Mammograms Might Detect Cancers That ...

Mammograms Might Detect Cancers That Would Regress

There are 16 comments on the Medical News Today story from Dec 7, 2008, titled Mammograms Might Detect Cancers That Would Regress. In it, Medical News Today reports that:

Editor's Choice Main Category: Breast Cancer Also Included In: Medical Devices / Diagnostics ; Women's Health / Gynecology Article Date: 06 Dec 2008 - 0:00 PST When women in four Norwegian countries began ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Medical News Today.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#1 Dec 25, 2008
Dr. Robert M. Kaplan, chairman of the department of health services at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles, who with his colleague, Dr. Franz Porzsolt, an oncologist at the University of Ulm, wrote an editorial that accompanied the study, were persuaded by the analysis, and feel the implications are potentially enormous.

Dr. Barnett Kramer, director of the Office of Disease Prevention at the National Institutes of Health, had a similar reaction. People who are familiar with the broad range of behaviors of a variety of cancer, know spontaneous regression is possible, but what is shocking is that it can occur so frequently.

And Donald A. Berry, chairman of the department of biostatistics at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center said the study increased his worries about screening tests that find cancers earlier and earlier. Unless there is some understanding of the natural history of cancers that are found, the result can easily be more and more treatment of cancers that would not cause harm if left untreated.

Dr. Berry felt that it's possible that we all have cells that are cancerous and that grow a bit before being dumped by the body. Screening tests may pick up minute tumors that would not progress and might even go away if left alone (pseudodisease). Patients will be alarmed and exposed, perhaps needlessly, to the risks of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

Spontaneous remissions in cancer suggests that the body can heal itself. It seems like most apparently occur in just a few types of malignancies: malignant melanoma, renal cell cancer, low-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and neuroblastoma in children. However, spontaneous remissions do occur in vastly different other types of cancers.

The very existence of spontaneous remissions represents a threat to some in the cancer industry. But such anomalies can pave the way to a better understanding of the causes of cancer which can then lead to rational therapies. Historical observations of spontaneous remissions of breast cancer after the onset of menopause lead to approaches of hormonal treatment which is a mainstay of adjuvant and palliative therapy in breast cancer.

Regardless, spontaneous remissions represent an important clue as to how the body can defend itself against cancer. Researchers should think "outside the box" at this important phenomenon rather than see it as a threat to their conventional thinking and appreciate the insight it may provide to rational approaches to cancer treatment.

For some common cancers, it is not clear that early detection and treatment actually prolong patients' lives. Early detection may just mean patients spend a longer time knowing they have cancer, and yet die at the same time they would have died anyway if the tumor had been diagnosed later. A decision to forgo cancer screening can be a reasonable option.

Literature Citation: Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(21):2300, 2302-2303, 2311-2316.
Gail Perry

United States

#2 Dec 26, 2008
Sorry, gdp, bu tit's bullshit (and inadequate documentation, once again). Women, you would be CRAZY to forego screening. There are lots of rational therapies out there. My treatment plan was carefully thought out. It's just that my oncologist didn't consult with gdp first, so he doesn't believe it.

Sure, some cancers spontaneously disappear. If you're lucky that will happen to you. Then you won't be one of the 240,000 people who die, every year, of breast cancer.

It's playing Russian roulette. Would you do that, put one bullet in a chamber and spin the barrel? Would you do it if the gun had only six chambers? What if it had 15? What if it had 50? Where would you take the risk?

No one knows how often cancers disappear without medical treatment, but here's something the article doesn't say: if you have one breast cancer, you're at greatly increased risk for another. Do you think they will ALL disappear on their own?

His claim that treatments aren't saving lives is ludicrous and he is no doubt (once again) over-interpreting what he reads. That's why he won't give the page number for his statements: he draws conclusions the researchers didn't draw themselves, a highly invalid way to use research.

Here's a direct quote that anyone can evaluate for themselves:

"The ACS reports that breast cancer deaths dropped 2.4% per year from 1990 to 2004 in white and Hispanic women, compared with 1.6% annually in African-American women."

Treatments ARE working. Herceptin and AI's have had a lot to do with those declines.

