny" isn't so little any more, all while she promises him that if he behaves they'll head over to the "Big Yellow M" and order whatever he wants. In case you have not figured it out yet, SUGAR, JUNK CARBS, and GRAINS (what you feed farm animals to fatten them up prior to taking them to the Sale Barn), causes obesity as well as a host of ENDOCRINE and GUT-RELATED health problems. Because 80% of our collective immune systems are found in our Guts, we should not be surprised that cancer is yet another in a long line of problems associated with said diets.
For those of you who are interested in breaking free from your SUGAR AND JUNK ADDICTIONS and taking your life back (as well as getting off the WORTHLESS DRUGS), the first thing you need to do is create an EXIT STRATEGY. Study, learn, and figure out what it's going to take to get off the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND and then stinking do it! No more EXCUSES. Because of EPIGENETICS, we now know that good health is related more to good habits than good luck or good genes. Get with the program and start working to SOLVE YOUR CHRONIC CONDITIONS TODAY!
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER DR. OTTO WARBURG
IGNORE HIS FINDINGS ON CANCER AT YOUR OWN PERIL
Otto Warburg was born in Germany in 1883. He rapidly showed his mettle in academics, working in the fields of chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry, and physiology, earning his MD degree in 1911. He moved rapidly up the ladder of academia, and by 1918 (the end of WWI) had been appointed a professor at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology, where his chief work was on tumor metabolism and respiration (he would have achieved this sooner had he not served in Germany's most elite cavalry unit during 'The Great War'). Although it is said that he would have earned a second Nobel Prize if he had not been part of Hitler's Germany (he was actually part Jewish), he won the prize in 1931 (he was nominated 46 times in his career). What did Dr. Warburg discover that was so incredible --- worthy of a Nobel Prize? He figured out that blood sugar (glucose) is Cancer's meal-of-choice.
According to an article in the November, 2010 issue of Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research (Biographical Sketch: Otto Heinrich Warburg, PhD, MD), Warburg was speaking to a group of other Nobel Laureates when he said.....
"Cancer, above all other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But, even for cancer, there is only one prime cause. Summarized in a few words, the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. All normal body cells meet their energy needs by respiration of oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs in great part by fermentation. All normal body cells are thus obligate aerobes, whereas all cancer cells are partial anaerobes. From the standpoint of the physics and chemistry of life this difference between normal and cancer cells is so great that one can scarcely picture a greater difference. Oxygen gas, the donor of energy in plants and animals is dethroned in the cancer cells and replaced by an energy yielding reaction of the lowest living forms, namely, a fermentation of glucose."
Basically, Warburg realized that cancer cells shared a universal characteristic -- they were hypoxic (low levels of O2), requiring them to find another source of fuel. Instead of cancer cells going through normal cell respiration using oxygen, they respired anerobically by fermenting glucose and destroying MITOCHONDRIAL ACTIVITY. By the end of his life he believed and taught that this was the result of exposure to toxicity ---- POLLUTION, CHEMICAL TOXICITY, RADIATION, INFLAMMATORY METABOLITES, microbes run amok (we would today call these OCCULT INFECTIONS or "DYSBIOSIS"), as well as ACIDITY.
Although the body will do everything in it's power to maintain HOMEOSTASIS as far as pH is concerned, hyper-acidity tends to lead to cancer, while cancer leads to a state of hyper-acidity (see the final link in the previous paragraph). It is my belief that the primary area of manifestation is not necessarily the blood, as the body will not let the blood move out of an extremely narrow range of pH without dire consequences (death). This acidity is undoubtedly, however, affecting our GUT HEALTH and MICROBIOMES. Tomorrow (or whenever I get it done), I'll show you how MEDICATIONS are one of the chief ways we are toxifying our bodies. The resultant toxicity is related almost every health issue you can name, including CANCER (HERE'S ONE OF THE MORE COMMON ONES).
As Warburg got older (he lived to the ripe old age of 86, working the entire time --- not unlike DR. SEYFRIED), the journal mentioned earlier revealed that he took his message of toxicity, and pH control to heart. "In his later life, he apparently became somewhat eccentric regarding his eating habits, insisting on organic foods long before the current trend, even taking his own produce to restaurants." What should this tell you? It is imperative that even though neither your doctors nor most of the medical research community give a flip about Otto Warburg's discoveries the better part of a century ago, you had better grasp their implications if you care about your health and the health of your family. It's why even though Mayo and MD Anderson have publicly denounced the "Sugar / Cancer" connection (HERE), you would do well not to make the same mistake.
It's also why according to peer-review, one of the hottest ways of eating as far as cancer is concerned is the KETOGENIC DIET. Never forget that sugar not only feeds cancer (HERE), it feeds infection as well (HERE). And if you'll click the KD link two lines above, you'll see that it's also being used to treat a vast array of other diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction (MS, Type II Diabetes, ALS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc).
Chronic illness (cancer included) is a colossal bummer. Here's the thing folks; if Dr. Warburg was correct, there are steps that can be taken to keep yourself healthy. The truth is, it's a whole lot easier to prevent cancer than to try and kick it once it's there. This post goes a long way towards giving you preventative solutions. I've incorporated some of his principles into THIS PROTOCOL. No, it's not a cure for cancer. But the results can be amazing nonetheless (HERE). BTW, show us some love on FACEBOOK.
MOONSHOTS AND ROCKET SCIENCE
CAN WE SPEND OUR WAY OUT OF THE CANCER EPIDEMIC?
The death of Vice President, Joe Biden's 46 year old son from a brain tumor last May was just another confirmation that Cancer is no respecter of persons. Although it's not difficult to understand why Biden issued still another "moonshot" for a cure ---- this one for Cancer (there are currently other "moonshots" going on for other diseases, including ALZHEIMER'S), we have to ask ourselves whether his plea a good use of resources (i.e. tax dollars).
Despite the fact that Richard Nixon declared war on Cancer back in the 1971, another of the dirty little secrets of medicine is that we have not seen nearly as much progress against the disease as we have been led to believe. Writing for the New England Journal of Medicine back in 1986 (Progress Against Cancer?) researchers crunched thirty years of data and concluded that Nixon's war was an abject failure. "We are losing the war against cancer, notwithstanding progress against several uncommon forms of the disease, improvements in palliation, and extension of the productive years of life. A shift in research emphasis, from research on treatment to research on prevention, seems necessary if substantial progress against cancer is to be forthcoming." But the beat went on.
- Taking a page out of Nixon's handbook and putting far too much emphasis on the new found power of genetics (HERE), in his 1998 State of the Union Address, President Bill Clinton stated, "Tonight, as part of our gift to the millennium, I propose a 21st century research fund for pathbreaking scientific inquiry, the largest funding increase in history for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Cancer Institute. We have already discovered genes for breast cancer and diabetes. I ask you to support this initiative so ours will be the generation that finally wins the war against cancer and begins a revolution in our fight against all deadly diseases."
- That same year, Vice President Al Gore told the Toledo Blade that, "We want to be the first generation that finally wins the war on cancer For the first time, the enemy is outmatched."
