We're in the midst of an epidemic of over-treatment and mis-treatment of breast cancer. That's the good news. The bad news is that this information is almost entirely hidden from view, lost in the fog of war. They say that truth is the first casualty of war, and basic truths about cancer treatment, and especially breast cancer treatment, are missing in action, or dead.
The most startling truth that we uncovered was this: If you receive standard-of-care conventional-only treatments for breast cancer, you're in one of the following groups:
- You don't need the treatments, but get them anyway.
- The treatments aren't going to work, only making you sicker while your cancer gets worse.
- You benefited or were "cured" by the treatments. (We'll explain a bit later why we put the word cured in quotes.)
It's our belief that the typical patient doesn't understand things this way, because the typical doctor doesn't explain things this way. But if you piece together the information that's available from honest doctors who aren't caught up in polarizing war-think, these simple truths will shine through the fog.
Speaking of conventional cancer treatments in general, here is what one cancer expert had to say recently:
"People have known for years that we give treatment and it is only going to work for 20% of people..."
—Harpal Kumar, Scientist, CEO, Cancer Research UK, August 22, 2011
Looking at how this applies to breast cancer more specifically, Dr. Susan Love is one of the world's foremost experts (perhaps the leading expert) on conventional breast cancer science and treatments. In 2002, when Hollie was diagnosed with her Stage 2/Grade 3 breast cancer, Dr. Love's Breast Book was one of the many books we read. Here's what she had to say back then:
"Unfortunately, we are left guessing on the basis of probabilities that are not individualized. This usually means that we overtreat, fearing that we might miss someone who could benefit."1
Our conventional oncologist in Los Angeles confirmed this, and she actually drew a diagram (similar to one shown in Dr. Love's book) showing that for perhaps as many as 90% of women who received standard-of-care treatments, those women either didn't need those treatments, or, their cancer was going to come back anyway, meaning they only got sicker while their cancers got worse. She explained that perhaps as few as 10% of all women who received conventional treatments were "cured" by them (which she defined as "the cancer was likely to come back, but was prevented from doing so by the treatments themselves).
And this bad news from conventional oncology has remained consistent. More recently, in 2010, in a long and excellent article at lifescript.com, Dr. Love confirmed that this terrible problem still exists:
"At the moment, we do not know how to figure out which ones are which. So we treat them all. Then we congratulate ourselves at how well all the patients have done—when many of them would have done just as well if we had done nothing."
So what we discovered in 2002 is still true today—most women are guinea pigs in a grand experiment whose goal is the glorification of the conventional cancer establishment. Too harsh? Here are some more comments from Dr. Love:
"In a recent study looking at screening programs internationally, the authors were able to estimate that 30% of breast cancers found on mammography screening overtreated and would go away by themselves if left alone and therefore could be considered overtreated."
"The consequences of this overtreatment with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy can be significant, from heart failure to second cancers caused by the therapy."
But this 30% over-treatment statistic is only from one study, and only for breast cancers found via mammograms. Many are not, and most of those are over-treated as well. In fact, Dr. Love's own overall summary of aggressive screening, and the over-treatment that results, is really nothing short of shocking:
"...for every 2,000 women screened for 10 years, one will have her life prolonged [by conventional treatments]. At the same time, 10 healthy women, who would have not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be diagnosed as breast cancer patients and treated unnecessarily."
In short, for every 1 woman helped by conventional breast cancer treatment, 10 times as many are given toxic treatments that are unnecessary. If this were a crime-prevention program, it would be the equivalent of arresting everyone in a certain neighborhood, on the logic that you'd end up arresting at least some criminals along with all the innocents. We can do so much better than this.
"Among the 2,500 screened at least 1,000 will have a false alarm, 500 would undergo an unnecessary biopsy, and 5 or more would become treated for abnormal finds that would never become fatal, i.e. their lives will be shortened due to medication/surgical/stress-induced adverse effects."
And while it's bad enough that tens or hundreds of thousands of women every year are given devastatingly toxic treatments they didn't need (group 1), the second group identified above is actually much worse off. These are the women who get once-size-fits-all treatments that were never going to work on their cancers in the first place. This is the worst possible double-whammy with cancer--your body gets sicker and weaker, while your cancer gets worse. Group 2 women have serious cancers, and they can't afford to waste time with ineffective and toxic treatments. Most of these women will die, when they might otherwise have lived if treated with customized, health-promoting integrative medicine. And then there's the all-too-often-overlooked discussion about quality of life. Even assuming these patients in group 2 could not have been saved by "healthy medicine," they nonetheless could have foregone the standard-of-care, conventional-only treatments that were never going to work for them, and lived the rest of their days with a higher quality of life. These are the sacrificial lambs of the war on breast cancer.
As for the third group, we ask--were there other, less-toxic, less-costly treatments that would have "cured" those women? Remember, Hollie was told strenuously that she needed chemotherapy, radiation, hormone treatment (Tamoxifen) and, according to some surgeons, extensive additional surgery beyond her lumpectomy and sentinel node removal/biopsy. She didn't. Aggressive but safe herbal and nutritional medicines have been enough to keep her healthy for nearly a decade, and have delivered numerous other health benefits as well. She got healthier during treatment, and healthier still afterwards. How many other women might have this option?
Another reason we put the word cure in quotes above is that conventional treatments eradicate cancer, they don't cure it. Does eradication work sometimes? Sure. Is it necessary sometimes? Yes. But calling it a cure is dishonest, and we believe that's intended to distract from truly curative treatments. A cure is something that reverses the processes that led to cancer in the first place, and eliminates it from the body, and/or prevents its return. And in our opinion it should be as natural and non-toxic as possible. This is what Hollie did. People do it all the time. But the treatment options you're given in a conventional cancer treatment setting don't even acknowledge it. We ask: Is this right?
When you put all of this together with the fact that conventional oncology practices make the vast majority of their money from the profits from re-selling chemotherapy drugs, it's clear that we have a very broken system. The conventional breast cancer treatment industry is:
- Treating large numbers of women who don't need it, and taking credit for "curing" them.
- Giving ineffective treatments to women with serious cancers, such that their cancers only get worse, thereby robbing them of a chance at life.
- Continuing to pass off "eradication" as "cure," and in the process hiding smarter, safer medicine from legions of patients.
It's time for change. We've seen this smarter, safer medicine of which we speak, and it's the future of treatment for cancers of the breast and others, and it's a future that doesn't look anything like the grim, wartime present. It's a future where we make peace with cancer, and reverse its course through the best combination of old and new medicines available. Most importantly, it's a future that's here, now. We encourage you to embrace it.
1 Susan M. Love, M.D., Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book, Third Edition, Fully Revised (Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2000), 388.