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A powerful new study on the failure of mammograms to protect women against breast cancer, curiously absent from mainstream news health reporting, was published this month in The European Journal of Public Health, and is forcing the scientific and medical community, policy makers and the public at large to ask the question: can the now worldwide practice of mass breast screenings in healthy (asymptomatic) populations be justified when they increase the incidence of localized stage 'cancers' without reducing the incidence of advanced cancers?
Titled, "Trends in breast cancer stage distribution before, during and after introduction of a screening programme in Norway," the study found that based on a population sample of 1.8 million Norwegian women, diagnosed with breast cancer 1987-2010,
"The annual incidence of localized breast cancer among women aged 50–69 years rose from 63.9 per 100 000 before the introduction of screening to 141.2 afterwards, corresponding to a ratio of 2.21 (95% confidence interval: 2.10; 2.32). The incidence of more advanced cancers increased from 86.9 to 117.3 per 100 000 afterwards, corresponding to a 1.35 (1.29; 1.42)-fold increase. Advanced cancers also increased among younger women not eligible for screening, whereas their incidence of localized cancers remained nearly constant." [emphasis added]
In other words, enrollment in Norway's breast screening program increased the chance of being diagnosed with an early-stage breast 'cancer' diagnoses by 221%, and more disturbingly, increased the chance of being diagnosed with an advanced (lethal) breast cancer by 35% -- exactly opposite what would be expected if the mammograms were actually catching malignant tumors early, which would imply the incidence of the more lethal, late stage cancers would be lower and not higher. (see: see scientist's description of how breast cancer overdiagnosis occurs on GreenMedTV.com)
The study concluded with the following summarization:
"Conclusion: Incidence of localized breast cancer increased significantly among women aged 50–69 years old after introduction of screening, while the incidence of more advanced cancers was not reduced in the same period when compared to the younger unscreened age group."
While not discussed in depth within the article, their results indicate that breast screening causes profound numbers of overdiagnosis, and because of the 'overtreatment' (and mistreatment) that results from this, produces excess morbidity and mortality in screened women as a result. Indeed, one of the most dramatic revelations of our time occurred last year when a National Cancer Institute commissioned expert panel concluded that so-called 'early stage cancers' such as Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) are not cancer at all, but benign or indolent growths. This implies that millions of women were wrongly diagnosed with 'breast cancer' over the past 30 years who would have been better off left undiagnosed and untreated.
Does Breast Screening Really 'Save Lives'? If So, Prove It
The oft-touted belief that 'breast screening saves lives,' or that the best form of 'prevention is through early detection,' has increasingly been challenged by the very peer-reviewed and published research – the "scientific evidence" -- that forms the only real justification for foisting them upon women. These viral memes, now driving millions of women to subject themselves to breast cancer causing diagnostic radiation (see: dangers of x-ray mammography on our database), are no longer founded in anything more than the marketing copy of the industries that stand to profit greatly from the process of screening and treating breast 'cancers,' regardless of whether they are benign and indolent (like DCIS), or actually a cause for concern. (see: The Dark Side of Breast Cancer Awareness Month)
Only last month, we reported on the latest British Medical Journal study,[i] involving 90,000 Canadian women, which compared breast cancer incidence and mortality up to 25 years in women aged 40-59 who did or did not undergo mammography screening. The clear conclusion of the 25-year follow up study was that regular mammogram screenings do not reduce breast cancer death rates, i.e. taken as a whole, they don't save lives.
This new study, therefore, is actually only confirming what a growing body of virtually unassailable evidence is telling us, and which our contributing writer Rolf Hefti, author of The Mammogram Myth (non-affiliate link), summarizes as follows:
"The findings of this study corroborate copious previous research data I had documented in The Mammogram Myth that screening with mammography detects mostly indolent, low-grade "cancers" and misses much of the progressive fatal cancers, contradicting a main claim of benefit heavily disseminated by the medical-mammogram industry.
In addition, the study's results suggest, again, that screening with mammography will lead to a lot of unnecessary invasive cancer treatments in women with innocuous, early-stage breast "cancer" due to overdiagnosis, while many women with aggressive advanced cancers, who presumably have the most need for these treatments, don't get them."
