Dr. H. Gilbert Welsch of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice explains why the American College of Radiology's two main arguments against the Canadian National Breast Screening Study are incorrect as he explains in the video below.
David Tener, DC
A study of mammograms spanning 25 years and thousands of patients has concluded that mammograms, largely considered the gold standard for breast cancer detection and “prevention”, appear to be useless, at best.1 The study, recently published in the British Medical Journey and widely reported by both CNN and The New York Times, has shaken the medical community because it’s one of the longest and most thorough studies to date and challenges one of the most profitable medical procedures with over 38.7 million performed each year according to the FDA.
Researchers tracked more than 89,000 women. Half were randomly assigned to mammogram screenings. The other half had no mammograms and performed breast exams on themselves. Twenty-five years later, researchers found an identical rate of breast cancer deaths in both groups. The researchers determined that overall, twenty two percent of the invasive cancers that were detected by mammograms were over diagnosed, meaning that they likely would not have presented a danger to the women over their lifetime had it been left alone. (Read the journal article in it's entirety)
CNN reports several professional associations including the The American Cancer Society, The American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging that have challenged the validity of the study and the authors’ conclusions. Interestingly, these very organizations are amongst those that stand to lose the most financially should mammography ultimately be discredited.
Most physicians recommend yearly mammograms as the go to method of breast cancer screening, yet the benefits of mammography are controversial. The health hazards of routine mammography are well established:
- The routine practice of taking 4 films of each breast annually results in approximately 1 rad (radiation absorbed dose) exposure, which is about 1,000x greater than what you’d get from a chest x ray. Radiation from routine mammography poses significant cumulative risk of initiating and promoting breast cancer.2-4
- Mammography entails tight and often painful compression of the breast, particularly in premenopausal women. This may lead to distant and lethal spread of malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in or around small, as yet undetected breast cancers. 5
- False positive diagnoses are very common, leading many women to be treated unnecessarily with mastectomy, chemotherapy, and yes, more radiation! For women with multiple risk factors including a strong family history, prolonged use of birth control, early menarche etc., the cumulative risk of false positives increases to as high as 100% over a decade’s worth of screening.6
- Contrary to popular belief and assurances by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society, mammography is not a reliable technique for early diagnosis. In fact, breast cancer has usually been present for 8 years before it can finally be detected.7
For women who are concerned about the hazards associated with routine mammography, safe alternatives for measuring breast cancer risk do exist and should be considered.
Self Breast Exam
Annual clinical breast exams together with at home monthly self breast exams is safe, effective and low cost. Most breast cancers are discovered by women themselves and proper training in self-breast examination has been shown to increase the frequency and number of small tumors found. 8
Thermography looks at vascular changes in the breast. Thermal imagining detects the subtle physiologic changes that accompany breast pathology, whether it is cancer, fibrocystic disease, or a vascular condition. Unlike mammography, thermal imaging is not painful and emits no radiation. Studies suggest that thermography is a safe, practical and effective means of detecting breast abnormalities. 9,10
At The Goldberg Clinic, Estronex Testing is recommended for women over 35 and for those at elevated risk of breast, ovarian and cervical cancer. The Estronex Profile measures six important estrogen metabolites and their ratios to help women (and men as well) assess whether they are at risk for the development of an estrogen sensitive cancer. Approximately 90% of breast cancer is estrogen dependent, making the Estronex Test an important screening tool to assess relative risk. Based on the data collected, patients can be guided into the right health promoting behaviors to balance their ratios and thereby reduce their risk. All that’s required is a urine sample.
Optimize Your Health
Mammography is not preventive. It is diagnostic. It does nothing to improve health and the risks/hazards associated with the procedure have been well established. When addressing chronic health issues (cancer or otherwise) a concerted effort should always be made to understand each patient’s genetic predispositions/weaknesses and determine how to best improve upon them by changing nutritional and other environmental factors on an individualized basis. Criteria reviewed and considered for all patients at The Goldberg Clinic include but are not limited to:
- Individualized Dietary Reform
- Sleep and Rest Patterns
- Sunlight Exposure/Vitamin D Production
- Pure Water Intake
- Allergens (Dietary and Environmental)
- Digestive Function and Gut Microflora Involvement
- Emotional Stress
- Earth Connections
It is by working to create the best conditions for health to occur that the function of all the body’s systems are optimized, genetic weaknesses are minimized and chronic health issues can be and addressed. This is in contrast to “preventive” procedures and imaging studies which neither addresses the cause(s) of disease nor prevents its development.
