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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Review of pros and cons of Breast Cancer Screening highlights need for more honesty from the NHS about the scientific uncertainties involved in it.

The Independent reports on a review of the pros and cons of Breast Cancer Screening which highlights the need for more honesty from the NHS about the scientific uncertainties involved in this screening.

Extract from the report:

"Professor McPherson, citing US evidence, says that breast screening reduces the death rate by 14 per cent in the under-60s, which is of "marginal statistical significance", and by 32 per cent in the under-70s. But even this is a small benefit because at age 60 the risk of death from breast cancer over the next 15 years is just 1.2 per cent – 259 women in the UK would have to be screened to avoid one death.

"Individual benefit from mammography is thus very small, but this is not widely understood. In part this is due to obfuscation from organisers of mammography services assuming that a positive emphasis is needed to ensure reasonable compliance," Professor McPherson says.

He calls for a "full examination of all the data" and more honesty from the NHS about the scientific uncertainties. He also suggests that the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) should review the evidence.

"There is no doubt that screening for breast cancer has limited benefit and some possibility of harm for an individual woman and is of marginal cost-effectiveness for the community... The NHS screening programme needs to be really clear about the uncertainties when communicating with women... More importantly we all need to understand better how a national programme of such importance could exist for so long with so many unanswered questions.""

I have always considered routine mammography screening as an expensive political pretence of concern for women's health, that actually does far more harm than good to the women screened. Screening is not prevention, though it seems to be promoted as though it is prevention. Prevention should be the primary aim where cancer is concerned, but the Cancer Research industry accords little effort to prevention.

BBC Radio 4's File on 4 reported on cancer research wasting vast amounts of donated money and taxpayers' money on worthless studies.

Cancer studies 'wasted millions': See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/file_on_4/7098882.stm

Extracts from the BBC webpage:

"Millions of pounds of charity donations and taxpayers' money have been wasted on worthless cancer studies, the BBC has learned.

File On 4 has discovered thousands of studies have been invalidated.

It found some scientists have failed to carry out simple and inexpensive checks to ensure they are working with the right forms of human tumour cells."

"Cancer Research UK, which spends £315m a year on research, would not be interviewed for the programme."

A web article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/samuel-s-epstein/regulation-of-carcinogens_b_555798.html by Samuel S. Epstein Cancer prevention expert, prof. emeritus at U. of IL School of Public Health, Chicago is very interesting.

Regulation of Carcinogens Is Four Decades Overdue


"For over four decades, NCI policies have been and remain fixated on damage control -- screening, diagnosis, treatment and related research. Meanwhile priorities for prevention, from avoidable exposures to carcinogens in air, water, consumer products, and the workplace have remained minimal."

"Breast cancer is increasing 17% due to a wide range of factors. These include: birth control pills; estrogen replacement therapy; toxic hormonal ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products; diagnostic radiation; and routine premenopausal mammography, with a cumulative breast dose exposure of up to about five rads over ten years."

"These estimates are based on those published in 1981 by the late U.K. epidemiologist Richard Doll. However, from 1976 to 1999, Doll had been a closet consultant to U.K. and U.S. industries, including General Motors, Monsanto and the asbestos industry. Following revelation of these conflicts of interest, just prior to his death in 2002, Doll admitted that most cancers, other than those related to smoking and hormones, "are induced by exposure to chemicals often environmental." "

Can't get much clearer than that! We are all being CONNED by the Cancer Research Industry and at HUGE, WASTED expense.