Examining the Dangers of Cancer Screening

Aug 1, 2009 by

Examining the Dangers of Cancer Screening

It’s human nature, when given a diagnosis of cancer, to want to get rid of it. But prostate cancer treatment is not benign. Surgical complications include difficulty urinating (17 percent), urinary incontinence (28 percent), and inability to have an erection (more than 50 percent). Radiation damages the rectum and can cause diarrhea and bowel urgency. Side effects of androgen suppression range from sexual dysfunction to risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Much of this treatment is completely unwarranted. Remember, the majority of prostate cancer is pseudodisease. Most men die with it, not of it.

What Tests Should You Get?
So which tests should you get and when should you get them? It depends on who you listen to. Unfortunately, there’s no clear consensus among expert panels and advocacy groups, so confusion reigns.

I hesitate to make blanket recommendations. However, before you have a test, I strongly encourage you to understand both the pros-the slim but potentially lifesaving possibility that early-stage, clinically significant cancer will be found and treated-and the cons-the high risk of false positives, additional testing, anxiety, and unnecessary treatment. That way, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the outcome, whatever it may be.

Think Twice
I understand that this is an emotionally charged issue. Cancer is scary and the treatments for it are as frightening as the disease itself. If you have symptoms of cancer, by all means see a doctor and discuss appropriate testing.

Otherwise, think twice. If your physician orders a cancer screening test, question its necessity. Doctors sometimes suggest these tests for all the wrong reasons: fears of malpractice, financial incentives, and even patient demand. Find out what course would be recommended if your results were positive. Then review the information in this article, read Dr. Welch’s book, and make your own educated decision.

Next time you hear that someone who died of cancer would have been saved if only he’d had regular testing, realize that’s nothing more than unsubstantiated opinion. And, whatever you do, don’t let anyone make you feel irresponsible if you elect not to undergo cancer screening.

*SEER. Cancer of the breast. National Cancer Institute. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/breast.html Accessed Sept. 2, 2008.
*US Preventive Services Task Force. Guide to Clinical Preventive Services. http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/cps3dix.htm#cancer Accessed Aug 25, 2008.
*Welch HG. Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 2004.

Reprinted from Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. For information on subscribing to this newsletter, visit www.drwhitaker.com or call (800) 539-8219.

About Julian Whitaker, MD: America’s Wellness Doctor, Julian Whitaker, MD, is a pioneer in alternative medicine and founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, CA, the country’s largest alternative medicine clinic. Since 1979, Whitaker Wellness has helped more than 40,000 patients reverse serious health problems with lifestyle changes, nutritional supplements, and other safe, nontoxic therapies.

Source: NaturalNews.com (http://www.naturalnews.com/026558_cancer_cancer_screening_Prostate.html)

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  1. Jo Firth

    Good story.
    Thankfully most of us do not get cancer, and the more we look, the more we are going to find.
    I target women under 50, and encourage them to take practical steps to immprove their health and hormonal balance, so they reduce their risk of possible diagnosis.
    Most women have breast “symptoms” of some kind – lumps, pain, tenderness, discharge, inversion, etc. Most will not be diagnosed. Knowledge is power, to reassure them they are OK, and to take steps to reduce their risk, by improving their condition and getting on and enjoying life.
    There are options out there for women of all ages, now, to monitor their breast health and look for the early clues that may cause a problem in the future. Easier to aim to nip it in the bud early.

  2. Eliz52 (Aust)

    Totally agree with you, but try being a woman and refusing a pap test. Cervical screening has always been considered mandatory unlike prostate screening. I believe it’s because the hugely expensive program (full of vested interests) rests on a knife edge and was never suitable for mass screening – a rare cancer and an unreliable test means forcing most women into testing and harming most of them to some degree.
    I was onto them from the start, but it’s been awful to see the control, disrespect, arrogance, rudeness, coercive measures, pain, indignity, humiliation and damage this testing causes to help a very small number of women and all with no informed consent. Very few women give informed consent for the test and most don’t even consent – they’re forced to have the test if they want birth control pills or HRT and the test is often required if you want to join a volunteer program or the military. Those measures are employed in the States, here doctors use the consult situation to ambush women, achieve targets and collect payments from the Govt and we’re subjected to dishonest scare campaigns by Papscreen.

    Less than 1% of women benefit from smears (around 0.65% is the lifetime risk of cervical cancer in Australia, it’s also less than 1% in the States) but 95% of American women and 77% of Aussie women will be referred after an “abnormal” pap test – almost all are false positives. Many women think these false positives were about cancer and go on to consider themselves cancer survivors. Of course, some treatment leaves no pathology so women assume they had cancer or pre-cancer that would have progressed to cancer.
    This means most women believe this cancer to be rampant – the level of fear about this cancer is out of all proportion to the actual risk of this rare cancer.
    In Angela Raffle’s book, “Screening” she mentions mouth cancer occurs as frequently as cervical cancer – few women worry about mouth cancer and we don’t have every tiny odd-looking cell blasted off or cut out, do we? Screening has created the fear, not the cancer.
    Some women who have unnecessary biopsies and treatments are left with psych issues and/or cervical damage – cervical stenosis (that can mean endometriosis, infections, surgery, infertility) or cervical incompetence (miscarriages, high risk pregnancy requiring cervical cerclage, premature babies and c-sections)…
    My younger sister had a false positive and ended up having a cone biopsy – a devastating experience, yet this procedure is often dismissed as “minor” by doctors and Papscreen.
    This testing and treatment involves a very private part of our body – yet there is zero respect for a woman’s right to REAL information and a say in whether she tests or not – it’s like running ewes through sheep dip. Women who choose not to screen are called uneducated, reckless, silly, crazy, lower-class…etc
    We get half-truths, manipulations of the truth, lies, fiddled-with statistics, scare campaigns and our doctors receive UNDISCLOSED financial incentives when they reach targets for pap tests (in the UK, NZ and Australia) – so our doctors have a potential conflict of interest. Papscreen often refer to third world rates of cervical cancer to scare and mislead women, they don’t mention false positives even though 77% of women who screen will have one and they exaggerate the risk of the cancer and the benefit of the test and they get away with it decade after decade ….I’ve never heard a Dr challenge the “information” that is provided to women.

    I don’t have pap tests, as an informed woman, doctors back off very quickly. I also declined mammograms due to concerns about false positives and over-diagnosis.

    There is no informed consent in women’s cancer screening.
    Hopefully, more articles like this will provide women with the information they need and the confidence to defend themselves in consult situations and make the right decision for their body, their level of risk. Cancer screening is an option, not a law, for men AND for women.

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