Not all tumors regress. Mine was quite fast-growing. Get screened; do it every year; and check yourself inbetween those hearly checks. I found my lump myself and probably saved my life. Pharting around hoping it would disappear on its own would have killed me.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#3 Dec 26, 2008
The study's conclusion because the cumulative incidence among controls never reached that of the screened group, it appears that some breast cancers detected by repeated mamographic screening would not persist to be detectable by a single mamogram at the end of six years.

This raises the possibility that the natural course of some screen detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress. It persuasively notes the risks of mammograms outweighing the benefits for a great many women.

The American College of Physicians believes the risks of unnecessary biopsies far outweighs the likelihood of saving a life and does not recommend mammography before age 50 and suggests that women do not need to be screened after age 74.

And the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends mammography screening only every 1-2 years for women age 50-69.
Gail Perry

United States

#4 Dec 26, 2008
"it appears that some breast cancers detected by repeated mamographic screening would not persist to be detectable by a single mamogram at the end of six years."

THEY DON'T KNOW. Any woman willing to let breast cancer slide because it might go away, please speak up now.

By the way, it's only ageism that causes a recommendation that women after 74 not receive mammograms. Where do you think that arbitrary age of 75 came from, anyway?

I saw that claim. It wasn't based on research and said silly things like "dragging old women out of their beds in nursing homes to do mammograms." Many, many women are quite fit into their 80's and 90's. The suggestion was made because of the STATISTICAL likelihood that the women would die of something else first.

Most women, if asked, would rather NOT die of something else while suffering the pain of breast cancer that has spread because someone decided she was too old to waste a mammogram on.

Why you say these vile things is beyond me. Why you REPEATEDLY try to dissuade women from evaluation, and why you disparage the best treatments currently available, is beyond me, but at this point it looks quite sick to me.
Gail Perry

United States

#5 Dec 27, 2008
PS it's also been discovered recently (suspected for some time, which is how they found it in research -- they have to search quite specifically in valid research)--

They have found that one kind of particularly aggressive breast cancer can spread while it is still quite small.

If your tumor metastizes, it doesn't matter if the original one shrinks and goes away or not. You still have Stage IV cancer.

This is why it's important to read ALL the research -- and if one is intellectually honest, TALK about all the research. One study by itself is a terrible way to read research and a worse (intellectually dishonest once one has been told) way to report it.

Don't believe it. Even very small breast cancers can be quite lethal.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#6 Dec 27, 2008
It's you that has vile thoughts in your cranium Gail. Your own flamming commentary always bite of conspiracy theories, a diversion to counter ideas other than yours. I would suppose anyone who dared question and expose Vioxx, Ketek, Zyprexa and the endless list of harmful and/or deadly drugs would have also been on your paranoid list. After all, the drug companies and their "factual" trials "proved" that these blockbuster drugs were safe. The FDA studied the "facts" and said they were safe and effective. Oops!!!

You have the obsessive need to spend all your time trashing the ideas of others (not just me). I can still read and appreciate the rational input from others, with various opinions on the issue, and ignore the space wasted trying to keep attention on yourself. I've been told that publishing anything in any forum, there would be some eccentrics who are incapable of addressing the topic at hand and instead launch into personal attacks, usually by ascribing some neurosis that actually applies to them.
Gail Perry

United States

#7 Dec 27, 2008
gdp, breast cancer kills. Women should not be discouraged from having mammograms, and the idea that a woman should stop having mammograms because statistics say she will probably die of something else first really is vile. You endorsed that, possibly without knowing the rationale behind it, but it is personal for me because my grandmother, who had been vital and healthy, died of breast cancer at age 86. If it happened to day and I found out she had been discouraged from having mammograms -- I'd probably sue.

I have no "paranoid list." Chemotherapy saves many, many lives. I asked you to back up your claims before and you chose not to. It is such things as that that make you irresponsible. You make statements that could easily dissuade someone from effective treatment and then you don't support it.

You write research "summaries" where you have over-interpreted the research and then cobbled together new conclusions that aren't actually supported by the research. You repeatedly decline to provide adequate documentation for your claims.

But when you campaign for the idea that older women shouldn't have mammograms -- that's vile. The risk of breast cancer increases significantly with age. That's a fact. Of course women who are bedridden in nursing homes shouldn't be dragged out of bed to have mammograms -- but they could be given ultrasounds. They could still have breast exams. As for me, I don't want to die of breast cancer. As Vanessa Redgrave said, I want to die laughing, or in my sleep, or anything else.

