Pink Ribbons and Disinformation
The Truth about Breast Cancer and Mammograpy
by Steven Ransom
Women who are concerned about breast cancer need facts, not myths, to make their own decisions.–Dr. Irwin D. Bross.
In both the US and the UK, October has also become known as BCAM – breast cancer awareness month – the month that sees thousands of women sporting their pink ribbons, all proceeds supposedly going towards finding a cure. A report from the American College of Preventative Medicine estimates that 185,000 women a year in the United States are diagnosed with breast cancer and the latest Royal Marsden Hospital web-page on breast cancer reports that 28,000 women in the UK will have been diagnosed with this disease in 2002.
This article reveals the paucity of genuine information given to women on the subject of breast cancer and affords a revealing insight into the vested interests behind the scenes of the breast cancer industry. And of course, following the Credence tradition, this article also delivers some very good news on the subject.
Interpreting those statistics
Whilst it may be correct that 185,000 women in the United State and 28,000 women per annum in the UK are diagnosed as having breast cancer, how many of those breast cancer diagnoses are actually correct? And more importantly, how dangerous are many breast cancers anyway? Before drawing too sharp a breath at this point, please consider the following statements. A recent report in the UK Sunday Times on breast cancer stated: “Whilst mammography detects some potentially deadly cancers, it also picks up many times more cancers that might never become symptomatic during the patients’ lifetime, or that could be treated just as easily if detection were left until the woman could feel the lump herself. Thus, for every woman saved by early diagnosis, many others receive painful and potentially dangerous treatments to destroy tumours that pose little or no threat – tumours that they might die with, not of.” 
And further, in a paper entitled ‘Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography; Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective and Practical Alternative’, these well-qualified authors state that the widespread and virtually unchallenged acceptance of screening has resulted in a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of ductal carcinoma-in-situ (DCIS), a pre-invasive cancer, with a current, estimated incidence of about 40,000 US citizens annually. However, say the authors, some 80 percent of all DCIS cancers never become invasive, even if left untreated. Today, DCIS is generally treated by lumpectomy plus radiation or even mastectomy and chemotherapy. Were you given this information when you were treated for your DCIS?
Panic makes for easy victims
Irwin D Bross was formerly Director of Bio-Statistics at Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo NY, (Roswell Park Memorial Cancer Hospital). He wrote his thesis on breast cancer after spending some time researching the nature and outcome of the disease and discovering that more than half of those diagnosed with breast cancer had benign lesions that were unable to spread. He states:
“What most women have is a tumour which, under a light microscope, looks like a cancer to a pathologist. Chances are, this tumour lacks the ability to metastasise – to spread throughout the body – which is the hallmark of a genuine cancer…
Our discovery was highly unpopular with the medical profession. Doctors could never afford to admit the scientific truth because the standard treatment in those days was radical mastectomy. Admitting the truth could lead to malpractice suits by women who had lost a breast because of an incorrect medical diagnosis. There is no reason for women to panic when they hear ‘cancer’. Panic makes them easy victims. Women who are concerned about breast cancer need facts, not myths, to make their own decisions.” 
The detection of a breast ‘abnormality’ will of course be of concern, whenever it is discovered. But awareness of qualified information as to why breast lumps aren’t necessarily dangerous, and do not automatically require immediate remedial action (despite the pressure placed upon women to do otherwise), will hopefully lessen the high level of alarm surrounding this issue. And then of course, there are the growing number of false-positive diagnoses.
False positive diagnoses: if more women knew!
A report on false-positive breast cancer diagnosis was printed in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Included was the following:
“If more women knew how common false-positive results are, there might be less stress and anxiety while waiting to undergo further diagnostic tests, which sometimes take many weeks. Most importantly, greater educational initiatives focusing on the role of diet and lifestyle in breast cancer prevention would empower women to protect themselves rather than relying solely on early detection of the disease.” 
Moving on to the mammogram itself, at patient level, very little information is offered concerning the dangers associated with mammography. What about the radiation risks associated with this practice? This condensed report on mammography is brought to us by Dr Joseph Mercola:
“Screening mammography poses significant and cumulative risks of breast cancer for pre-menopausal women. The routine practice of taking four films of each breast annually results in approximately 1 rad (radiation absorbed dose) exposure, about 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray.
The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening. These risks are even greater for younger women subject to ‘baseline screening’.
Screening all pre-menopausal women would cost $2.5 billion annually, about 14% of estimated Medicare spending on prescription drugs.”
