U.S. Government Admits CT Scans Are a Major Cause of Breast Cancer That They Are Supposed To Detect

Findings from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) have found that  CT (computed tomography) scans are a major cause of the  breast cancer they are supposed to detect, and women should avoid all  ‘just-in-case’ and routine screening, a US government report has concluded.

Women should refuse to have any routine CT screening, say researchers from the  University of California, at San Francisco (UCSF), who prepared their report on  behalf of the US’s Institute of Medicine.
Instead, women, and especially those over the age of 50 — the major target  group for routine imaging screening — should ask doctors the following  questions:

  • Is this scan absolutely necessary?
  • Is it necessary to do it now?
  • Are there other alternative tests?
  • How can I be sure the test will be done in the safest way possible?
  • Will having the scan results change the management of my disease (assuming the cancer is present)?
  • Can I wait until after seeing a specialist before getting the scan?

                    Most doctors may not recommend thermography which is a safer option for breast cancer detection, so this options should also be requested even if it is at your expense.
Mammography Screening Increases Breast Cancer Mortality

In a Swedish study of   60,000 women, 70 percent of    the mammographically detected tumors   weren’t tumors at all. These “false    positives” aren’t just financial   and emotional strains, they may also    lead to many unnecessary and   invasive biopsies. In fact, 70 to 80 percent    of all positive   mammograms do not, upon biopsy, show any presence of cancer.
The use of CT has increased nearly 5-fold over the last 2 decades. Currently, 75 million CT scans are performed annually in the United States, around half in women, reflecting the large number of individuals who   are exposed to this source of radiation. Thought leaders in radiology   are often quoted as estimating that 30% or more of advanced imaging   tests may be unnecessary, and while there are few scientific data to precisely estimate the   amount of overuse, many radiologists believe the proportion may be even   higher.

Perhaps one of the most   damning reports was a large scale study by   Johns Hopkins published in   2008 in the prestigious Journal of the   American Medical Association’s   Archives of Internal Medicine (Arch   Intern Med. 2008;168[21:2302-2303).   In the Background to the research   it was pointed out that breast   cancer diagnosis rates increased   significantly in four   Scandanavian counties after women there began   receiving mammograms every   two years. Now, there will be those who   will simply argue that   this just shows the power of mammograms to find   (diagnose) breast   cancer. They may well be talking rubbish.

In the study looking at two   large scale groups of women in Norway,   one having a mammogram every   two years for 6 years, the other just at   the end, the researchers   themselves went on to conclude that they cannot   link the increased   incidence of breast cancer diagnosis simply to more   real cases being   detected because the rates among regularly screened   women were   significantly higher than rates among women of the same age   who only   received a mammogram at the end of the same six year period.

There are therefore three possible logical conclusions:

  • The women in the control   group who had a mammogram only at the end   of year six somehow had   their breast cancers heal themselves — the   cancer went away without   treatment.
  • Not all the women diagnosed with irregularities actually had a problem that became breast cancer
  • The more breast cancer screening you have, the more your incidence of breast cancer diagnosis increases.

The research was by no   means a small study and compared 119,472 women   screened every two   years, with an identical group of 109,784 who had   none.

The researchers themselves   went on to conclude that the findings   “provide new insight on what is   arguably the major harm associated with   mammographic screening,   namely, the detection and treatment of cancers   that would otherwise   regress.”

That in itself is a truly   important conclusion – the idea that if you   leave a cancer alone (even   if it has already had 20 divisions), the   body can still heal itself.

Intense   marketing focusing on profit leads to the rapid purchase of machines   prior to completely understanding how this technology should be used to   improve health outcomes has created excess capacity, complicated by few   evidence-based guidelines for its use.

Strong financial incentives, reflected by the growing ownership of CT scanners by nonradiologists for use in their private medical offices, strong patient demand (in part resulting from direct-to-consumer advertisements that do not mention untoward effects), and medical malpractice concerns leading to defensive test ordering have all further contributed to high excess use.

Thus, while CT is clearly indicated and valuable in many cases–for example, for patients   with acute appendicitis and pulmonary embolism–CT is frequently used in the absence of evidence. The threshold for using CT for imaging has dropped dramatically, and thus it is not surprising that the IOM suggested curtailing unnecessary radiation exposure from medical imaging to reduce cancer risks.

Source: Archives of  Internal Medicine, 2012; 1-5; doi: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.2329

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Comments

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