I recently came across a headline that claimed, “Half a Million Breast Cancer Deaths Avoided in Last 30 Years.”
The article credited improved treatments and screenings for progress against breast cancer mortality.
And that would be great news if it were true…but it isn’t.
In fact, as I’ll explain in a moment, this article, which appeared in an online journal for physicians, was basically summarizing the results of a complete disaster of a study recently published in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) scientific journal, Cancer.
But most doctors won’t ever stumble upon the facts, because 90 percent of them admit they don’t have the time to read past journal headlines. And of the 10 percent who do get past the headlines, another 90 percent don’t really understand the statistical manipulations.
So, as you can imagine, the mainstream cancer industry seems completely happy with those numbers. They want doctors and patients to just keep toeing the line when it comes to mainstream cancer screenings and treatments.
Analysis suffers from massive margin of error
For the new study, researchers looked at data from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.
And there were several major problems with their investigation.
The first involves the margin of error in its findings…
They estimated that between 384,000 and 614,500 breast cancer deaths have been averted since 1989. But that range represents a 60 percent potential margin of error (assuming any of their numbers are real).
Any analysis with such a massive margin of error never should have been published in the first place. Much less in such an important journal like Cancer. (But consider the motivation of editors at the American Cancer Society.)
Then, the researchers zeroed in on 2018 specifically. For that most-recent year, they estimated between 27,083 and 47,726 breast cancer deaths were supposedly avoided. And that more recent range poses an even greater margin of error—nearly 70 percent!
I also find it interesting how researchers are so precise in estimating the number of deaths avoided…right down to the single digits.
Because that kind of accuracy just isn’t credible.
Plus, these researchers don’t seem to understand the fundamental concepts of precision versus accuracy in scientific calculations. (Precision refers to the closeness of two or more measured values. Whereas accuracy refers to a standard or known value, among other factors.) Not to mention that when precision exceeds accuracy by a factor of thousands, neither number can have any real scientific meaning.
Findings as clear as mud
Then, the study’s co-author actually claimed that the “take-home message…could not be more clear.” He said, “the combination of early detection through screening mammography plus improved treatments has saved the lives of somewhere around half a million women living in the United State alone.”
But I’d say that’s about as clear as mud.
In fact, there’s absolutely no real evidence that substantiates any part of that statement.
For one, the co-author admitted that it remains unclear whether the improvements in mortality rates stemmed from screenings or from treatments, because the study didn’t (and couldn’t possibly) even differentiate between the two!
In fact, the SEER database doesn’t tell us whether or not a patient’s cancer was even discovered at a screening. Which is a rather important point, don’t you think? How can you credit improved screening with reductions in death, if we don’t know whether the lump was discovered by a mammogram, a self-exam, or by some other method?
I actually discussed this problem with the SEER database 35 years ago when I was working at the NCI. And I started the process of incorporating this kind of information into a key research database (Breast Cancer Detection Demonstration Project, or BCDDP). I even spent many months getting real scientists at breast cancer detection centers around the country to agree to participate in the extra questions and research.
But once again, the NCI’s science bureaucrats shot me down. (Why do anything to change a big, expensive, ongoing government science program after 35 years? That might require too much work.) And so, the deficiency in SEER continues.
And because of this deficiency, researchers can’t actually credit improved screening or treatment with lower mortality rates.
But I can certainly shed some light on what has influenced these rates…
Increased screening finds more “fake cancers”
For decades, the mainstream cancer machine has diagnosed more and more “fake cancers” to make it look like deaths were avoided. But women with fake breast cancer didn’t have their lives saved through screening or treatment—because their lives were never at risk in the first place.
In fact, previous studies indicate that widespread and early mammography screening simply finds more small growths that are unlikely to be fatal, leading to over-diagnosis of breast “cancer.”
(I discussed this topic in more depth back in the January 2016 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter—[“Revealed: At least 80% of women diagnosed with breast cancer can skip aggressive treatments”]. Not a subscriber? Now’s the perfect time to get started!)
And a 2016 analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that over-diagnosis of breast cancer by mammography is “larger than is generally recognized.” Plus, a huge 25-year-long Dutch study on women between the ages of 50 and 74 found that mammography has little effect on reducing breast cancer death rates.
Anthony Miller, a Professor Emeritus at University of Toronto, brought up another possible reason why mortality rates have improved. He’s a real expert on cancer statistics. (I’ve read and published reviews on his textbooks, so I’m always interested in what he has to say.)
He said, “an important neglected issue in this analysis is the almost complete cessation of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and the subsequent reduction in breast cancer mortality in the early 2000s.”
Plus, as Miller pointed out…we’re actually seeing increases in all-cause mortality.
Death rates don’t lie
Yes, mortality rates due to breast cancer have decreased. But among women in the study who received mammograms, there was actually an increase in all-cause mortality (which means death from any cause).
So, remind me…how is it that that we’re supposedly winning the war if more women than ever are dying early?
This conundrum reminds me of a biography I’m reading of General Douglas MacArthur. He was also an expert at using the media to make a pretty damning situation sound like good news.
MacArthur was fighting a real war—not a smoke-and-mirrors war—in the Southwest Pacific during WWII at the time.
Some years ago, I was fortunate to stay in the MacArthur Suite at the Manila Hotel, surrounded by many of his mementos, while in East and Southeast Asia conducting cancer research. And we could really use a general like that in the war on cancer now.
P.S. There’s a wealth of non-invasive, no-nonsense, all-natural solutions for breast cancer. And I’ve developed an entire online learning tool that unlocks the secrets to a lifetime of cancer prevention and survival. It’s called my Authentic Anti-Cancer Protocol. Click here to learn more or sign up today.
“Half a Million Breast Cancer Deaths Avoided in Last 30 Years.” Medscape, 2/11/19 (medscape.com/viewarticle/908920)
“Breast Cancer Deaths Averted Over 3 Decades.” Cancer 2019; 0:1-7 DOI: 10.1002/cncr.31954