Dr Mercola states that monthly breast self-examination (BSE), following brief training, coupled with annual clinical breast examination (CBE) by a trained healthcare professional, is at least as effective as mammography in detecting early tumours, and also safe. Dr Mercola also calls for national networks of BSE and CBE clinics to be established, staffed by trained nurses, to replace screening mammography. Apart from their minimal costs, such clinics would also empower women and free them from increasing dependence on industrialised medicine and its complicit medical institutions. It might also help to free women from the constant disinformation, posing as ‘breast cancer statistics’. Readers may be interested to know that a simple and safe program of breast self-examination is included in the appendices at the back of Great News on Cancer in the 21st Century.
Mammography is a fraud
Dr John McDougall has made a thorough review of pertinent literature on mammograms. He points out that the $5-13 billion per year generated by mammograms controls the information that women get. Fear and incomplete data are the tools commonly used to persuade women to get routine mammograms. Says Dr McDougall:
“I went into medicine with the idea that I was going to save all of these lives with all the tricks and tools that medical doctors learned. And what I found was that very few of my patients got well. I often did harm to them. This was quite disturbing to me as a young doctor. What was even more disturbing was to find out that this failure had been fairly well documented in the scientific literature – but it doesn’t fit anybody’s advertising campaign.
Science says one thing and the public believes another because the public relations machine benefits the economics of the drug and medical industries. Mammography is a fraud. The 8th January 2000 issue of The Lancet carried an article stating that mammography is unjustifiable. Of the eight studies done, six of them showed that mammography doesn’t work, and yet the American public believes this is a time-honoured, definite way of saving their lives from breast cancer.” 
Cancer risks from breast compression
As early as 1928, physicians were warned to handle cancerous breasts with care, for fear of accidentally disseminating cells and spreading cancer. Even so, mammography entails tight and often painful compression of the breast, particularly in pre-menopausal women. This may lead to a spread of malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in, or around small, as yet undetected breast cancers. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer. Dr Tim O’Shea warns that harmless breast cancers can be made active by the compressive force of routine mammography.
Mammography offers no benefit above self-examination
Extensive studies of breast cancer histories show no increased survival rate from routine screening mammograms. After reviewing all available literature in the world on the subject, noted researchers Drs Wright and Mueller, of the University of British Columbia, recommended the withdrawal of public funding for mammography screening, because, “the benefit achieved is marginal and the harm caused is substantial.” 
The harm to which they are referring includes the constant worrying and emotional distress, as well as the tendency for unnecessary procedures and testing to be done based on results which can have a false-positive rate as high as 50%.
A seven year study of 90,000 women by Professor Anthony Miller of Toronto University has shown that mammography had no impact on women aged between 40 – 49, and for women over 50, it has shown no benefit over and above what is detected by annual examinations by specialists and self-examination.
In his book The Politics of Cancer, internationally recognised carcinogens expert, Dr Samuel Epstein, warns us:
“… the US National Cancer Institute is now agreed that large-scale mammography screening programs are likely to cause more cancers than could possibly be detected.” 
In Radiation and Human Health, Dr John Goffman writes:
“There will be more breast cancers induced by the procedure than there will be women saved from breast cancer death by early discovery of lesions.” 
But as Dr John McDougall has already stated, “… by the time a tumour is large enough to be detected by mammography, it has been there as long as 12 years! It is therefore ridiculous to advertise mammography as ‘early detection’.”
Mammography and vested interests
The American Cancer Society, the world’s most wealthy, non-profit institution (it has even made political contributions), has close connections to the mammography industry. Five radiologists have served as ACS presidents. The ACS promotes the interests of the major manufacturers of mammogram machines and films, including Siemens, DuPont, General Electric, Eastman Kodak, and Piker. The mammography industry also conducts research for the ACS and its grantees, serves on advisory boards, and donates considerable funds.
Pharmaceutical giant DuPont is a substantial backer of the ACS Breast Health Awareness Program. ACS sponsors television shows and other media productions promoting mammography; produces advertising, promotional, and information literature for hospitals, clinics, medical organisations, and doctors; produces educational films, and, of course, lobbies Congress for legislation promoting availability of mammography services. In virtually all its important actions, the ACS has been, and remains strongly linked with the mammography industry, while ignoring or attacking the development of viable alternatives.
ACS promotion continues to attract women of all ages into mammography centres, leading them to believe that mammography is their best hope against breast cancer. According to the report, a leading Massachusetts newspaper featured a photograph of two women in their twenties in an ACS advertisement that promised early detection results “nearly 100 percent of the time.” An ACS communications director was questioned by journalist Kate Dempsey and admitted the following, in an article published by the Massachusetts Women’s Community journal Cancer:
“The ad isn’t based on a study. When you make an advertisement, you just say what you can to get women in the door. You exaggerate a point… Mammography today is a lucrative and highly competitive business.” 