See previous articles by Dr. Tener:
1. Miller A, Wall C, Baines C. Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial, BMJ 2014;348:g366
2. Bertell, R. Breast cancer and mammography. Mothering, Summer 1992, pp. 49- 52.
3. National Academy of Sciences- National Research Council, Advisory Committee. Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation (BEIR). Washington, D. C., 1972.
4. Swift, M. Ionizing radiation, breast cancer, and ataxia-telangiectasia. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 86( 21): 1571- 1572, 1994.
5. Watmough, D. J., and Quan, K. M. X-ray mammography and breast compression. Lancet 340: 122, 1992.
6. Christiansen, C. L., et al. Predicting the cumulative risk of false-positive mammograms. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 92( 20): 1657- 1666, 2000.
7. Epstein S, Bertell R, Seamen B. Dangers and unreliability of mammography: Breast examination is a safe, effective, and practical alternative, International Journal of Health Services 2001; 31(3):605-615.
8. Hall, D. C., et al. Improved detection of human breast lesions following experimental training. Cancer 46( 2): 408- 414, 1980.
9. Arora N, Martins D, Ruggerio D. Effectiveness of a noninvasive digital infrared thermal imaging system in the detection of breast cancer. Am J Surg 2008; 196(4):523-6.
10. Keyserlingk JR, Ahlgren PD, Yu E. Infrared Imaging of the Breast: Initial Reappraisal Using High-Resolution Digital Technology in 100 Succesive Cases of Stage I and II Breast Cancer, The Breast Journal 1998; 4(4)
Click Play to watch the above video.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Gastritis and Severe Allergies
Patient is an 8 year old male that presented with medical diagnoses of Eosinophilic Esophagitis, Gastritis and severe allergies. The patient had previously been treated medically with numerous medications including Macrodantin, Prednisone, Amitryptiline, Prevacid, Flovent, Hydrocodone, Concerta, Carafate, Gaviscon, Mirilax, Tums, Hyocosamine, Zantac and Neurontin. His symptoms worsened while on medications. At the Goldberg Clinic, a comprehensive case history, physical examination and functional laboratory work was performed and key underlying factors were identified. Based on the data collected, an individualized program was developed for the patient to follow. The patient is now drug free and his mother reports 99% improvement in her son's condition.
Before and After Blood Work
Before: April 16, 2013
After: March 5, 2014
Note the significant drop in white blood cells (now normal), the increase in Red Blood Cells (no longer anemic), normalization of his platelet levels and the significant reduction in Graham's inflammatory indices (CRP and Sedimentation Rate), which are now excellent.
Paul A. Goldberg, MPH, DC, DACBN, DCBCN
That uncomfortable time of year is upon us when we brace ourselves for the potential misery of colds, flu, bronchitis and in some cases pneumonia….days of runny noses, sore throats, achy muscles and joints and crabby dispositions.
Realistically, once a cold or flu is acquired one has to endure a number of days (usually between seven and fourteen) of discomfort allowing nature take its course to rebalance our immunity, rest and clean out the system and neutralize opportunistic organisms.
“Catching” A Cold or The Flu
Colds and flu represent inflammation of the upper respiratory tract usually triggered by different viral strains. Notice the word “triggered.” One must first be susceptible to being ill to become ill. A previously un-encountered viral strain poses a challenge to the body since it will not have antibodies to neutralize it quickly, but there are numerous other factors that make people either more or less susceptible to acquiring these acute miseries.
It is common to hear from one of our patients that they had not suffered a cold or flu for a number of years and then one hits. Almost invariably the patient, upon questioning, acknowledges having been pushing the envelope for a good while prior to the onset of the discomforts. Stressors such as lack of sleep and rest, long hours at work, extended fighting with a spouse, business worries, over-engaging in food, partaking of drugs and alcohol, over exercising and other burdens normally can be found in the background. The viral agent simply takes advantage of a person’s tired system, ripe for the picking, and they “come down with a cold or the flu.” When colds or other acute illnesses occur frequently or the person has problems getting over them it is prudent to identify and address the reasons for the low resistance prior to more serious issues arising…and they can. The repeated acute illnesses of ones youth can evolve into the chronic illnesses of adulthood.
Few understand and take the warning signs of the body. We ignore the clock and stay up late. We overeat, over work, over play, over worry and engage in other destructive behaviors. Nature cares not one wit if the reasons for our excesses were for good causes or were not our fault…nature simply takes steps to remedy our excesses often by allowing acute illnesses to evolve into chronic diseases regardless of our motives.