- Not to be outdone, President GW Bush not only had his own cancer initiative and medical moonshot while in office, promising to "fund and lead a medical moonshot to reach far beyond what seems possible today". Since turning over the presidency to Obama, he and his institute have been active in fighting both BREAST CANCER and Cervical Cancer, as well as crusading against Cancer in Africa.
- Not one to be left out, last July, President Obama issued his overly optimistic 21st Century Cures Act --- which in rare fashion, was passed into law with heavy bipartisan support. In it, an outline to "cure" any number of diseases, including Cancer.
- Former FDA Commissioner and Director of the National Cancer Institute, Andrew C. von Eschenbach (a true industry insider) said back in 2003 that our government would, "eliminate suffering and death" of Cancer. His goal for accomplishing this feat? Last year.
Are we doing any better today. Despite what we would be told, unfortunately not (HERE). In fact , those in the know tend to believe that this is another of the medical problems that we cannot spend or treat our way out of (HERE). And just how much is all of this costing us? According to Alex Lubischer of Chicago Health (Funding the Cancer War) Cancer carries a huge price tag.
"According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), all U.S. healthcare expenditures related to cancer in 2009 cost the U.S. an estimated $86.6 billion. If you factor in $130 billion for indirect mortality costs (the toll of lost productivity due to premature deaths), that’s $216.6 billion in one year. Furthermore, The National Cancer Institute (NCI, a branch of the NIH) has spent roughly $90 billion on research and treatment since 1971. Additionally, about 260 nonprofit organizations in the United States have dedicated themselves to cancer research, which amounts to combined annual budgets of $2.2 billion."
Part of the problem is that if you ask different experts what Cancer is, you'll get a rather wide array of answers. This is because "cancer" is not all the same stuff. Furthermore, if all we have to show for trillions of dollars spent is the fact that Cancer is little more than a "random" event (HERE), we really are spinning our wheels --- a thought recently echoed by any number of medial outlets, including STAT's recent Moonshot to Cure Cancer. We've Heard that Before. Many Times.
The problem is that we are going about this all wrong. JFK's original "Moonshot" was handled by engineers, physicists, and rocket scientists. It was an incredible feat of engineering that essentially required us to overcome gravity and other laws of physics. For any number of reasons, curing Cancer is different. The reality of the situation is that "curing" Cancer is going to require something of us besides more tax dollars. We are actually going to have to follow the advice of NEJM's 30 year old study I quoted from earlier ---- emphasizing prevention instead of cure. What does prevention look like?
First, let me say that nothing in this life is foolproof --- including Cancer Prevention. We all know healthy people who have died of Cancer (my friend was as healthy as they come), as well as living mummies that have been walking this earth for 80 or 90 years, embalming themselves with liberal amounts of cheap vodka and the preservative powers of THREE PACKS a day. However, there are some generalities we can make in our own personal war against Cancer.
- UNDERSTAND INFLAMMATION AND EAT ACCORDINGLY: Cancer is one of THE MYRIAD OF HEALTH ISSUES driven by Inflammation. Problem is, I don't find one in a thousand people who can really tell me what Inflammation is. Using anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements are wonderful, but if you want to get down to brass tacks, mopping up Inflammation after the fact is not the best way to accomplish this. Instead, stop Inflammation at its source (HERE). Reading my article SUGAR DRIVES INFLAMMATION is a good start. Make sure to follow it up with SUGAR FEEDS CANCER (there are two parts).
- UNDERSTAND GUT HEALTH: I won't belabor this point, but it might be the most important in this list. HERE are my posts on the topic.
- REALIZE THAT CHEMICALS (DRUGS INCLUDED) ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND: Your immune system is mostly made up of the bacteria that live in your Gut. Just yesterday the CDC's American College of Physicians said that half of all prescriptions of ANTIBIOTICS are unnecessary (not to mention, THEY THEMSELVES ARE A KNOWN CAUSE OF CANCER). It is critical to understand that the DRUG CULTURE we live in is not doing us any favors as far as Cancer is concerned. Although most of us would agree that things like pesticides and herbicides are bad news, most of us fail to grasp that we are polluting ourselves daily with the multitude of chemicals we use in our bathrooms (think personal HYGIENE here).
- DON'T FORGET TO EXERCISE: There is plenty of research showing the benefits of exercise as far as Cancer is concerned. However, it is also important to remember that intense exercise for substantial periods of time --- i.e hardcore cardio ---- leads to the precursor of all disease, including Cancer; LEAKY GUT SYNDROME. EXERCISING properly is important, but not a fraction as important as diet.
What should you do if you've already been diagnosed with Cancer? Not sure what to tell you. One thing I can tell you is that you can follow at least part of this or a similar protocol even if you are dealing with your Cancer in the traditional medical manner (chemo, RADIATION, etc) --- something few doctors ever talk about (HERE and HERE). For the most part, preventing, or at least slowing down, Cancer does not require a moonshot. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that by and large we are our own worst enemies. A national change of diet and lifestyle would go a long way toward Biden's goal.
BRAND NEW CANCER NEWS
"We are experiencing declines in mortality from cancer in the U.S., but those declines are coming at the same pace as in Europe, which is spending a lot less money. Screening, prevention, and treatment have extended life, but that's coming at a much higher cost [in the U.S.] than in Europe..... Cancers are being diagnosed earlier, without corresponding changes in actual dates of death. In other words, it just means people are finding out they have cancer earlier."
The harsh reality is that study after study is revealing that discovering Cancer earlier, does not increase your survival rates. This is due to something called "OVER-DIAGNOSIS". When mortality rate for various cancers are compared to Europe, who spends much less money than America does on all aspects of Cancer treatment, what do we find?
"The U.S. averted the largest number of deaths for stomach and colorectal cancer. But it experienced the largest number of excess deaths for lung cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma. And only a modest number of deaths from breast and prostate cancer were averted."
If you are interested in seeing how modest "modest" is, just click on some of the links. And if you want to see what physicians and those in healthcare have to say about this phenomenon, make sure to read the original article's comment section. Here is one of them by an MD. "Oncologists often seem more interested in the date of death rather than quality of life years. It is past time for re-ordering priorities and considering patients rather than prolonging life by 6 weeks." An example of this phenomenon can be found HERE.
Bear in mind that even though I am sharing the most current research and diagnostic / treatment guidelines with you, your doctor will not likely be sharing this information with you anytime soon. There's simply too much money to be made by doing things the old way. But all too often that's how it is with EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE.
CANCER, GENETIC MUTATIONS, AND....
