In 2013, the Swiss Medical Board, an independent health technology assessment initiative, was requested to prepare a review of mammography screening. The team of medical professionals included a medical ethicist, a clinical epidemiologist, a pharmacologist, an oncologic surgeon, a nurse scientist, a lawyer, and a health economist. Two of those members, Nikola Biller-Andorno, M.D. Ph. D. and Peter Juni, M.D, opened up about the project in the New England Journal of Medicine.
They said: “As we embarked on the project, we were aware of the controversies that have surrounded mammography screening for the past 10-15 years. When we received the available evidence and contemplated its implications in detail, however, we became increasingly concerned.”
In 2016, it is estimated that approximately 246,660 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the United States as well as 61,000 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Mammograms continue to be touted as the most effective screening tool we have today to find breast cancer.
However, these two doctors were shocked to discover that there is minimal evidence that actually indicates that the benefits of mammography screening outweigh the harms.
“The relative risk reduction of approximately 20 percent in breast-cancer mortality associated with mammography that is currently described by most expert panels came at the price of a considerable diagnostic cascade, with repeat mammography, subsequent biopsies, and over-diagnosis of breast cancers — cancers that would never have become clinically apparent.”
The Canadian National Breast Screening Study, which was conducted over the course of 25 years, concluded that 106 of 484 screen-detected cancers were over-diagnosed.
The doctors explained: “This means that 106 of the 44,925 healthy women in the screening group were diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer unnecessarily, which resulted in needless surgical interventions, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or some combination of these therapies.”
The fact that the benefits of this form of cancer screening are so overestimated seems worrisome for the medical community and patients at large. How, in this day and age, do we not have more awareness, more answers, and better technology?
Another review of 10 trials involving more than 600,000 women discovered no evidence that mammography screening was effective on overall mortality. This caused concern over the benefits of the medical practice. A survey of U.S. women’s views on the mammography screenings discovered that 71.5 percent of women think that it lessened risk of death from breast cancer by half, while 72.1 percent believed that 80 deaths could be avoided per each 1,000 women screened. Their perceptions were gravely over-calculated. In fact, when looking at the real numbers, mammography results in a risk reduction of 20 percent and only 1 death can be prevented per 1,000 women screened.
The Swiss Medical Board report became public in February 2014, provoking the board to advise that the quality of mammography screening ought to be evaluated and that women should be educated about both the benefits and the harms of the medical practice.
The report created controversy within the Swiss medical community, even though it supports a growing perspective around the world that mammography for breast cancer screening in asymptomatic populations is outdated and harmful at best.
When reviewing the data in regards to every breast cancer death prevented in U.S. women over a 10-year period of yearly screening starting at the age of 50, you will find that:
- 490-670 women usually have a false positive mammogram with repeat examination
- 70-100 women usually have an unnecessary biopsy
- 3-14 women were the victim of over-diagnosed breast cancer that would never reach clinical relevance
Furthermore, up to 50 percent of women have breast tissue that is dense. This makes it very hard to read mammograms correctly, as dense breast tissue and cancer both show up white on an X-ray.
Due to the lack of evidence in support of mammography and the clear potential risks involved with them, the board chose to recommend cancelling mammography-screening programs altogether. Although their recommendations are not legally binding, the report caused an uproar amongst Swiss cancer experts and organizations. The doctors on board reported:
“One of the main arguments used against it was that it contradicted the global consensus of leading experts in the field… Another argument was that the report unsettled women, but we wonder how to avoid unsettling women, given the available evidence.”
It’s clearly no mystery why the board become increasingly concerned about their researcher. The “evidence” simply does not back up the global consensus of other experiences in the field suggesting that mammograms were safe and capable of saving lives.
When it comes down to it, we are dealing with outdated clinical trials, the benefits do not clearly outweigh the harms, and women’s perceptions of mammography benefits do not match reality,
More Information On Breast Screenings
I believe that if you did have a tumor, the last thing you would want to do is crush that tumor between two plates, because that would spread it. – Dr. Sarah Mybill, General Practitioner (taken from the documentary trailer below)
I think if a woman from the age of 50 has a mammogram every year, or every two years, she’s going to get breast cancer as a direct result from that – Dr. Patrick Kingsley, Clinical Ecologist (take from the documentary trailer below)
In 2011, 220,097 women and 2,078 men in the United States were diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,931 women and 443 men in the United States died from breast cancer. It has become the most common type of cancer among women.
