Dr. Pam did a pretty good job on most of these items, but there are several serious, one might say, glaring, errors that could damage women’s health in major ways.
Let’s start with mammograms: they under diagnose breast cancer AND over diagnose it. That is to say, 30% of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) is missed by mammograms (false negative), another 30% is diagnosed when it is absent (false positive) for an accuracy rate of 40%. Not only that, the process itself is harmful since both the radiation and compression can damage tissue.
The harm from a false negative is obvious. The harm from a false positive, highlighted recently in an article in the British Medical Journal (Possible Net Harms of Breast Cancer Screening: Updated Modelling of Forrest Report, British Medical Journal, December 8, 2011: 343; d7627) comes about through lumpectomies, mastectomies and other unnecessary interventions such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Just how good is the diagnostic acumen of pathologists after a mammogram shows DCIS? Not very.
Despite what most people believe, there simply are no diagnostic standards for D.C.I.S. Even if there were such standards, there are no requirements that the pathologists doing the readings have specialized expertise or training in this area. Shahla Masood, MD, is the head of pathology at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. She told the New York Times: “There are studies that show that diagnosing these borderline breast lesions occasionally comes down to the flip of a coin.”
Hmm. I want to bet my life on the flip of a pathologist’s coin and I’ll bet you do, too! Not!
As if that were not bad enough, it turns out that the pre-menopausal breast is particularly sensitive to radiation so that “each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.” according to renowned environmental physician, Dr. Samuel Epstein.
Actually, it is worse than that: mammograms, despite the super pink ribbons on everything hype, do very little, perhaps nothing at all, to save the lives of the people who get them: “A 10 percent reduction [in death from breast cancer – Dr. Rima] would mean that if 1,000 50-year-old women were screened over a decade, 996 women rather than 995.6 would not die from the cancer — an effect so tiny it may have occurred by chance.” according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (New England Journal of Medicine September 23, 2010; 363(13):1203-10).
Dr. Charles B. Simone, who was a clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, says,
“Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth.”
Thermography, which detects the heat that a tumor generates (tumors have increased blood flow and metabolic rates compared to normal tissue) on the other hand, accurately identifies cancers years before they become apparent on any other visualization or test. It is safe, inexpensive, quick and accurate. Obviously a good choice if health is the issue, but not if billable services is the point of the exercise.
Diet, exercise, self-examination and high antioxidant intake are vital to prevention of cancer, breast or otherwise. It would be far wiser to have a discussion with your patient, Dr. Pam, about these issues than to write a prescription for a mammogram.
Second, the cholesterol screening is absurd. A very small percentage of people actually have high cholesterol. What they do have is high oxidative stress (free radical damage) plus artificially lowered cholesterol standards.
Dr. Pam, you would be well advised to go back to biochemistry and review where cholesterol comes from and what it does in the body. Drug companies have a huge, and totally disingenuous, interest in making sure that more people, and ever more people, take cholesterol-lowering drugs.
First of all, they are blockbuster money producers. Second of all, they lead to a great many other problems, all of which lead then to the consumption of more, and ever more, medical services and drugs.
For example, every sex hormone is built on a cholesterol scaffold: lower cholesterol and you have just guaranteed the sale of a great deal of medication designed to compensate, for example, in men, for erectile dysfunction and in women, in hormone replacement therapy.
Not only that, lowering cholesterol, which comprises more than 50% of the brain by weight, will result in depression and other emotional and mental illnesses: more drug bounty! And, as we know, once people get on the psychoactive medication drug merry-go-round, they usually stay on it for the rest of their lives. Mmmmm! MMMMoney!
Wait! There’s more! The body actually produces cholesterol for a reason: it acts as a bandage when damage occurs to the living of the walls of the arteries so if the body is making a lot of it, there is probably a need for it. Why not treat that instead of damaging an essential response mechanism that the body is using to protect and heal itself? Well, because that takes time, which doctors have allowed to be ripped from them by agreeing to practice medicine the same way that you build a car: in tiny, disconnected segments, without adequate time to know, and care for, their patients.
The drug companies have been deeply instrumental in artificially and nonsensically lowering “normal” cholesterol levels. Why? so they can sell drugs to younger and therefore more, people, now to include children as young as eight years.
No, Dr. Pam, the issue is not cholesterol level. It is antioxidant level and chronic inflammation.
All of these conditions can be first prevented and then treated with nutrients, life style alterations and detoxification. All of them.
I know, because I have been doing that in my drug-free practice of medicine and psychiatry for more than 40 years as a licensed physician.
Oh, and high quality vitamins and mineral supplements are essential, since they are deficient in modern foods and make believe, processed and poisoned PHUDES. These dangerous imitation pseudo-nutrients are the product of industrial production and are seriously toxic.
How about discussing that with your patients, Dr. Pam?
Oh, yes, although it was not mentioned in the article, if you are interested in your patient’s well-being as they move through the life cycle, Dr. Pam, I advise you to advise your patients that any vaccine will weaken their immune systems and, in fact, shots like the flu shot, which contains aluminum as well as mercury, will increase their chances of developing neuro-degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease by hundreds of percentage points for each time they get vaccinated.
You might also want to be sure to advise against such absurdities as the shingles (Herpes zoster) vaccine which, according to the CDC, seriously harms 1 patient for each 2.8 patients vaccinated with it and does not work in something like, again, according to the CDC, 98-99% of cases.