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"I believe that if screening had been a drug, it would have been withdrawn from the market long ago."
~ Peter C Gøtzsche
With Breast Cancer Awareness Month just around the corner, a new study promises to undermine the multi-billion dollar cause-marketing orgy that shepherds millions of women into having their breasts scanned for cancer with x-rays that themselves are known to contribute to breast cancer.
If you have followed GreenMedInfo.com for any length of time, you know that we often report on the adverse effects of mammography, of which there are many. From the radiobiological and psychological risks of the procedure itself, to the tremendous harms of overdiagnosis and overtreatment, it is becoming clearer every day that those who subject themselves to screening as a "preventive measure" are actually putting themselves directly into harms way, unnecessarily.
Now, a new study conducted by Peter C Gøtzsche, of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine and titled "Mammography screening is harmful and should be abandoned," strikes to the heart of the matter by showing the actual effect of decades of screening has not been to reduce breast cancer specific mortality, despite the generation of millions of new so-called "early stage" or "stage zero" breast cancer diagnoses.
Previous investigation on the subject by Gotzsche resulted in the discovery that overdiagnosis occurs in a staggering 52% of patients offered organized mammography screening, which equates to "one in three breast cancers being overdiagnosed." The problem with overdiagnosis is that it almost always goes unrecognized. This then results in overtreatment with aggressive interventions such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation; overtreatment is a euphemistic term that describes being severely harmed and/or having one's life shortened by unnecessary medical treatment. Some of these treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can actually enrich cancer stem cells within tumors, essentially altering cells from benign to malignant, or transforming already cancerous cells into far deadlier phenotypes.
Other recent research has determined that the past 30 years of breast cancer screening has lead to the overdiagnosis and overtreatment of about 1.3 million U.S. women, i.e. tumors were detected on screening that would never have led to clinical symptoms, and should never have been termed "cancers" in the first place. Truth be told, the physical and psychophysical suffering wrought by the harms of breast cancer screening can not even begin to be quantified.