"At best, the mechanism of gene duplication shows how a hiker can get to the foot of a hiking trail, but never explains how the hiker finds the peak of the mountain, while doing a random, blindfolded walk. We don't need to know that genes can make copies of themselves; we need to know how the duplicate gene evolves, step-by-step, into an entirely new gene." Dr. Stephen Meyer from "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories," Proceedings for the Biological Society of Washington
"What's particularly scary about cancer is that researchers are still in the dark as to what causes cancer, how it triggers, and in many cases how to fight it. In spite of throwing billions upon billions of dollars at cancer research, we've only managed to marginally improve overall survival for some cancer types, including lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, over the past four decades. Don't get me wrong, researchers do have a good idea as to what can increase a person's risk of getting cancer -- smoking or long-term sun exposure, for example -- but differentiating why some smokers live to be healthy well into their 90's while a person who eats right and exercises regularly gets cancer in their 40's has often stumped researchers and consumers alike." From Sean Williams' January 10 article, In Case You Missed it, This New Cancer Study is Terrifying
"The unknown and unpredictable element in happenings that seems to have no assignable cause. A force assumed to cause events that cannot be foreseen or controlled. An accidental or unpredictable event. A risk or hazard; a gamble." Taken from Farlex's free online dictionary for the definition of the word 'Chance'.
After Gregor Mendel's experiments with peas in the 1860's (shortly after Darwin published his famous book), many scientists believed they had found the Holy Grail as far as determining the driving force for evolution was concerned ---- random changes in genetic material which we today call "Genetic Mutations". However, genetic mutations provide us with an interesting dichotomy. Although they are supposedly bringing us closer to the "perfection" Darwin described in Origins, things haven't quite worked out as nicely as they do in the pages of a Marvel comic book (think X-Men, Spiderman, The Hulk, the Fantastic Four, etc, etc, etc here). Plainly stated, the vast majority of genetic mutations are bad. In the real world, genetic mutations lead mostly to things like birth defects and a wide array of diseases, one of which we will discuss shortly.
Don't get me wrong. There are some examples of genetic mutations that are beneficial. The most common one is Sickle Cell Anemia and Malaria --- people who carry the Sickle Cell trait tend not to get Malaria. Some individuals and institutions will go out of their way to tell you how good genetic mutations are (Stanford's Mutations and Disease article, for instance, says, "Few mutations are bad for you. In fact, some mutations can be beneficial. Over time." I would argue that this statement is mostly false. After looking at lots and lots of research on the top over the past 15 or 20 years, I have yet to be convinced that there are more "good" genetic mutations occurring than "bad" ones (see Meyer's quote from the top of the page). Which leads me to the topic of Cancer.
Have you heard about the new study from Johns Hopkins' Department of Oncology / Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics? The authors claim (using EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE of course) that the vast majority of CANCERS in America are nothing more than, "bad luck". Here are a couple of sentences from the abstract of a study published in this month's issue of Science (Variation in Cancer Risk Among Tissues can be Explained by the Number of Stem Cell Divisions).
"These results suggest that only a third of the variation in cancer risk among tissues is attributable to environmental factors or inherited predispositions. The majority is due to “bad luck,” that is, random mutations arising during DNA replication in normal, noncancerous stem cells."
I see a real dilemma with this approach to Cancer. If it is true that it is basically a "random" event, it would mean that our CRAPPY DIETS of PROCESSED FOODS (try pronouncing the chemical names on a food label sometime) / SUGAR, RADIATION EXPOSURE, SMOKING, exposure to TOXIC CHEMICALS, HEAVY METAL TOXICITY, OVER-CONSUMPTION OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS (and HERE), DESTRUCTION OF THE MICROBIOME, lack of EXERCISE, OBESITY, etc, etc, etc, don't really mean much as far as our health is concerned. In other words, if Cancer is mostly due to plain dumb luck (a purely random event), it really means that there is little hope --- especially with what we are learning about EPIGENETICS.
According to the American Cancer Society (Cancer Facts & Figures 2014), 2014 saw, "an estimated 1,665,540 new cancer cases diagnosed and 585,720 cancer deaths in the US. Cancer remains the second most common cause of death in the US, accounting for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths." Cancer rates aren't going down folks; they're exploding. Yes, it's true --- there are more people surviving Cancer today, but there are also more people coming down with the disease than any time in our nation's history --- both for the first time as well as relapses. This despite our national affluence, our scientific breakthroughs, and advanced level of health care.
Rather than leaving your health to 'blind luck', why not remove as much of the element of 'chance' from your life by doing the things that could potentially and dramatically improve your health? HERE is where I would start looking.
ANTIBIOTICS CAUSE CANCER
ANTIBIOTICS COULD EASILY PROVE TO BE THE SINGLE
WORST THING YOU DO FOR YOUR HEALTH!
- Dr. Christine Velicer of the University of Washington's Department of Epidemiology and her team of researchers published a study in the February 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (Antibiotic Use in Relation to the Risk of Breast Cancer). This study concluded that, "Use of antibiotics is associated with increased risk of incident and fatal breast cancer." Women who took less than 25 prescriptions of Antibiotics over a 17 year period had a 50% greater chance of developing BREAST CANCER than those who took none.
- The British Journal of Cancer published a study in Y2K called Does Antibacterial Treatment for Urinary Tract Infection Contribute to the Risk of Breast Cancer? In this study, researchers looked at the medical records of almost 9,500 women from 18 to 89 and stated in the study's abstract that, "Women reporting previous or present medication for urinary tract infection at baseline showed an elevated breast cancer risk in comparison with other women."
- In a recent study that was presented at the June 2013 annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the Antibiotic consumption of 86,000 individuals without Colon Cancer was compared to the Antibiotic consumption of 22,000 patients with Colorectal Cancer. The results revealed that those who took Antibiotics (particularly "penicillins, quinolones and metronidazole") had an approximately 10% greater chance of developing Colorectal Cancer. No other forms of cancer were studied. By the way, if you are even thinking about taking FLUOROQUINOLONES, you should first click on the link.
- There are any number of Alternative Doctors (including the brilliant KEVIN CONNERS of Minnesota) that believe Cancer is heavily related to yeast --- particularly CANDIDA. The chief method that people develop Systemic Candida (yeast infection throughout the body) is by taking Antibiotics.
- The November 2008 issue of the International Journal of Cancer published a massive study (Antibiotic Use Predicts an Increased Risk of Cancer) linking Antibiotic use to increased chances of developing numerous kinds of cancer, including that of the "prostate, breast, lung and colon". This study looked at over three million citizens of Finland, ages 30 to 79, who did not have cancer in the years between 1995-1997. The 134,000 cases of cancer diagnosed between 1998 and 2004 were compared to the medical records of the first goup to see if there was a link between the cancer and the amount of Antibiotics taken. Without getting into the specific numbers (all forms of cancer were increased substatially, and cancer of the ENDOCRINE SYSTEM was dramatically affected by antibiotics) suffice it to say that the chances of developing all forms of cancer were greater in those who had taken Antibiotics. The study's conclusions in the abstract were simple and straightforward. "In conclusion, antibiotic use predicts an increased risk of cancer."