Like so many other studies that have been released on the topic of mammography's failure to produce a net benefit in screened populations, there are far deeper implications to women's physical and psychospiritual health that should be addressed. These include the following, excerpted from our article: Fail: Another Mammography Study Finds They Don't Save Lives:
- They Contribute to Radiation-Induced Breast Cancer: In our previous article, "How X-Ray Mammograpy Is Accelerating The Epidemic of Cancer," we addressed the radiobiological hazards of mammography radiation, which is far more carcinogenic than previously believed. Essentially, the radiation risk model used to determine whether the benefit of breast screenings in asymptomatic women outweighs their harm, underestimates the risk of mammography-induced breast and related cancers by between 4-600%. [Note: even the "therapeutic" use of radiation (radiotherapy) to treat breast cancer has been shown to make the cancer cells up to 30x more malignant: "Study: Radation Therapy Makes Cancers 30x More Malignant"]
- They Lead To An Epidemic of Misdiagnosed/Overdiagnosed Breast Cancer: In our previous article, "Mammograms Linked To An Epidemic of Misdiagnosed Cancers," we addressed the mythology associated with one of the most commonly diagnosed screen-detected breast cancers, namely, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), which has recently been confirmed to be benign in nature (i.e. not 'cancer') by a National Cancer Institute commissioned expert panel. For more details, read: "Millions Wrongly Treated for 'Cancer,' National Cancer Institute Panel Confirms." Also, in "Confirmed: The More Mammograms You Get The More Harm They Do," we reported on a 2012 Journal of the National Cancer Institute study that found annual breast screening for women 40 or older provides no additional protection against aggressive breast cancer, but does cause greater harm through increasing rates of false positives and unnecessary biopsies. Additionally, in "Confirmed: Breast Screenings Cause More Harm Than Good," we report on a BMJ article that concluded the"[I]ntroduction of breast cancer screening might have caused net harm for up to 10 years after the start of screening."
- They Cause Psychological Trauma: Beyond the obvious fact that a multi-billion dollar "pink" cause marketing agenda has converted women's breasts into being perceiving first and foremost as 'cancer time-bombs,' the omnipresent psychological threat of being diagnosed with breast cancer, along with the statistical inevitability – at least 1 in 2 women undergoing regular screening will have a false-positive recall or biopsy recommendation after 12 years[i] - of being 'overdiagnosed,' i.e. misdiagnosed and [mis-]treated for cancers that weren't there, or were intrinsically benign/indolent, there is the reality that millions of women will suffer harm from screening that will never be accounted for in studies like the one featured in the beginning of this article. In a previous exploration on the topic, "'Hidden Dangers' of Mammograms Every Woman Should Know About," we reported on a 2013 study from the Annals of Family Medicine, which found that women with false-positive diagnoses of breast cancer, even three years after being declared free of cancer, "consistently reported greater negative psychosocial consequences compared with women who had normal findings in all 12 psychosocial outcomes." What is even more concerning is that "[S]ix months after final diagnosis, women with false-positive findings reported changes in existential values and inner calmness as great as those reported by women with a diagnosis of breast cancer." Overdiagnosis can no longer be written off as 'collateral,' or 'the cost of doing business.' These 'psychological' traumas have real physiological consequences, and can directly lead to increased mortality, both through adrenaline's role in activating malignancy associated genetic pathways within cancer, as well as the recent discovery that the clinical ritual of cancer diagnosis itself can accelerate heart-related deaths up to 26.9 fold within 1 week post-diagnosis. Read: "Research: Some Cancer Diagnoses Kill Quicker Than The Cancer."
- They Aren't Evidence-Based/Scientific: On the most fundamental level, exposing the presumably healthy breasts of asymptomatic populations to breast cancer-causing radiation (the equivalent of 300 chest x-rays each screen), makes little sense. This is all the more true now that we know most of the early stage "breast cancers" that have been diagnosed in the quarter century old push for 'early detection' via x-ray mammography screenings, were benign lesions, some of which (including so-called "invasive breast tumors") have been reported to spontaneously regress when left untreated. Given the accumulating evidence against x-ray based screening, and the availability of non-ionizing radiation-based methods such as thermography, why take the well-documented risks? For further research, read our contributor Rolf Hefti's excellent mini-review: "Why Mammography Is Unscientific and Harmful."
For additional information on breast cancer, view our database on dedicated to the topic: Breast Cancer Research.
[i] GreenMedInfo.com, Fail: Another Mammography Study Finds They Don't Save Lives, Feb. 2014