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What this means is that not only are millions of screen-detected abnormalities not 'cancer' in the first place but even those which can be considered fast-growing are often being driven into greater malignancy by the conventional chemotherapy, radiation and surgery-based standard of cancer care itself.
Our entire world view of cancer needs to shift from an enemy that "attacks" us and that we must wage war against, to something our body does, presumably to survive an increasingly inhospitable, nutrient-deprived, carcinogen- and radiation-saturated environment, i.e. Cancer As An Ancient Survival Mechanism Unmasked.
When we look at cancer through the optic of fear and see it as an essentially chaos-driven infinitely expanding mass of cells, we are apt to make irrational choices. The physiological state of fear itself has been found to activate multidrug resistance proteins within cancer cells, explaining how our very perception of cancer can influence and/or determine its physiological status and/or trajectory within our body.
The NCI panel report opined:
"The word "cancer" often invokes the specter of an inexorably lethal process; however, cancers are heterogeneous and can follow multiple paths, not all of which progress to metastases and death, and include indolent disease that causes no harm during the patient's lifetime."
For more details on what our founder Sayer Ji calls the "Cancer Malignancy Meme," see his video presentation at the Mind Body Week DC conference, wherein he discuss the 'Rise of Biomedicine' within the context of the mind-body connection, and breast cancer overdiagnosis in particular.
We must keep in mind that this proposed redefinition of cancer is no small academic matter, but will affect the lives of millions of women. Consider that every year, approximately 60,000 women in this country are diagnosed with DCIS, a diagnosis so traumatic that it results in significant psychiatric depression 3 years after even a 'false positive' diagnosis. For those less fortunate women, numbering in the millions over the past 30 years, who were told they had 'cancer' and needed to undergo lumpectomy, radiation, chemotherapy and/or mastectomy, the NCI panel's recommendation is a hard pill swallow after the damage has already been irrevocably done.
So, what's the solution? There is a growing movement towards the use of thermography as a primary diagnostic tool, as it uses no ionizing radiation, and can detect the underlying physiological processes that may indicate inflammation, angiogenesis, cancer-specific metabolic changes, etc., many years before a calcified lesion would appear within an x-ray mammogram. Also, the mainstay of any truly preventive strategy against cancer is diet, nutrition, exercise and avoiding chemical and radiation exposures – the things that we can do in our daily lives to take back control of and responsibility for our health.
For related research read 'Hidden Dangers' of Mammograms Every Woman Should Know About