I could keep going, but I am hoping you are beginning to get the picture. Antibiotics are bad news because they decimate the HEALTH OF YOUR GUT. We can't feign surprise because, after all, 80% of your body's total Immune system lives in your Gut (HERE). Not only do Antibiotics destroy your microbiome (the number of different species of good bacteria living in your Gut), but recent research is pointing to the fact that because Mitochondrial DNA is similar to the DNA of bacteria, Antibiotics destroy Mitochondrial function. You see, the Mitochondria are known as the "Powerhouse of the Cell". It's where all the energy to power your body comes from in the form of something called ATP (read more about this on our COLD LASER page). Research from one of last year's issues of Science Translational Medicine (Bactericidal Antibiotics Induce Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Oxidative Damage in Mammalian Cells) revealed how Antibiotics destroy health by destroying Mitochondrial function. Listen to these cherry-picked sentences from Jim Collins, a professor of biomedical engineering at Boston University, and his team (this is from the study's abstract).
"Prolonged antibiotic treatment can lead to detrimental side effects in patients, including ototoxicity [causes problems with hearing and balance], nephrotoxicity [kidney poisoning], and tendinopathy [HERE], yet the mechanisms underlying the effects of antibiotics in mammalian systems remain unclear. It has been suggested that bactericidal antibiotics induce the formation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) [Free Radicals --- known cancer-causers] in bacteria. We show that clinically relevant doses of bactericidal antibiotics—quinolones [HERE], aminoglycosides, and β-lactams—cause mitochondrial dysfunction and ROS overproduction in mammalian cells. We demonstrate that these bactericidal antibiotic–induced effects lead to oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, and membrane lipids. Mice treated with bactericidal antibiotics exhibited elevated oxidative stress markers in the blood, oxidative tissue damage, and up-regulated expression of key genes involved in antioxidant defense mechanisms....."
BREAST CANCER DIAGNOSIS
SHOULD YOU HAVE A DOUBLE MASTECTOMY?
Women who are diagnosed with Breast Cancer in one breast, frequently opt for the removal of both breasts as a preventative measure. I understand the thought process and emotions that lead to this decision, but is the decision based on good science? Let's look at a study that was published in the latest issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) that came out yesterday (Use of and Mortality After Bilateral Mastectomy Compared With Other Surgical Treatments for Breast Cancer in California, 1998-2011).
A joint study between Stanford University, USC, the Cancer Institute, the California Department of Health Services, and the CDC, looked at almost 200,000 California women who had been diagnosed with unilateral (one-sided) breast cancer. These women were followed for an average of approximately 7.5 years post-surgery. Here are a few quotes that I pulled out of this study word-for-word (emphasis mine).
- The increase in bilateral mastectomy use despite the absence of supporting evidence has puzzled clinicians and health policy makers...... Although fear of cancer recurrence may prompt the decision for bilateral mastectomy, such fear usually exceeds the estimated risk.
- In a time of increasing concern about OVERTREATMENT, the risk-benefit ratio of bilateral mastectomy warrants careful consideration and raises the larger question of how physicians and society should respond to a patient’s preference for a morbid, costly intervention of dubious effectiveness.
- Because bilateral mastectomy is an elective procedure for unilateral breast cancer and may have detrimental effects in terms of complications and associated costs as well as body image and sexual function, a better understanding of its use and outcomes is crucial to improving cancer care. ....patients’ preferences drive its use.....
- Although some studies reported patient satisfaction after bilateral mastectomy, others observed deleterious effects on body image, sexual function, and quality of life; moreover, repeat operations and complications (including flap failure, necrosis, and infection) are substantially more common with bilateral mastectomy than with other surgical procedures.
- By comparing all 3 surgical options for a patient with early-stage breast cancer, we found no mortality benefit associated with bilateral mastectomy compared with breast-conserving surgery, and higher mortality associated uniquely with unilateral mastectomy.
- The increase in bilateral mastectomy rate was greatest among women younger than 40 years: the rate increased from 3.6% in 1998 to 33.0% in 2011.
Here are the study's actual conclusions.
"Among all women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in California, the percentage undergoing bilateral mastectomy increased substantially between 1998 and 2011, despite a LACK OF EVIDENCE supporting this approach. Bilateral mastectomy was not associated with lower mortality than breast-conserving surgery plus radiation, but unilateral mastectomy was associated with higher mortality than the other options. These results may inform decision-making about the surgical treatment of breast cancer."
Pretty amazing stuff! As always, the information presented in this post is just that --- information. It is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, including Breast Cancer. Be sure to consult your doctor with any questions you may have. However, if you want to really start making a difference in your health, you need to read THESE POSTS.
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE & CANCER
IS THERE ANY SCIENCE BEHIND IT?
The annual meeting of the ASCO (the American Society of Clinical Oncology) is one of the biggest physician gatherings on cancer on the planet, and as you'll see, Dr. Gorski is concerned that "quackery" is invading his chosen profession. The session that Gorski was particularly upset about was called, "Integrative Oncology: The Evidence Base".
The list of alternatives that were discussed at the meeting (and then discussed by Dr. Gorski in his post) was as follows.
- Meditation and other “mind-body” therapies
- Optimal nutrition, special diets, and supplements
- Massage Therapies
- Music Therapy
- Acupuncture Treatment
If Dr. Gorski and other cancer doctors / policy makers really believe that diet and exercise are part of the "fortress" that makes up "science-based medicine", why don't we see this play out in the average patient's cancer treatment? I would contend that unless you are treating at a very select few cancer treatment facilities, you will not be provided with any (strong word, but it is the correct one) advice on diet or exercise. In my nearly three decades of experience with patients, the exact opposite is far more likely to occur (HERE). In fact, other than patients who have sought out "alternative" practices for treating their cancer either here in the States or in Mexico, I have yet to hear of a patient being given any sort of real / substantial advice concerning diet other than, "eat whatever you want" (see previous link). And why not? Especially if, as Dr. Gorski says, these are "science-based".
The truth is, "science" is not necessarily what we have always thought it was, or what we were taught it was while in school. All too often, science is paid for by the highest bidder, making large amounts of what we today refer to as EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE, anything but. As is always the case, I would suggest that you not blindly follow your doctor concerning anything. Do your own research and make educated decisions about your healthcare --- especially when it comes to CANCER.
DOES MAMMOGRAPHY SAVE LIVES?
LET'S LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE
FALSE POSITIVE: Tests that that show you have a certain disease or health problem, even though you do not have said disease or problem (or the problem is so non-invasive that it would never be an issue in your natural lifetime).
FALSE NEGATIVE: A test that fails to pick up the fact that you actually do have a certain disease or problem.
OVERDIAGNOSIS: Usually based on incorrect presumptions or "False Positive" tests. You are officially diagnosed with a disease or health problem you either do not have or is not aggressive enough to ever progress to overt symptoms.
OVERTREATMENT: Based on "Overdiagnosis". You are now actually treated for a disease or health problem you do not have or will never become a problem in your natural lifetime.
DEATH: The latest studies on this topic as it pertains to Breast Cancer and Mammograms are revealing that women who get regular mammograms have no less chance (some say they increase your chances) of dying of Breast Cancer than women who get no mammograms at all.
