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Health news:
 
June 2010 - Dec 2013

Minimizing breast cancer risk

May 2010

Time to move beyond salt ?

Salt hypothesis vs. reality

Is sodium bad?

April 2010

Salt studies: the latest score

From Dahl to INTERSALT

Salt hypothesis' story

March 2010

Salt war

Do bone drugs work?

Diabetes vs. drugs, 3:0

February 2010

The MMR vaccine war: Wakefield vs. ?

Wakefield proceedings: an exception?

Who's afraid of a littl' 1998 study?
 

January 2010

Antibiotic children

Physical activity benefits late-life health

Healthier life for New Year's resolution

 

December 2009

Autism epidemic worsening: CDC report

Rosuvastatin indication broadened

High-protein diet effects

 

November 2009

Folic acid cancer risk

Folic acid studies: message in a bottle?

Sweet, short life on a sugary diet

 

October 2009

Smoking health hazards: no dose-response

C. difficile warning

Asthma risk and waist size in women

 

September 2009

Antioxidants' melanoma risk: 4-fold or none?

Murky waters of vitamin D status

Is vitamin D deficiency hurting you?

 

August 2009

Pill-crushing children

New gut test for children and adults

Unhealthy habits - whistling past the graveyard?

 

July 2009

Asthma solution - between two opposites that don't attract

Light wave therapy - how does it actually work?

Hodgkin's lymphoma in children: better alternatives

 

June 2009

Hodgkin's, kids, and the abuse of power

Efficacy and safety of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's:
behind the hype

Long-term mortality and morbidity after conventional treatments for pediatric Hodgkin's

 

May 2009

Late health effects of the toxicity of the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel's true 5-year chances with the conventional treatment for Hodgkin's

Daniel Hauser Hodgkin's case: child protection or medical oppression?

April 2009

Protection from EMF: you're on your own

EMF pollution battle: same old...

EMF health threat and the politics of status quo
 

March 2009

Electromagnetic danger? No such thing, in our view...

EMF safety standards: are they safe?

Power-frequency field exposure
 

February 2009

Electricity and health

Electromagnetic spectrum: health connection

Is power pollution making you sick?

January 2009

Pneumococcal vaccine for adults useless?

DHA in brain development study - why not boys?

HRT shrinks brains

NEWS ARCHIVE
2009
2008
2007

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June 2010 - December 2013

II - Mammography

7. Mammography benefits

2 good choices to prevent breast cancer

I - BREAST CANCER
 RISK FACTORS
  

II - SCREENING X-RAY MAMMOGRAPHY

III - ALTERNATIVE TESTS

The biggest risk factor
Risk factors overview
Times change

END OF A MYTH
The whistle
Contra-argument
Last decade
Current picture

 OTHER  X-RAY TESTS
Digital standard
Tomosynthesis
Breast CT

Predisposing factors
Diet       Other

BENEFIT
Earlier diagnosis
Fewer breast cancer deaths

Gamma-ray tests
BSGI/MBI 
PEM

INITIATING  FACTORS
Radiation
Chemicals
Viruses

RISK  &  HARM

OTHER  TESTS
Breast MRI
Ultrasound
Thermography
AMAS test

INACCURACY RISKS

False negative
False positive
Overdiagnosis
PROMOTING  FACTORS
Hormonal

Non-hormonal

RADIATION

Radiation primer
Screen exposure
Radiation risk
PHYSICAL EXAM
Clinical
Self-exam

Higher all-cause mortality?

• Minimizing breast cancer risk

During the 1980-ties, screening healthy women for breast cancer (BC) with X-ray mammography became part of the U.S. public health policy on the grounds of its proven ability to detect suspicious growth at an earlier stage - in general, before it becomes symptomatic. At that time, large uncontrolled public trial (Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project, 1973-80), as well as the first large randomized controlled trial (Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York, HIP, 1971), seemingly confirmed the expected benefit: reduction in breast cancer mortality (BCM) in the screened population.

Additional benefit, assumed and widely advertised despite never being documented in trials, was generally less aggressive treatment of the screened population, due to breast cancer being generally detected at an earlier stage.

These are the three major benefits associated with the preventive screening mammography, ever since it was introduced in the U.S. nearly three decades ago:
 

(1) earlier breast cancer detection

(2) significantly reduced breast cancer mortality due to generally more effective treatment in the early cancer stages, and

(3) generally less invasive treatment required for earlier breast cancer stages
 

Of the three,

only the first, earlier detection, has withstood closer scrutiny.

However, by itself it does not represent a benefit, unless it translates into lower mortality and/or less invasive treatment.

For decades, screening establishment was advertising significant BC mortality reduction due to the screening. This view, however, was based on the two trials with the most favorable outcome for the screening (HIP and Two County), while

neglecting trials reporting no significant effect,
or even negative effect.

Within past decade, systematic reviews of all relevant trials made this loudly advertised significant reduction in BC mortality in the screened populations shrink to marginal, to the point that

it cannot be said with certainty whether such benefit really exists, or it was created by poorly designed and/or biased trials and random deviations within trial populations.

Most researchers still tend to believe that screening does result in a relatively small, not entirely insignificant reduction in breast cancer mortality.

Not so with the proclaimed benefit of less aggressive treatment. The same systematic reviews of breast cancer trials (#5, #9), as well as data from the actual screening programs, revealed that the screened population had been subjected to generally more treatment, mainly due to the higher number of detected/diagnosed cancers. Since significant number of these breast cancers are pseudo-disease, i.e. abnormal growths that would not evolve into a symptomatic cancer during lifetime, the excess treatment of the screened populations is not justified.

In other words,

screening results in more, not less treatment, which makes it not beneficial, but more risky in this respect.

In addition, there are solid indications that the screened population may not have lower total (all-cause) mortality; in fact, it may be higher, possibly significantly so. If that is true, both earlier detection and possible small breast cancer mortality reduction due to mammography screening would have been dwarfed by that one harm alone. And the rest of them is already enough to this form of screening unjustified and unattractive for the average women.

Following pages look in more details at that one remaining benefit of screening, the earlier detection. Is it a benefit at all? In addition, will tackle the most disturbing unanswered question about screening mammography: is already statistically near-negligible reduction in BC mortality due to preventive screening further diminished, offset, or even exceeded by the higher total mortality rate among the screened population?

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