Below is a trailer to a documentary entitled, “The Promise.” The film interviews various researchers, scientists, doctors (and more), all of whom are hoping to shed light on a practice which is turning out to be not only useless, but harmful to those taking part. There is more information below the video, but I highly recommend you watch the documentary.
There is a wealth of scientific data concluding that mammograms are not, as the CDC claims, the most effective way to detect breast cancer. In fact, having a mammogram is likely the last thing you want to do if you have breast cancer.
A study published in The European Journal of Public Healthtitled “Trends in breast cancer stage distribution before, during and after introduction of a screening programme in Norway” found that breast screenings actually increase the incidence of localized stage cancers without reducing the incidence of advanced cancers. (source)
The study, which used a huge population sample of 1.8 million Norwegian women diagnosed with breast cancer from 1987 – 2010, found that:
“The annual incidence of localized breast cancer among women aged 50–69 years rose from 63.9 per 100 000 before the introduction of screening to 141.2 afterwards, corresponding to a ratio of 2.21 (95% confidence interval: 2.10; 2.32).The incidence of more advanced cancers increased from 86.9 to 117.3 per 100 000 afterwards, corresponding to a 1.35 (1.29; 1.42)-fold increase. Advanced cancers also increased among younger women not eligible for screening, whereas their incidence of localized cancers remained nearly constant.”
This study outlines how Norway’s breast screening program has actually increased the chance of being diagnosed with early stage breast cancer by more than 200%, as well contributing to an increased chance of receiving advanced stage breast cancer diagnosis by 35%. This is the opposite of what mammograms are supposed to do; if they were useful then the incidence of cancers would be lower and not higher.
The study concluded that:
Incidence of localized breast cancer increased significantly among women aged 50–69 years old after introduction of screening, while the incidence of more advanced cancers was not reduced in the same period when compared to the younger unscreened age group.(source)
It’s important to note that, “although the study did measure the impact of Norway’s breast screening programme, a comparison of trends between participants and non-participants in the age group eligible for screening warrants further investigation. Also the causal link between stage distribution and mortality needs to be investigated in the context of screening.”
A paper published in 2011 in the British Medical Journal set out to prove that breast screening by mammography is associated with a steeper fall in mortality cancer compared to other countries who were not offering this service. They did not expect to find the complete opposite; they found a drop in breast cancer mortality among women who were not screened. They concluded that the recent downward trend in breast cancer mortality had nothing to do with screening and everything to do with improvements in treatment and service provision. (source)
The new data published in the BMJ now suggests that none of the gratifying falls in breast cancer can be attributed to screening and that the very existence of a NHSBSP (national breast screening programme) should be questioned. Unless there is public pressure for an independent inquiry to challenge the status quo, it will be business as usual for the screening programme. Furthermore, the Department of Health has painted itself into a corner and it is no longer a question of scientific debate – the subject has become too politicized by those who like to avoid U-turns at all costs. – Michael Baum, Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Professor of Medical Humanities at University College London, is a leading British surgical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer treatment (source)
This would be an asymptomatic woman walking along the high street, having a mammogram, and then two weeks later she’s told she has to have a mastectomy. This is so cruel that it should make you weep. (quote taken from the documentary trailer above)
As Sayer Ji, founder of Greenmedinfo.com points out, a National Cancer Institute commissioned expert panel concluded that “early stage cancers” are not cancer, they are benign or indolent growths. This means that millions of women were wrongly diagnosed with breast cancer over the past few decades and have been subjected to harmful treatment, when they would have been better off leaving it untreated or diagnosed; frighteningly, it is not uncommon for a breast cancer misdiagnosis to occur.
Another study that was recently published in the British Medical Journal concluded that regular mammogram screenings do not reduce breast cancer death rates. And they found no evidence to suggest that mammograms are more effective than personal breast exams at detecting cancer in the designated age group. The study involved 90, 000 Canadian women and compared breast cancer incidence and mortality up to 25 years in women aged 40-59.(source)
The study was conducted over a period of 25 years.
Many Studies Showing The Same Thing
The sheer number of studies that have been published on breast mammography examinations and their failure to produce a benefit in screened populations is overwhelming. What’s even more disturbing is the fact that these types of examinations have also been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, and to have negative implications for both physical and mental health.