"Even with a specificity of 90%, most abnormal mammograms are false-positives. .....most of those cancers would probably not result in illness or death. Treatment of these cancers would constitute overtreatment. The magnitude of overdiagnosis due to mammographic screening is controversial, with estimates ranging from 0% to 54%.... It may be estimated that [due to excessive amounts of radiation] up to one breast cancer may be induced per 1,000 women aged 40 to 80 years undergoing annual mammograms." - From the National Institutes of Health's (National Cancer Institute) guidelines.
"In September 2010, the New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals, published the first study in years to examine the effectiveness of mammograms. Their findings are a far cry from what most public health officials would have you believe. The bottom line is that mammograms seem to have reduced cancer death rates by only 0.4 deaths per 1,000 women --- an amount so small it might as well be zero. Put another way, 2,500 women would have to be screened over 10 years for a single breast cancer death to be avoided." -Dr. Joseph Mercola
"This latest publication is just a longer-term follow-up of a study that was completed over a decade ago, so the fact that they did not find a benefit from mammograms is not new." - Richard Wender, MD: Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
- OSTEOPOROSIS DRUGS PREVENT FRACTURES: The truth is, Osteoporosis Drugs cause fractures. I have been warning people of this fact for over a decade (HERE). Fortunately, the powers that be are starting to admit this on a small level.
- HIGH CHOLESTEROL IS THE CHIEF CAUSE OF HEART ATTACKS: The underlying culprit in the vast majority of Heart Disease is INFLAMMATION and not CHOLESTEROL. This is one of the reasons why you do not want to be on STATIN DRUGS.
- VACCINES ARE SAFE: Whether we are talking about FLU SHOTS or VACCINES in general, they are anything but safe. Sure they prevent acute diseases. The problem is, here in America we have been trading acute illnesses for chronic, long-term NEURO-DEGENERATIVE DISEASES, AUTISM, AUTOIMMUNITY, CANCER, and ENDOCRINE PROBLEMS, for decades.
- DOCTORS DON'T PERFORM TESTS OR PRESCRIBE DRUGS THAT YOU DON'T ACTUALLY NEED: Really? Although I could show you dozens upon dozens of examples, just look at these two topics and try and convince me otherwise (HERE & HERE).
- ANTIBIOTICS KEEP OUR NATION HEALTHY: Although ANTIBIOTICS undoubtedly have the ability to save lives, their overuse has been a major causal factor in POOR GUT HEALTH (including LEAKY GUT SYNDROME and IBS) as well as a whole host of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES and DYSBIOSIS.
- AS LONG AS I DON'T HAVE DIABETES, MY BLOOD SUGAR IS FINE: HERE and HERE are solid proof that "Uncontrolled Blood Sugar" (even if your numbers are in the 'normal' range) is one of our nation's foundational health problems.
- ANTI-DEPRESSION DRUGS ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE: Because so many of you reading this post are on ANTI-DEPRESSION DRUGS, it would behoove you to click on the link and spend just a little bit of time reading before accusing me of speaking out of turn.
- ANNUAL PHYSICALS ARE A CRITICAL PART OF GOOD HEALTH: This is simply not true. Why not? Because of something you are going to learn a great deal about today ---- way too much over-treatment due to "False Positives". More on this topic to come.
- EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE IS A WONDERFUL WAY TO PRACTICE MEDICINE: EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE is the way doctors are currently forced to practice medicine by our bureaucracy-loving government. If you believe that this is improving your quality of care, you may want to click on the link.
Here's the thing folks; I could have included dozens of other examples of medical myths and sacred cows. If you want to read more about them, they're all over my site. But time is short. We need to get back to our question at hand. Is mammography a life saving diagnostic tool that leads to early detection of BREAST CANCER, and ultimately saves women's lives, or is it not? Let's cut straight to the chase.
- Routine mammograms should begin at age 50 instead of 40. They should also end at age 74.
- Women should receive a mammogram every other year instead of every year.
- Based on the most current peer-reviewed scientific literature, self-examination of the breasts (something that has been heavily promoted for decades) has little or no value.
According to a study published in this month's issue of BMJ (The British Medical Journal), Canadian researchers who started following a group of almost 90,000 women 25 years ago have come to some interesting conclusions concerning mammography and Breast Cancer. The women were divided into two groups ---- those who had annual mammography and those who had no mammography at all. Listen to the author's conclusions at the end of the 25 years. "Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does not reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination or usual care when adjuvant therapy [chemo / radiation] for breast cancer is freely available. Overall, 22% (106/484) of screen detected invasive breast cancers were over-diagnosed...." The study's lead author, Dr. Anthony B. Miller (M.D.), Professor Emeritus of the University of Toronto's School of Public Health clarified what they meant by going on to say that, "At the end of the screening period, an excess of 142 breast cancers occurred in the mammography arm compared with the control arm.... This implies that 22% (106 of 484) of the screen-detected cancers in the mammography arm were overdiagnosed".
In simple English, this means that 22% of those diagnosed with CANCER did not actually have Cancer. I would assume that most, if not all of these women then fell into the category of "Overtreated" In fact, there were researchers from around the world (Dr. Mette Kalager, MD, of the University of Oslo in Norway was one of the most renowned) who looked at the study and said that since the type of Breast Cancer called "ductal carcinoma in situ" that accounts for 25% of all Breast Cancers was not included in the study, the numbers would actually be worse than Miller's group determined --- significantly worse. Gulp. Dr. Kalager's team published an editorial in the same issue of BMJ titled, "Too Much Mammography". But not everyone agreed with these findings.
Two doctor's groups lost their collective minds over Miller's study --- The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI). They issued a joint statement accusing Miller and his colleagues of all sorts of underhanded and dirty tricks, as well as using shoddy research techniques and outdated equipment. In a statement issued by Miller that addressed every issue brought up by these two groups, he said that his team's study was undoubtedly "unwelcome to this highly financially conflicted group, but which will be of substantial interest to policy makers in considering the future of screening for breast cancer." Wow! Financial conflict-of-interest in medicine? You don't say. If you have a couple of minutes sometime, breeze through a few of our numerous articles on EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE to get a small taste of what Miller is up against as he takes on this sacred cow. The crazy thing about this research is that like Dr. Wender told us at the very top of the page, it's not really new information.
The November, 2012 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine published a study called, "Effects of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence". What were the conclusions of this thirty year study that looked crunched governmental statistics for the entire United States? Are you sitting down? The authors stated that, "we estimated that breast cancer was overdiagnosed (i.e., tumors were detected on screening that would never have led to clinical symptoms) in 1.3 million U.S. women in the past 30 years. We estimated that in 2008 alone, breast cancer was overdiagnosed in more than 70,000 women; this accounted for 31% of all breast cancers diagnosed. Despite substantial increases in the number of cases of early-stage breast cancer detected, screening mammography has only marginally reduced the rate at which women present with advanced cancer. Although it is not certain which women have been affected, the imbalance suggests that there is substantial overdiagnosis, accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, and that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer."