Those ‘exciting’ breast cancer drugs!
The following BBC News item on breast cancer makes reference to the drug Tamoxifen:
Breast cancer deaths plummet: Early detection has saved lives. An unprecedented fall in the number of women dying from breast cancer has been hailed by scientists. A drug, Tamoxifen, developed in the UK, appears mainly responsible for almost a 30% drop in deaths in the UK over the last decade, reported the Lancet medical journal. It is the most sudden drop in mortality for a common cancer seen anywhere in the world. 
The above news item represents nothing more than the standard ‘advertorial’ we have come to expect from today’s toothless media. Everything of importance has been left out. Tamoxifen (other names include Nolvadex, Tamofen and Noltam) is an anti-estrogen drug manufactured by Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals and is currently prescribed for between 2 and 5 years in duration, as a single daily dose of around 20 mg.
Tamoxifen – a human carcinogen
Nowhere is it mentioned in any of the Tamoxifen promos that the World Health Organisation formally designated Tamoxifen as a human carcinogen back in 1996, grouping this treatment with around 70 other chemicals — about one quarter of them pharmaceuticals. Quite shockingly, in response to WHO’s announcement, the National Cancer Institute and Zeneca Pharmaceuticals lobbied California regulators to keep them from adding Tamoxifen to their list of carcinogens. As Duncan Roades, editor of Nexus Magazine stated:
“Here is open evidence of a government agency, chartered to find a cure for cancer, flagrantly colluding with a drug company to keep a known carcinogen on the market and keep the public from learning of its dangers.… This should have been a controversy of high order; instead it was barely reported in the press and few heard about it.” 
The long-term safety of Tamoxifen use in healthy women has never been established. In particular, Tamoxifen can cause uterine cancer. Cancers of the liver, ovaries and gastrointestinal tract have also been reported. A study at Johns Hopkins University by Yager and Shi found that Tamoxifen is a promoter of liver cancer. When WHO announced Tamoxifen as a known carcinogen in 1996, the NCI study on this drug was abruptly curtailed, but not before 33 women taking Tamoxifen at that time developed endometrial cancer.
Readers are strongly advised to research the side-effects of all chemotherapy/hormonal drugs prescribed to them for their particular condition. Further important information on Tamoxifen and other breast cancer drugs is available from Great News on Cancer in the 21st Century.
‘Male-oriented’ Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US (and the pink ribbon campaigns here in the UK) is designed to raise public awareness of breast cancer. BCAM is held in October and is sponsored primarily by Zeneca (the makers of Tamoxifen and a former subsidiary of Industry giant ICI), along with the American Academy of Family Physicians and Cancer Care Inc. In the US, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is now governed by a board consisting of 17 organisations, including the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and the National Cancer Institute. Behind the scenes and Breast Cancer Awareness Month is nothing more than a business jamboree, with a little bit of sincerity thrown in on the side.
Male and money-oriented
The following extract is taken from the British Medical Journal ‘Selling Sickness’ debate:
“In some countries, women are invited for mammography in a letter in which the date and time of the appointment have already been fixed. This puts pressure on these women, who must actively decline the invitation if they don’t want to be screened. Sometimes, women are asked to give reasons for not attending appointments, as if it were a civic duty. In leaflets, women get simple messages – that cancer detected early can be cured, and early cancers can often be treated with breast-conserving surgery.
The data tell another story: no reliable evidence shows that breast screening saves lives; breast screening leads to more surgery, including more mastectomies; and estimates show that more than a tenth of healthy women who attend a breast screening program experience considerable psychological distress for many months.” 
An unnecessary climate of fear
In an article focusing on predictive (genetic) testing for breast cancer, a Dr Miryam Wahrman notes that: “… women must grapple with whether to undergo major surgery, or to watch and wait.”  This is diabolical position. The authority figure in the breast cancer equation – the oncologist – has now been given permission to pronounce a psychological, pharmaceutical and surgical curse upon healthy and unsuspecting patients. “You might get it. Who knows?” That so unsound a knowledge-base is gaining such stature in society today is nothing short of criminal. Women are being treated as mere guinea pigs, being herded from pillar to post and trustingly receiving diagnoses and treatments that are causing serious psychological and physical harm, and tragically, more often than not, leading to the death of the ‘patient’.
In surveying the conventional breast cancer scene, in fact, in surveying the conventional cancer scene in general, one can only conclude that ‘death by doctoring’ is alive and well in the 21st century. No apologies are offered for the grim picture that has emerged in this article with regard to conventional breast cancer treatment and ‘care’. On the brink of the American Civil War, it was Patrick Henry who poignantly stated:
“We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of the siren till she transforms us into beasts. For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and provide for it.”