U-turns do not embarrass clinical scientists, unlike politicians: if the evidence changes then our minds must change. As the national programme began to run its course, two disturbing observations made me begin to question my original support. First, about 10 years after the initiation of the service, updated analyses of the original data set by independent groups in Europe and the US found that the initial estimate of benefit in the reduction of breast cancer mortality was grossly exaggerated. – Michael Baum, Professor Emeritus of Surgery and visiting Professor of Medical Humanities at University College London, is a leading British surgical oncologist who specializes in breast cancer treatment (source)
Other sources used not listed in the article.
For a database of published studies on this topic, you can click HERE
Johnson & Johnson Found To Have Knowingly Allowed Asbestos In Their Baby Powder
- The Facts:
Johnson and Johnson have recently lost lawsuits for negligence in knowingly allowing carcinogenic substances in their talc-based hygiene products.
- Reflect On:
Are we starting to turn the page on an era where human health and safety are not the prime considerations in the manufacturing of consumer products?
We are starting to awaken to the fact that it seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that large Western corporations put profits above human health considerations. The only time they seem to give any regard to human health concerns is when their forecasts of potential lawsuits down the road would likely exceed the cost measures needed to ensure the safety of their product.
Johnson & Johnson is just one of a long line of corporate perpetrators who believed that covering up and lying about known health concerns would make better business sense than taking the time and resources to actually address those health concerns within their products.
Contaminated Baby Powder: The Height Of Indignity
One would think, regardless of an understanding that the bottom line is a priority for most private companies, that the health and safety of a nursing mother and her newborn child would be sacrosanct for any industry. The reality is that this is simply not the case, even though J&J could have mitigated this problem from the start.
Companies that mine talc are required to take extra steps to ensure the absence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, J&J allegedly went to great lengths to fake it.
Not only did the company know about the asbestos contamination, evidence suggests, but J&J also failed to warn its customers about the link between Baby Powder and cancer or replace its talc with a safer alternative. As a result, J&J guaranteed its customers’ exposure to asbestos.
The Testimony of Scientist James Webber
Baby Powder’s contamination with asbestos (a mineral that naturally occurs near talc) has long been the subject of lawsuits. But only in recent years has evidence begun to unravel J&J’s defense – that the company had no idea – and threatened its success in lawsuits to come.
In March, a California jury awarded $29 million to Terry Leavitt, a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her terminal mesothelioma. Environmental scientist James Webber testified in her high-profile California trial and made these observations:
During several hours on the stand, Webber explained how he ran tests that showed “clear” evidence of asbestos contamination in the mines from which J&J sourced talc.
“The testing I have seen [shows] that it was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” said Webber, who ran an asbestos laboratory in New York state.
Despite denying it publicly, J&J had observed this contamination in internal memos. Its notes dismissed the amount of asbestos in its talc as “but a trace,” Webber alleged. But that was just an optimistic interpretation of superficial testing, he said: the tests used methods too weak to detect microscopic asbestos fibers. Webber insisted the actual tests results revealed there could be millions of asbestos fibers per gram of talc.
And J&J’s inaccurate reports were allegedly only the tip of the iceberg. In some instances, Webber said, photos attached to J&J’s reports revealed that “they had been seeing it and not reporting it.” (source)
And It’s Getting Worse
The $29 million verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, was the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. And things may be getting even worse for J&J, according to ZeroHedge:
Johnson & Johnson shares are down over 5% after Bloomberg reports that, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder…
Now, a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.
It seems as though corporations have long been willing to take the calculated risk of short-cuts and denials instead of ensuring that their products are safe for public use. My suspicion is that a part of our collective awakening process will be issuing in a new business paradigm in which human health and safety become paramount.
Prescription Infant Formulas Found To Be Contaminated With Aluminum
- The Facts:
Multiple brands of prescription infant formula were found to contain high levels of aluminum.
- Reflect On:
Should we be questioning the quality of products that come from pharmaceutical production? Do we veer away from natural methods of raising children more than we should? At what cost?
You may not think aluminum is a big deal, but it is. For anybody who has looked into aluminum toxicology, it’s quite clear and apparent that it has no place inside of any living biological organism. Putting it simply, it wreaks havoc on our biology. High amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, with experts in the field believing that aluminum brain accumulation may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s also been discovered within the brains of MS patients, and some of the highest aluminum content ever recorded in brain tissue has also been discovered in people with autism. Aluminum is associated with several diseases. But an adult body can do a great job of flushing out aluminum.