If you get out your calculator and do the math, this study showed a whopping 93% "False Positive" rate. Re-read that and let the magnitude of what it is implying about our current model of diagnosing and treating Breast Cancer sink in for a moment. And the final bite-in-the-butt for those of you keeping score at home is that they did not even include the Breast Cancers that were thought to have been caused by the ongoing HRT (Hormonal Replacement Therapy) fiasco (HERE), which would have made the numbers even worse. But that's not all. This study only dealt with False Positives. What about the "False Negatives"? Listen to what our government's NIH website has to say on this topic. "Assuming an average sensitivity of 80%, mammograms will miss approximately 20% of the breast cancers that are present at the time of screening (false-negatives)". 93% False Positives plus 20% False Negatives adds up to 113% --- an impossibility. Let's just say that the False Positives are over 50% (the government admitted in the quote from the very top of the post that, "most abnormal mammograms are false-positives"). Throw in the False Negatives and the absolute best you could hope for was 30% accuracy. Could be why recent studies are leading some doctors to conclude that women who get regular mammograms have a better chance of dying of Breast Cancer than those who do not get mammograms at all.
Patients who are not aware of this information are sitting ducks to be cajoled into doing things they do not want to do (I spoke of the same thing going on with appendicitis in THIS recent post on CT Scans --- a scenario that happened to our family three years ago). I have included a sample conversation from the average doctor's office to help you understand the situation. PATIENT: But doctor Smith, I really don't want to have that mammogram. I read on the internet that they aren't all they've been cracked up to be. DR. SMITH: I'm sorry Mrs. Jones, but if you don't agree to get the test, you'll have to find another doctor. And really; you should stop putting so much faith in articles you find on the internet. You know you can't trust any of that stuff anyway. Especially if it comes from Dr. Schierling's site. Trust me instead. I'm a doctor. This scenario is playing out all over the United States. The bottom line is that if you are a female who is concerned about Breast Cancer, whether for yourself, your daughters, or grand-daughters, you need to educate yourself. In my humble opinion, the best thing you can do is to stop the process before it starts ---- after all, this is what the word "Prevention" really means.
How do you prevent Breast Cancer? You would prevent it the same way you would try to prevent any Cancer --- or for that matter, practically any disease period (HERE). One of the very first things you need to do is to understand the relationship between Estrogen and Female Cancers. From there you can begin learning about something called "ESTROGEN DOMINANCE". Another important step in this puzzle would be figuring out how to resolve Estrogen Dominance before it begins fueling cellular mutations of the breast (HERE). As always, never take my word for anything. The internet has placed huge amounts of valuable information at your finger tips. Like I stated earlier, knowledge is power. Empower yourself and your family by learning more about Breast Cancer and the ways to stop it dead in its tracks before it ever has a chance to gain a hold in your life.
AMERICAN CANCER RATES SET TO EXPLODE
"We cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem." - Dr. Christopher Wild, director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as recently told to CNN.
TO CT OR NOT TO CT?
IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW BADLY YOU WANT CANCER
We've known for decades that ionizing radiation such as that used in X-rays can damage cellular DNA. Furthermore, DNA MUTATIONS lead not to new species as many biologists would tell us, they lead to CANCER. The problem with all of this is that few of us are aware of the extent to which cancer is directly related to CT scans and the mega-dosing of radiation which is inherent with the technology. And although it;s just starting to make its way into the mainstream media, none of this is new information.
The June 27, 2008 issue of Time Magazine said this about the situation, "A CT scan packs a mega-dose of radiation — as much as 500 times that of a conventional X-ray". Worse yet, the June 18, 2013 issue of Scientific American upped that by saying a single CT can blast an individual with as much as, "1,100 times the radiation of a conventional x-ray". Just check out some of the 'fun-facts' that that these authors pulled from the peer-reviewed research and governmental agencies.
"I, like many doctors, do not discuss the radiation risks of CT scans with my patients often enough, if at all." Dr. Anna Reisman from the August 2012 issue of Slate (Is your physician increasing your risk for cancer?).
"We routinely run the "Super Seven" on trauma patients, whether they really need it or not." From a conversation with a friend who is a rad tech in the ER department of a large hospital. In other words, if you've been in a car wreck or other accident you will automatically get seven different CT Scans.
A 2009 collaboration between the University of California, Kyung Hee University, Johns Hopkins University, the National Cancer Institute, and the University of Washington, showed that for every 4,300 head scans done on 20 year old females, there would be one additional case of cancer. How many head scans are done in the US each year? Although exact numbers are sketchy, approximately 10% of the U.S. population has a CT scan done each year, with a total of around 75 million (many people have more than one per year). The August 2010 issue of The Medical Post said that, "In Calgary, Canada 12.1% of people who present to the emergency with an urgent complaint received a CT scan, most commonly either of the head or of the abdomen". As near as I can tell, the numbers in America are similar.
A study funded by the National Cancer Institute and UK Department of Health and published in the August 2012 issue of the medical journal Lancet, stated that, "Use of CT scans in children... might almost triple the risk of leukemia and... might triple the risk of brain cancer. Radiation doses from CT scans ought to be kept as low as possible and alternative procedures, which do not involve ionising radiation, should be considered if appropriate." But it gets worse.
Dr. David Brenner ( Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics Director of the Center for Radiological Research, Director of the Radiological Research Accelerator Facility, Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, head of the Department of Radiation Oncology) of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University Medical Center published a review of the scientific literature in the November 2007 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine called Computed Tomography — An Increasing Source of Radiation Exposure. Cherry picking Brenner's conclusions reveals that.....
"CT involves much higher doses of radiation, resulting in a marked increase in radiation exposure in the population. There is a strong case to be made that too many CT studies are being performed in the United States. There is a considerable literature questioning the use of CT, or the use of multiple CT scans, in a variety of contexts, including management of blunt trauma, seizures, and chronic headaches, and particularly questioning its use as a primary diagnostic tool for acute appendicitis in children..... Part of the issue is that physicians often view CT studies in the same light as other radiologic procedures, even though radiation doses are typically much higher with CT than with other radiologic procedures. In a recent survey of radiologists and emergency-room physicians, about 75% of the entire group significantly underestimated the radiation dose from a CT scan, and 53% of radiologists and 91% of emergency-room physicians did not believe that CT scans increased the lifetime risk of cancer.... However, if it is true that about one third of all CT scans are not justified by medical need, and it appears to be likely, perhaps 20 million adults and, crucially, more than 1 million children per year in the United States are being irradiated unnecessarily."
Here's the bottom line. I could have found enough studies on this issue of OVERUSING ADVANCED IMAGING --- particularly CT, and the dangers it poses to one's health --- particularly the health of your children; to turn this section into a book . The research is all there online for you to dig into. You can go look it up and do it yourself if you are interested. However, before I sign off, I am going to leave you a story that is all too common here in the U.S.
Three years ago this week, MY THEN 12 YEAR OLD SON and I were looking forward to heading out to Idaho Springs, Colorado to spend a few days with the guy who cured my decade-long foot problem several years ago (SHAWN ENO OF XTREME FOOTWERKS). I was going to have some work done, and we were all going to hit the slopes for a couple of days (my son had taught himself to snowboard here in the Ozark Mountains with Shawn's old board, and was ready to move on to the real mountains).
