Interesting Information: March 16, 2016
“Cancer Screening Has Never Saved Lives”
Here’s how the article begins:
Millions have marched for “cancer causes.” Millions more have been diagnosed “early” and now believe screening saved their lives. But a new study confirms something we have been reporting on since our inception: In most cases, screening not only has not “saved lives,” but actually increases your risk of dying.
First, what is The BMJ?
The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) is an international peer reviewed medical journal and a fully online first publication. The website is updated daily with original articles, podcasts, videos, and blogs and organised into four main content streams—research, education, news and views, and campaigns. In addition, the site is fully searchable, with an archive back to 1840 and numerous topic collections on clinical and non-clinical subjects. Articles of relevance to specific countries and regions are grouped together on country portals.
My understanding is that medical claims of screening efficacy are based on yet another “medical math” con job. Success is being measured by claimed reductions in a specific disease due to early discovery, not by overall mortality figures. So, if I am understanding correctly, if someone is diagnosed and treated for disease X and dies from anything but that disease, that disease is not credited with the death. Nor is the screening. Nor are the treatments. By looking at OVERALL death, a truer picture emerges. Think about it, lots of folks die from conditions caused by screening methods, like cancer from too many x-rays. When screenings are followed by cut, poison, burn treatments, many of which cause other diseases, other cancers, more death occurs. But under the current system, the real death picture is not being captured. Instead, something like pneumonia might be on the death certificate. But, what caused the pneumonia? What caused the eruption of other cancers?
Further, the major medical committees that review, say, mammographies and prostrate screenings, are saying these screenings are not reducing survival at all. Rather, for much of the time, these screenings are leading to unnecessary and ineffective treatments. Yet, up here in Maine, our newspapers are full of ads urging people to come and be screened. Why? Screenings make money not only in and of themselves, but in the treatments that follow. Science is not involved here. Or your health. Money is.
Further still, the cancer industry has Americans by the throat–in that people all over the world are experiencing genuine cancer cures. But that information, those cures, are not being recognized or utilized by the American cancer industry. They are making far too much money to shift gears. So, we are living with a rigged system. And it’s killing us.
Here’s an abstract:
The claim that cancer screening saves lives is based on fewer deaths due to the target cancer. Vinay Prasad and colleagues argue that reductions in overall mortality should be the benchmark and call for higher standards of evidence for cancer screening
Despite growing appreciation of the harms of cancer screening,1 2 3 advocates still claim that it “saves lives.”4 This assertion rests, however, on reductions in disease specific mortality rather than overall mortality.
Using disease specific mortality as a proxy for overall mortality deprives people of information about their chief concern: reducing their risk of dying.5 6 Although some people may have personal reasons for wanting to avoid a specific diagnosis, the burden falls on providers to provide clear information about both disease specific and overall mortality and to ensure that the overall goal of healthcare—to improve quantity and quality of life—is not undermined.7
In this article we argue that overall mortality should be the benchmark against which screening is judged and discuss how to improve the evidence upon which screening rests.