Were there only one side to this cancer story, then it would be a depressing read indeed. In Great News on Cancer in the 21st Century, there are numerous testimonies as to the positive effects of treating cancer without the use of conventional drugs.
Hazel had been given a virtual death sentence by her cancer doctor, telling her that although there was an 86% recovery from her type of breast cancer, she was unfortunately in the smaller category. As previously noted, Hazel’s chemotherapy was only making her feel terrible, and she decided that if she was going to die, then she would do so without further conventional treatment. Hazel began a regime of intravenously administered Vitamin C and supplements including Vitamin B17 and paid great attention to her diet.
She soon began to feel a great deal better. She regained her weight and her hair and her appetite. About nine months following the diagnosis, she was troubled with lower back pain and visited her doctor. He suggested a further scan based on Hazel’s lower back pain, which the doctor believed was possibly the result of her cancer having spread to the base of her spine. Hazel said there was no way she was going for more chemotherapy or scans which she believes in themselves can trigger carcinogenic activity.
Instead, Hazel supplemented her Vitamin C regime with a course of Vitamin B17 kernels, as well as maintaining a sensible diet and staying away from her conventional cancer physician. The blood count taken by her GP before Christmas read as normal. She feels very healthy and feels passionately that people need to know that there are alternative cancer treatments available and speaks to groups on this subject.
There is some very good news indeed on cancer. And fortunately, it doesn’t depend on the mighty orthodoxy to deliver it! With regard to breast cancer in general, for those women facing this disease or who are worried about the prospect, the following advice is offered by natural health advocate Dr Joseph Mercola:
“Breast Cancer Awareness Month is indeed a powerful time to educate, awaken and empower women to the real causes, preventative measures and truly effective cures for breast cancer. But, let’s not be duped or compromised in the process.” 
’Screening for Cancer’ at www.acpm.org/breast.htm
 ‘Mammography – a woman’s breast friend?’ Sunday Times Magazine, 7thJuly 2002
 Baum, M, ‘Epidemiology versus scare-mongering: The case for humane interpretation of statistics and breast cancer’, Breast J. 6(5): 331-334, 2000
 Boss, Irwin D, ‘Breast cancer: the one scientific fact you need to know’ at
 CF Christiansen, L Wang, MB Barton et al, ‘Predicting the cumulative risk of false-positive mammograms’, Journal of The National Cancer Institute, 92:1657-66, 2000
 ‘More on the Dangers of Mammography’, 23rd February 2002: at www.mercola.com/2002/feb/23/mammography.htm
 An Interview with Dr John McDougall at www.shareguide.com/McDougall.html
 Quigley, D T, ‘Some neglected points in the pathology of breast cancer, and treatment of breast cancer’, Radiology, May 1928
 Watmough, D J, ‘X-ray mammography and breast compression’, The Lancet 340: 122, 1992
 O’Shea, Tim, To the Cancer Patient at www.thedoctorwithin.com
 The Lancet, 1st July 1995
 New York Times, 14th December 1997; also O’Shea, Tim, op. cit.
 ‘Ideas’, CBC, 1st February 1996
 Epstein, Samuel S, The Politics of Cancer, Doubleday, 1979
 Epstein, Samuel S, Bertell, Rosalie & Barbara Seaman, ‘Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography; Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective and Practical Alternative’ at www.iicph.org/docs/dangers_of_mammography.htm See also ‘Health Concerns Related to Radiation Exposure of the Female Nuclear Medicine Patient’ at http://ehpnet1.niehs.nih.gov/docs/1997/Suppl-6/stabin.html
 Epstein, Samuel S, Bertell, Rosalie & Barbara Seaman, op. cit.
 BBC News, ‘Breast Cancer Deaths Plummet’ at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_753000/753821.stm
 US Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Service
National Toxicology Program at http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/roc/toc9.html
 Sellman, Sherrill, ‘Tamoxifen – A Major Medical Mistake?’ at
 Rona, Zoltan P, ‘The Trouble With Tamoxifen’, Health Link:
 Moynihan, Ray, Heath, Iona & David Henry, ‘Selling Sickness: the pharmaceutical industry and disease-mongering’, British Medical Journal Online, BMJ, 13th April 2002
 Wahrman, Miryam Z,’The Breast Cancer Genes’ at
 Mercola, Joseph, ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Month’ at http://www.mercola.com/2000/oct/29/breast_cancer_awareness.htm