Wouldn't you know it; he started complaining of a 'belly ache' the Saturday before we were to leave. Telling myself that there was no way he could come down with acute appendicitis right before our trip, I ran several simple check on him and then called my BROTHER --- an E.R. doctor at a large Midwestern hospital. In my heart, I already knew what I did not want to hear him say. Kevin confirmed the worst and told me we needed pack up and head to the the hospital. We drove to the nearest facility that could remove an appendix --- about half an hour from us, and began the 18 hour process.
After it was all over, my brother had told us that since Malachi had almost no body fat, a CT scan was a total waste of time and money. The reason for this is because a CT done for appendicitis looks for displacement of a local fat pad more than it looks at the appendix itself. I verified the gist of what he told me by looking up a March 2003 study of the results of a five years study that was published in the Journal of Pediatric Surgery (The Diagnosis of Acute Appendicitis in a Pediatric Population).
The study's conclusions stated that, "CT imaging was not significantly more accurate in predicting appendicitis than examination alone. Preoperative FACT-CC [focused appendiceal computed tomography with colon contrast (dye)] did not increase the accuracy in diagnosing appendicitis when compared with patients diagnosed by history, physical examination and laboratory studies [simple blood work]." But here's the kicker --- the thing that shows you what a waste this test really is. "If there was a strong suspicion of appendicitis, a negative CT scan did not exclude the diagnosis of appendicitis." In light of all this, why in the world would you order this as a 'standard' test for appendicitis, particularly in a kid?
Anyway, it still pisses me off that we were essentially held hostage as far as removing my son's appendix, until we agreed to the CT by signing on the dotted line. I regret the fact that I did not know this particular information, and did not fight harder. They, however, knew better. So much for EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE. The takeaway here is that imaging is rarely as good as it's been touted to be (HERE or HERE) and should be avoided if at all possible.
AMERICA'S WAR ON CANCER
ARE WE WINNING OR LOSING?
"The War on Cancer refers to the effort to find a cure for cancer by increased research to improve the understanding of cancer biology and the development of more effective cancer treatments, such as targeted drug therapies. The signing of the National Cancer Act of 1971 by then U.S. President Richard Nixon is generally viewed as the beginning of the war on cancer, though it was not described as a "war" in the legislation itself" -Wikipedia
"With $200 billion spent and tens of millions of cancer deaths accumulated since 1971, most would say we are losing the war on cancer. Cancer is the top killer worldwide, responsible for 7.4 million or 13 percent of all deaths annually. In America cancer will soon overtake heart disease as the top killer, claiming more than half million lives annually." Christopher Wanjek from the July 14, 2009 issue of Livescience, (40 Years After Moon Landing: Why Can't We Cure Cancer)?
"The 'lack of consistent nutritional guidelines' for cancer patients -- and for many other patients as well -- is a failing that needs to be confronted, and corrected, by us as clinicians." CNN health correspondent, neurosurgeon, professor of neurosurgery at Emory University, and associate chief of the neurosurgery service at Grady Memorial Hospital (Atlanta), Sanjay Gupta, MD.
"Every New Year when the government publishes its Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer, it is followed by a familiar lament. We are losing the war against cancer." George Johnson from a January 4, 2014 article in the New York Times called Why Everyone Seems to Have Cancer.
“More money by itself is not going to solve anything.” Cancer survivor, editor or Fortune Magazine, and author of the book The Truth In Small Doses: Why We’re Losing The War on Cancer — and How to Win It:
“It’s the food, people!” - Bill Maher
My personal opinion is that despite certain individuals winning their personal battle with CANCER, as a nation, we seem to be losing the war (cancer has jumped up to a neck-and-neck position with Cardiovascular Disease for the top spot as our nation's number one killer). Off the top of my head and in no particular order, here are a few of the reasons that I think we will not, at least in the foreseeable future, get a handle on our nation's cancer problem.
- DEFEATING CANCER IS NOT JUST A MONEY ISSUE: Doggone it people; if we could just raise more money we could cure cancer! Even though this is what we have been told our whole lives, it's simply not true. In the same way that Big Government has fought and lost other similar 'wars' (LBJ's War on Poverty and Disease comes immediately to mind), more money does not always equal better results. It's chiefly the government (the American taxpayer) who is funding this war against cancer; and the truth is, there might be something the government does better than the private sector --- I just haven't figured out what it is yet. Either way --- whether it's public research dollars or private research dollars being used --- you are soon going to see why cancer is not just a "raise-more-money" issue (HERE).
- CANCER IS NOT JUST ONE SINGLE DISEASE: One of the things that most people do not realize is that cancer is not just one single disease. It is a whole host of different diseases (there are literally hundreds of types of cancer) with different causes (ionizing radiation, chemical exposure, viruses, molds / fungus, crappy diet, SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION, etc, etc, etc). The common denominator is that they all end up with the body in a state of runaway cell growth and division. Even though there are certain areas where we have made great strides against certain types of cancer, there is never going to be that "magic bullet" solution for 'cancer' that so many people dream of and discuss.
- TOO MUCH EMPHASIS ON GENETICS / NOT ENOUGH EMPHASIS ON EPIGENETICS: Just a few short years ago, people thought that genetics were going to be the solution to almost everything that could go wrong with a person's health --- including cancer. What are we now seeing? We have learned that in many (if not most) cases, EPIGENETICS trumps genetics in a big way. In other words, although "bad" genes may be present, they do not cause problems until they are triggered by "bad" lifestyle choices. I believe that one of the reasons people love the "genetics" point so much, is that it relieves us of personal responsibility, while scape-goating our ancestors. Epigenetics puts the onus back on us.
- TOO MANY PEOPLE STILL SMOKE AND TAKE TOO MANY PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: If you SMOKE and / or take lots of DRUGS (prescription, non-prescription, or recreational), you are exposing yourself to lots of chemicals. Guess what folks? Chemical exposure is one of the medically-recognized causes of cancer. In fact, if you want to give yourself the willies, take a moment to look at the research on chemotherapy as a cancer-causing agent.
- WE IGNORE THE RESEARCH AND RESULTS OF THOSE WHO FIGURED MUCH OF THIS OUT A CENTURY AGO: Just look at the work of MAX GERSON (a medical doctor who cured case after case after case of cancer --- nutritionally). Then there's OTTO WARBURG (a German biochemist whose Nobel Prize was based on his 1931 discovery that cancer cells survive via fermentation, and that the primary fuel for this process is sugar (HERE). These and numerous other pioneers are simply blown off as irrelevant fuddy duddies of a bygone era. After all, we are sooooo much smarter today than people used to be --- aren't we? If you really believe that, take a couple hours to review the writings of our Founding Fathers.