Despite the fact that aluminum has no place within earth’s biota, it’s still present in many of our medications, our food, and even in the water that we drink due to contamination since the industrial revolution. Aluminum inside the body is a new phenomenon and still understudied. Again, there is a threshold, and aluminum that is injected via vaccines doesn’t exit the body–there is strong evidence that it remains inside the body and ends up in distant organs and eventually inside of the brain. If you want to access more studies on that topic, you can read this article I published that provides them and goes into more detail. You can also watch this interview with Christopher Exley, where he also points to that fact.
A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that multiple popular infant prescriptions are contaminated with aluminum. You may be asking how much aluminum, but the authors make it a point to stress that there are no safe amounts of aluminum levels that can be inside of a human body, let alone a newborn baby. That being said, the amounts found are listed within the abstract of the study:
Historical and recent data demonstrate that off-the-shelf infant formulas are heavily contaminated with aluminium. The origin of this contamination remains to be elucidated though may be imported via ingredients, packaging and processing. Specialised infant formulas exist to address health issues, such as low birth weight, allergy or intolerance and medical conditions, such as renal insufficiency. The aluminium content of these prescription infant formulas is measured here for the first time. We obtained 24 prescription infant formulas through a paediatric clinic and measured their total aluminium content by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry following microwave assisted acid/peroxide digestion. The aluminium content of ready-to-drink formulas ranged from 49.9 (33.7) to 1956.3 (111.0) μg/L. The most heavily contaminated products were those designed as nutritional supplements for infants struggling to gain weight. The aluminium content of powdered formulas ranged from 0.27 (0.04) to 3.27 (0.19) μg/g. The most heavily contaminated products tended to be those addressing allergies and intolerance. Prescription infant formulas are contaminated with aluminium.
Another very important point made right off the bat by the authors:
Human exposure to aluminium is a serious health concern. Aluminium exposure in infants is understandably a burgeoning issue. While infant exposure to aluminium continues to be documented, its consequences, immediate and in the future, have received only scant attention and research is required to understand the biological availability of aluminium through formula feeding. For example, how much aluminium is absorbed across the neonate gut and its subsequent fate, including excretion.
There is already too much aluminium in infant formulas and herein we have measured its content in a large number of prescription formulas, products which are fed to vulnerable infants in their first months of life. Many of these products are heavily contaminated with aluminium.
As for the specific infant formulas, you can refer to the study. The researchers obtained 24 prescription infant formulas via the Paediatric Clinic of Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, United Kingdom. The ready-to-drink and powdered products were new, ready-to-be used and unopened samples. These formulas are for babies with some sort of growth restriction, like for preterm infants or infants who have poor weight gain. There were also powdered formulas for allergies and intolerances and powdered formulas with additional amino acids.
The authors contacted each manufacturer and expressed that they denied knowing that there was any aluminum in their products, which means it’s still a mystery as to their source. The authors hypothesize on a number of ways that aluminum could be entering into the formulas.
In their conclusion, the authors emphasize that:
Where possible, breast milk feeding should be prioritised, as the aluminium content of breast milk is invariably an order of magnitude lower than in formula feeds. Where infant formulas are the only source of nutrition for many infants in their first weeks and months of life, aluminium ingested in formula feeds will be the major contributor to their body burden of aluminium. The last thing that vulnerable infants fed specialised formulas for their specific nutritional/medicinal need is additional aluminium in their diet.
There is a lot of information out there on how a person can detox from aluminum and other heavy metals. There are multiple studies, and based on what I’ve looked into, water with high amounts of Silica are effective in draining aluminum out of your body and brain. Herbs like cilantro and substances like chlorella and spirulina are also great for removing some metals. The information is out there, so be sure to do your research.
It’s concerning to think about what these corporations are doing. Again, aluminum should hold no place in our society, it should’ve remained well below our surface as part of the Earth’s crust for a reason. It wasn’t until humans began digging it out and using it for a number of things, irresponsibly I might add, that we started to see the health implications which still go largely ignored by the medical community.
In fact, heavy metal accumulation and detoxification of aluminum haven’t been addressed at all, which is odd given the fact that heavy metal accumulation is linked to a variety of diseases.
9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet
- The Facts:
The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.
- Reflect On:
Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?
The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.
But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?
In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.
It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.
Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.
So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.
Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.
In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.
Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.
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