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Monday, November 05, 2007

A very wrong approach to health

Last month was the national promotional pandering event to try to encourage you to help cure breast cancer.

I do think curing cancer is a very admirable project, but it is about as helpful as road kill when no progress is apparent. I would liken it to the current political madness about Iran, when we know it was Henry Kissinger, many decades ago, that arranged for Iran to have nuclear tools.

These two projects are connected because - on the health side - you are brainwashed with the idea that exposing your very senstive (to radiation) breast to years of radiation exposure in the name of preventing, diagnosing or curing cancer.

If you have been following our work you know that we have provided a great amount of science to proves that mammogram causes breast cancer and we have encouraged thermography or ultrasound as safer diagnostic methods.

We have also spoken about the horrors of chemotherapy and radiation treatments that come along with the package. We do this because we know that women are not receiving the health information they need in order to provide their informed consent.

Now we have esteemed research Dr. Ralph Moss speaking out in common with much we have said, and will continue to say to help woemn get the health care that is correct for them, and the information about it that will allow them to make informed decisions.

Dr. Moss has stated, " the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) in Chicago... At this closed session, a select group of attendees was addressed by Dr. Dennis Slamon, chief of oncology at UCLA. Dr. Slamon revealed that his current research indicates that anthracyclines such as Adriamycin almost certainly provide no benefit whatever to 92 percent of breast cancer patients. Only 8 percent of all women with breast cancer - those who over-express a specific gene called Topoll-2 - stand to benefit from anthracycline-based chemotherapy, since these drugs work by directly targeting Topoll-2.

Meanwhile, Adriamycin and related drugs are well known to be cardiotoxic, causing permanent heart damage in a significant proportion of patients. They are also associated with an increased risk of second cancers, particularly leukemia.

The fact that over 90 percent of women who are given anthracycline-based chemotherapy can expect to derive absolutely no benefit - and potentially considerable harm - from this treatment is a momentous admission. It is all the more remarkable coming from a source as unimpeachable as Dr. Slamon, whose research was pivotal to the development of another ‘targeted' breast cancer drug, Herceptin.

"It seems apparent that we are treating patients who don't need the drug to get at that group who have a huge benefit," Slamon told Bazell. "And now we need to direct our therapy and target it more specifically." Unfortunately, at present there is no commercial test for Topoll-2, although according to Dr. Slamon, development of a test is apparently nearing completion.

It cannot come a moment too soon. The fact that tens of thousands of women are routinely being given chemotherapy that can only possibly benefit 8 out of every 100, and that may harm considerably more than it helps, is shocking.

Although Dr. Slamon's work has not yet been peer-reviewed or published in any medical journal, Bazell considered it newsworthy enough to publish at the MSNBC Web site.

I made a similar point a dozen years ago in my book, Questioning Chemotherapy.

Analyzing the case of some women with node-negative disease, I wrote that toxic chemotherapy was being given to 100 node-negative women in order to benefit just 3. "To achieve that goal for 5,040 women, 64,960 other women have to be treated with toxic drugs," I wrote. "They cannot and will not derive any benefit from this treatment" (p. 91, emphasis in original). After the book came out, I actually rented a display booth at ASCO, in order to familiarize oncologists with this sobering fact. Overall, I met with deafening silence. Oncologists seemed uninterested in any facts that might lead them to diminish the increasing use of chemotherapy.

While the specific numbers have changed somewhat since 1995, it is still true that large numbers of women have to be treated with toxic drugs in order for a few to benefit. If Dr. Slamon has truly figured out how to test women for their sensitivity to anthracyclines then this would be a great thing, since it will spare a huge number of women from having to take these potentially heart-damaging and leukemia-inducing drugs.

If that happens, this will represent a further turn towards individualizing cancer treatment, so that only those who are really likely to benefit from a drug need to receive it. This will be excellent news for the 100,000 or so women each year who are now given anthracyclines with little or no chance of benefiting from them, but with a considerable risk of harm."

You can find the second part of this article, TAXOL DOES NOT HELP PREVENT RECURRENCE OF MOST COMMON BREAST CANCERS, on Dr. Moss's site.

As I always encouraged my students, "Ask questions and expect answers." If you do then the following comment on iatrogenic disease becomes extremely credible.

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