- IN THE WAR AGAINST CANCER, NUTRITION MATTERS: This is 2014. Should I really need to tell you that nutrition matters in the battle against cancer? If you read THIS POST, you will quickly realize that yes; I do. Unfortunately, most doctors know very little about nutrition (HERE), and because of this, do virtually nothing to help you combat cancer nutritionally. It's all about drugs and surgery. My humble opinion is that even if you are going to go the conventional route in your battle against the "Big C", would it not make sense to feed your body OPTIMALLY?
- INFLAMMATION AND THE CRAPPY AMERICAN DIET: This one, folks, encompasses a lot of ground. Although everyone thinks they know what INFLAMMATION is, I don't find one person in 1,000 (even those in the healthcare community) who really has a clue. Click on the link and you'll see how Inflammation is the basis for virtually every single major disease process in America ---- including Cancer. Although there are many charlatans out there trying to sell you a boatload of Nutritional Supplements to "cure" your cancer, some COMMON SENSE CHANGES to your diet can be a difference maker --- particularly before you develop the disease. Sure, there might be some supplements that could seriously benefit you and your particular condition. But if you do not get your diet under control and start to figure out what other aspects of your life are 'driving' inflammation, true health will be elusive.
- UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR: No two ways about it, we eat way too much sugar and High Glycemic Index (simple) carbohydrates here in America. Part of the problem is that ALMOST EVERY DISEASE YOU CAN IMAGINE (including cancer -- HERE) is being tied directly back to Uncontrolled Blood Sugar. This is even true in those who have not (yet) been diagnosed with Diabetes (HERE). In the same way that a smoker can count on dying a long, drawn out, painful death; if you can't get your SUGAR HABIT under control, you will likely be looking forward to similar. Deal with blood sugar or expect to be dealing with an increasing array of health-related problems as you get older. Many of these health problems will keep you from ever reaching a ripe old age. Or maybe even worse, they have the power make your time here on earth utterly miserable (HERE).
- OBESITY: Unfortunately, OBESITY has been linked to almost every type of Cancer (including BREAST CANCER). 75% of our population is either overweight or obese if you count those who are MONW.
- TOTAL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GUT HEALTH: Even though 80% of your entire Immune System is found in your Gut (HERE), few people are aware of this or have any idea about GUT HEALTH and why it is so critical for your overall health. Once you understand that LEAKY GUT SYNDROME is one of the foundations of almost all disease processes, you'll begin to wonder why you have not heard this information before. On top of that, unless we are making a concerted effort to the contrary, many of us are literally swimming in a sea of ANTIBIOTICS --- a class of drug that has done more to destroy our collective Gut Health than almost anything else in America (HERE).
- WE DON'T EXERCISE OR MOVE ANYMORE: Not that exercise or physical activity is going to keep you from getting Cancer, but there is ample evidence telling us that it is a beneficial part of the puzzle.
- OUR BODY SYSTEMS ARE TOXIC: We are over-exposed to chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, MERCURY, MOLD, ALUMINUM, SYNTHETIC HORMONES, cleaners, cosmetics / perfumes, GLUTEN, and so many other things, that our Immune Systems are on overload and our livers cannot purge it from our bodies fast enough.
- WE ARE STRESSED OUT: We live in a pedal-to-the-metal society that frequently leaves us feeling like a dog chasing its tail. This not only leads to FIBROMYALGIA / ADRENAL FATIGUE, but to SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE as well. The result is a grab bag of diseases straight out of Pandora's Box ---- one of which is cancer.
- THERE IS SIMPLY TOO MUCH MONEY AT STAKE: I get it. This sounds suspiciously like something a conspiracy theorist would say over a cup of coffee down at Flo's. However, if you still don't believe that the modern practice of "Corporate Medicine" is largely about money, you have not been paying attention. HERE are a few of the posts I've written over the past couple of years on the myth of Evidence-Based Medicine. Take a couple minutes to scan over them and you'll quickly realize I'm more correct than incorrect. Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that most doctors are greedy, money-mongering, heartless, saps. What I am saying is that the system itself is so filthy, one can't swim in it and not come out seriously tainted / jaded / changed.
The bottom line is that there is no "cure" for Cancer. I certainly hope I am wrong, but I'm not convinced there ever will be. Either the body heals itself, or it doesn't. It's really that simple. Sure, there are things we can do, both naturally or conventionally, to help boost our chances. But neither medicine nor money will save you if your body and Immune System are weak. So why not work at keeping them both strong?
Don't wait until you receive "The Diagnosis" to start doing something about this ugly problem. What are my recommendations? Easy. It will help you to come to the realization that even though every individual person is a little bit different and will require a unique approach, ALL DISEASE is really one big thing. Once you understand this, you have a much greater chance of defeating Cancer --- or better yet; preventing it before it ever starts. And if you understand the information in the link, you'll quickly realize that the same basic protocol is going to help you deal with virtually all health-related problems. MS? Same essential protocol. Lupus? Not much different. Heart Disease? I'm starting to sound redundant.
- PALEO DIET: I keep hearing from certain corners how bad meat is for you --- particularly if you have cancer. I'm not buying it. Especially in light of the new research on CANCER AND KETOGENIC DIETS. The diet I recommend for almost anyone with Chronic Illness is some version or another of PALEO. Read the link to understand why. You may want to read about the sugar-starving KETOGENIC DIET as well.
- EXERCISE, AND DO IT SMARTER: THESE LINKS will show you the right way and wrong ways to go about exercising. Don't worry if you can only do a little right now. It's OK. Keep after it and things will change.
- LOSE THE EXCESS WEIGHT: This is doubly true for those of you with significant amounts of BELLY FAT. If you read and follow the advice in THESE POSTS (and as long as you don't have some sort of AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE, hidden anemia, or other chronic health issue), you will lose weight. If you chose to ignore your weight, you have an uphill battle in your "war" against cancer.
If you already have Cancer, educate yourself ---- and not just with the standard line sold by conventional medicine. Preventing cancer --- or even holistically treating people with cancer (whether using conventional therapies or not) --- is, in many ways, not that much different than TREATING PEOPLE STRUGGLING WITH AUTOIMMUNITY or any number of other SERIOUS DISEASES? Do I treat cancer in my clinic? Of course not (disclaimer below)! But, if I personally had Cancer, the person I would seek out is Dr. Kevin Conner of Vadnais Heights, Minnesota. Brilliant Christian guy who has devoted his life to helping people struggling with this and other nasty chronic illnesses (he has numerous books available for free download, including, "Stop Fighting Cancer, and Start Treating the Cause".
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
Brain Based Therapy
Can You Help
Cardio Or Strength
Cold Laser Therapy
Death By Medicine
Degenerative Joint Disease
D's Of Chronic Pain
Evidence Based Medicine
Gluten Cross Reactivity
Ice Or Heat
Jacks Fork River
Leaky Gut Syndrome
Number One Health Problem
Platelet Rich Therapy
Post Surgical Scarring
Re Invent Yourself
Rib And Chest Pain
Scar Tissue Removal
Sleeping Pills Kill
Stay Or Go
Stretching Post Treatment
Tensegrity And Fascia
The Big Four
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Whole Body Vibration