(NaturalNews) As we near the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) most people are unaware of the dark history of BCAM and of the players past and present who have misused it to direct people and funds away from finding a true cure, while covering up their own roles in causing and profiting from cancer. In this installment of the series we will examine the role of misdirected research into the real causes for breast cancer and the safety and wisdom of mammograms and mastectomies.
Thanks to the control of the boards of government institutions, charities, foundations and other agencies by members of the pharmaceutical and cancer treatment industries and by others who either profit from cancer or else have reasons to hide their products that contribute to cancer, research into cancer prevention and cures has changed little since Breast Cancer Awareness Month was formed.
Prevention still focuses mainly on early screening and detection, including extensive use of mammograms, some attention to diet and lifestyle and precious little on toxins and environmental factors. Likewise, research into cures continues to pour into surgery, patentable chemo drugs and radiation – the same methods that have been used since the inception of the War on Cancer. Despite some optimistic juggling of statistics, the fact remains that more people are acquiring and dying of cancer each year by relying on such tried and failed methods.
Lest one point fingers only at Breast Cancer Awareness shortcomings, it should be pointed out that the deception and misdirection that permeate much of BCAM are merely the latest chapter in a very old story when it comes to avoiding and beating cancer. A striking example is the "Council for Tobacco Research" (CTR). Over a period of about 42 years, the tobacco companies pumped about $300 million dollars into the CTR. Its public purpose was to find out if there was a relationship between tobacco and lung cancer. Its real purpose was to flood the medical journals with bogus scientific studies which could not seem to find a relationship between tobacco and lung cancer.
1,500 "scientists" took money from the CTR. They had to know exactly what was going on because they knew they had to design a study which pretended to find a relationship, but in fact totally failed to find a relationship.
Mammograms and the Dangers of Radiation
A study by researchers from the University of Nebraska and the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Ill cast fresh doubt on the widespread assumption that regular mammograms save lives, showing that 2,970 women must be screened for breast cancer in order to prevent even one death.
"For a woman in the screening subset of mammography-detectable cancers, there is a less than 5 percent chance that a mammogram will save her life," wrote the researchers.
In 2001, a study known as the Cochrane analysis found that if 2,000 women underwent regular screening for 10 years, one life would be saved but another 10 women would undergo unnecessary treatment such as surgery or radiation. Noting that it was difficult to determine which cancers would have led to death or even symptoms in the absence of treatment, the researchers concluded that it is "not clear whether screening does more harm than good."
Few will debate the value of early screening and detection, but what most doctors will not tell you, and many are unaware of, is that there is a much safer and more effective tool for early screening: thermography. As was reported in Natural News last December, a breast thermogram has the ability to identify a breast abnormality five to ten years before the problem can be found on a mammogram. Furthermore, a thermogram does not use radiation, and can be done as frequently as anyone thinks is necessary. Thermograms work by creating infra-red images (heat pictures) that are then analyzed to find asymmetries anywhere in the chest and underarm area. Breast thermography detects patterns of heat generated by the increased circulation produced by abnormal metabolic activity in cancer cells. This activity occurs long before a cancer starts to invade new tissue.
Mastectomies – Prevention or Unnecessary Mutilation?
As a result of mammograms and MRI`s, many women, with the advice and consent of their doctors, opt to have radical mastectomies, which involve removal of one or both breasts along with underlying muscle tissue and lymph nodes under the arm. However, many researchers say that mastectomies are unnecessary for most women suffering from breast cancer.
Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 showed cutting out just the lumps of diseased tissue can save as many lives as removing the whole breast. Findings of the studies showed similar death rates after 20 years for large groups of women who underwent either mastectomies or breast-saving surgery.
A study of 1,851 women at the University of Pittsburgh found little survival differences between two similar groups. A similar study was done at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan where 701 women were split into two groups: one received mastectomies and the other had lumps removed and radiation treatment. About a quarter of each group died of breast cancer over 20 years.
According to researchers, survival does not depend on such surgery because breast cancer is fundamentally a systemic disease, not one that simply spreads from an initial site.
"Many women who could have undergone more narrow surgery have chosen mastectomies on the theory that you get it out, and you`re not going to have any trouble," stated Dr. Bernard Fisher, who led the Pittsburgh study.
In the next installment of this series we will take a look at the dangers of over-screening for cancer and the lack of progress in breast cancer prevention and cures.