If, by challenging your statements, I can encourage one person to reconsider what you have said, then it is a few minutes well spent.
Gail Perry

United States

#8 Dec 27, 2008
PS, gdp. Figure out how the boards work, please. I get an alert when the threads I'm interested in are active. You could do it too, if you wanted to. And, I hardly spend "all my time" here. I sing in two choruses; I own a sailboat (and use it); I tutor adults who need to read; I volunteer at a local chamber of commerce, and I spend time with friends and family. Once in a while I come here to post. Once again, your hyperbole diminishes your points.

And it isn't that those posts are "yours." It's that they attempt to dissuade people from both diagnosis and treatment. Three years ago I wouldn't even have known you were doing it, but that was then and this is now, after I had breast cancer. I know your misinformation could cost lives, and I won't remain silent.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#9 Dec 27, 2008
Gail harps on the fallacy about proof. What proof does one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter cancer treatment have? It hasn't been proven that most things medical oncologists do make any difference at all. First-line chemotherapy of many types of tumors. Second-line chemotherapy of virtually all types of tumors. High-dose chemotherapy of breast cancer.

I don't believe Gail has a clue what is done, how it is done, the rationale, the data, the practicality, or anything else about biomarker tests. I wouldn't expect her to. She wouldn't read the material anyway, but would continue to spew any induendos about it or me.

Before Gail assuses me of doom and gloom with cancer patients, I don't think a single randomized clinical trial in any solid tumor cancer should be performed until someone can claim at least 80% response rate. Unless that is done, there is no proof. And Gail can spew all she wants.
Gail Perry

United States

#10 Dec 27, 2008
Only in your imagination do oncologists use "cookie cutter" treatment, and that's EXACTLY what I'm talking about when I say that you scare people away from treatment.

Death from breast cancer has plummeted in the last 20 years. It's due to two things: earlier diagnosis and broadened treatment, two things you have recently disparaged. Your arbitrary standard of 80% is absurd and would halt all research. You have demonstrated no professional expertise and you can't or won't document your claims.

Your advice would cause needless deaths, sometimes based on nothing more than age. It's awful.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#11 Dec 31, 2008
So be it Gail, the earth is not flat.
Gail Perry

Spring Hill, FL

#12 Dec 31, 2008
gdp, I love it when you bring up the "Earth is flat" thing because I know I hit on a truth when I explained your version of "science" -- if you can find online evidence for it, that's good enough for you.

That is the same kind of thinking that would allow someone to "prove" that the Earth is flat. They could find support for that on line. Your trying to turn it around on me is, frankly, pathetic.

I don't completely understand why you repeatedly attempt to discourage people from getting the best treatment possible for breast cancer, but I'll say it again. Folks, I had chemo starting about two years ago for breast cancer. I had three different chemotherapy agents.

It was a cake walk. Don't believe the horror stories, including gdp's horror stories. Life is so good now and every day (and I have every day to expect years and years of them) is a blessing.

Since: Dec 05

Irvington, NJ

#13 Jan 4, 2009
If you choose not to believe the earth is not flat Gail, that is your problem. Don't try to disparge someone else's belief through science and observation, that indeed the earth is not flat.

My information has gotten thoroughly vented and fact checked, or I would never post it. If you don't like the idea that I have this information fact checked by the experts, again, that's your problem.

Try to vent your displeasure of round-earth medical information by trying to criticize the message, not the messenger. You're getting to be really obnoxious.
Gail Perry

Spring Hill, FL

#14 Jan 4, 2009
IMO your information has not been solidly VETTED (not "vented") and fact-checked. If it was, you would be able to provide the support so we could see for ourselves. "The experts?" What experts? Where? Why would they vett your posts for you?

I think your over-interpreted information is obnoxious. Try to separate criticism of the message from criticism of the messenger. You are the one who has specialized in personal attacks.

Your rants about whether the Earth is round makes you look like a poor reader. However, if you want to continue, go for it.
Gail Perry

Spring Hill, FL

#15 Jan 6, 2009
Oh I know one way his posts would be "approved" by others before he posted: that would be if he is being paid by some entity to post here.
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