Mistakenly, the average person rather than identify and address why they got ill, will start looking for a “cure”. Off to the physician for antibiotics…but the cold and flu are viruses unaffected by antibiotics. Physicians are too eager (as statistics bear out) to quickly prescribe an antibiotic, even knowing it will do no good. On the contrary, as our public health authorities have warned us for decades, the massive over-prescription of antibiotics not only creates a plethora of side effects for the individual taking them, but also has created an explosion of life threatening “superbugs” that antibiotics cannot touch. One error in giving antibiotics quickly gives rise in many cases to other prescriptions for antibiotics, steroids and other drugs as side effects mount with many patients not realizing how the drugs they take destroy their health. We have repeatedly seen cases of pseudomembranous colitis and other forms of inflammatory bowel disease (among other issues) that had their genesis in the single prescription of an antibiotic which was useless for the original illness it was given for.
Viruses are not affected by antibiotics and were at best intended for serious bacterial infections and only when the body’s resistance is too low to recover on its own. Antibiotics are vastly over and wrongly prescribed and have led to a host of serious personal and public health problems in the United States and this often has its start with patients being prescribed them for colds and flu.
Most colds last about one to two weeks. If you follow the right course of action the cold will not lead to any complications and you will be in good shape when the body has run its healing course.
Different viruses cause upper respiratory infections, colds and the flu. Cold and flu symptoms are similar but have different intensity levels. A cold usually begins with minor sniffling or sneezing while the flu hits you suddenly. Fatigue and muscle aches occur with both but are more severe with the flu.
How To Help Prevent Colds and Flu
The best way to help prevent colds and flu (and other illnesses) or at least lessen their severity is to take simple hygienic steps to keep your whole body at its top potential including:
1) Get sufficient rest and sleep (too little sleep = lowered immunity)
2) Eat a nutrient dense diet. All essential nutrients (not just vitamin C and Zinc) play a role in your immune system well being.
3) Obtain moderate exercise
4) Obtain sufficient sunlight to keep your “Vitamin D” levels optimized.
5) Avoid excessive stress (colds and flu often follow long term stress). Try to find time for enjoyable activities on a regular basis as this will greatly assist your immune system.
6) Keep your digestive tract healthy by not abusing it. Many people will benefit by taking a good quality probiotic appropriate for them. Most of your immune system is located in your digestive tract.
7) Give and receive love from/to your family, friends, dog, cat and other significant others.
What to do if you have the cold or flu?
The universal and best approach is extensive rest and sleep. Allow your body the opportunity to marshal its defenses. Don’t look for “cures” but create the right conditions to allow your body to heal. In addition to extra bed rest, a light diet or a liquid diet of herb tea, water, and broth for a couple days is often helpful. This will take the burden of digestion off of your system and allow your body to focus its energies on getting well.
Many people develop colds and/or the flu after the holidays when they have overindulged in food and activity, so a few days on a light or liquid diet can be very useful. Neither a cold nor the flu is fun but you can work with your body or against it.
Anything else can you do?
- Make vegetable broth and take a few cups per day.
- Keep yourself warm
- Take a shower or bath each day
- Get as much rest and sleep as possible
- Avoid worry and other activities that drain your body of energy
I do not recommend loading up on supplements and remedies with a cold or flu. Leave out the so-called natural aids such as colloidal silver and Echinacea and other health food store potions and pills. They do not address the causes of your illness. Massive doses of Vitamin C? Extra Zinc? These are necessary nutrients but will not alleviate your symptoms unless you were very much deficient in them to begin with.
Tylenol? Nyquil? Other over the counter drugs? You are best off staying away from these. They will only burden your body further. If in doubt leave it out. Let the body have the opportunity to recover without interference. If you cooperate with your body you will likely find that when the cold is over you feel even better than you did before it began.
Run to the Medical Doctor for prescription drugs? To the herbalist for herbs? Not only rarely necessary, but all these may well interfere with your getting well. If you are having repeated cycles of colds, flu, bronchitis, etc., then the reasons your resistance is low need to be clearly identified and addressed. We are here to help our patients in that regard so that such cycles can be brought to an end and a higher state of health can be achieved.
Keep in mind that when you have a cold or flu your body is trying to “cure” itself. Don’t try to cure a cure! Have faith in the process, go to bed, get lots of rest and be at peace with the world. This too shall pass. Work with your body rather than against it and you will end up being well rested, energized and ready in short order to again face the challenges life presents to you.