Millions of medical tests and treatments offer no benefit to the patient, according to a new review in JAMA Internal Medicine.
But in the era of much-heralded, so-called “evidence-based medicine,” doctors still order and perform these tests and treatments daily, worldwide, in the name of reducing human suffering and saving lives.
But do they?
As I often report, modern mainstream medicine in this country is so busy detecting and treating health problems, but no one’s really healthier. The way I see it, there are two major problems with modern, high-tech medicine…
The first problem is over-diagnosis. It occurs when a doctor diagnoses a patient with a medical “condition” that will never cause symptoms. Many breast, skin, thyroid, and prostate “cancers” fall into this category. Doctors call and treat these growths as “cancer,” but they would rarely cause harm to the patient if simply left alone.
The second problem we face is an epidemic of “over-treatment.” It occurs when a doctor treats the over-diagnosed disease. Over-treatment can also involve a real medical condition, such as invasive breast cancer. But “over-treatment” happens when the treatment doesn’t benefit the patient. In other words, a far more conservative treatment results in the same outcome.
The rise of aggressive, double mastectomies for early-stage breast cancer illustrates this point. In this case, the risk of harm exceeds the potential for benefit. And a far more conservative approach would yield the same outcome.
And in many cases of over-treatment, the patient wouldn’t consent to the procedure if fully informed.
The problem is, even the “facts” in the medical journals lie.
The mainstream government-industrial-medical complex influenced and corrupted the “evidence” for so-called “evidence-based” medicine. And the problem has gotten so bad, Richard Horton, the editor of Lancet, one of the most influential medical scientific journals, recently spoke out about it. He said a shocking amount of published research, perhaps half, is unreliable at best, if not completely false — or even outright fraudulent.
Furthermore, a basic misclassification and misunderstanding of diseases misleads medical researchers, health practitioners, and patients into accepting harmful procedures without realizing the deadly consequences.
So — what are some of the most common medical procedures for which there is no evidence — or faulty evidence — of benefits, according to the new JAMA review?
SCAM #1: Cancer screenings, biopsies, and treatments
Overdiagnosing of “cancer” is a major problem in this country. Even the National Cancer Institute (NCI) expert panel admitted in 2013 many early-stage breast (ductal “carcinoma” in situ — DCIS) and prostate “cancers” are actually benign — or so slow-growing — we shouldn’t even call them “carcinoma.”
The NCI admitted millions of men and women have been wrongly diagnosed and treated for decades. In the case of DCIS, more than 1.3 million U.S. women suffered through unnecessary, dangerous, and expensive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy — not to mention worry. Yet their “cancer screening” detected a condition that had no symptoms and would never have caused any harm if left alone.
You can learn all about the problem of over-diagnosed and over-treated breast “cancer” and how to avoid it in this month’s Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you can access this month’s issue on my website, www.drmicozzi.com, with your username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
SCAM #2: Stenosis for asymptomatic blockages
For many decades, vascular surgeons have been making a good living off supposed “blocked” or “restricted” arteries in the neck. They perform invasive surgeries to replace the “blocked” artery, place a balloon or stent in it, or remove the inner lining as a “precautionary measure” against cerebral insufficiency or stroke. In many cases, surgeons perform these procedures on patients with no symptoms.
But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) found no proof even screening for carotid artery stenosis reduces stroke. In fact, carotid screening often leads to many false positives, which probably contributes to increased mortality from unnecessary surgery.
Now — it is critically important to maintain blood flow (especially to the brain, since it’s also a key factor in preventing dementia). Fortunately, you don’t need to resort to an invasive, aggressive surgery. Many natural approaches can help you maintain healthy blood flow to the brain to prevent, and even reverse, dementia. I will tell you all about these natural approaches in the upcoming February 2016 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter.
SCAM #3: CAT scans of the head
CAT scans of the head are among the most over-used, rarely helpful tests. These scans introduce ionizing radiation and sometimes use a contrast dye agent, both of which have significant long-term adverse health effects. In fact, I often saw in my consulting forensic medicine practice that CAT scans of the head often lead to incidental, unimportant findings that nonetheless require additional CAT scans.
But in the same USPSTF study I mentioned earlier, researchers learned a second CAT scan rarely affects clinical management or patient outcome. Plus, a 2007 study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 0.4 percent of all cancers in the U.S. stem from CAT scans.
SCAM #4: Gynecological exams
Women are encouraged to get routine pelvic examinations. But in women without any symptoms, these exams are inaccurate and associated with harms that exceed clinical benefits. Plus, the review found no studies assessing the benefits on morbidity or mortality from cancer (including ovarian cancer) or benign gynecological conditions.
It’s still very important to get a Pap smear of the cervix, which effectively prevents cervical cancer. Of course, the mainstream pushes women to get dangerous (and often useless) HPV vaccines instead. So that recommendation may cloud the issue when it comes to mainstream “prevention” of cervical cancer.
I have learned to be careful about blindly taking all recommendations from government “expert” panels like the USPSTF, which also recently found “no evidence” for the health benefits of Vitamin D! In any case, when it comes the benefits of annual gynecological exams, make sure to consult with your own physician, especially once you’re over a certain age.
Overall, researchers estimate one-third of medical treatments are useless and/or harmful. But I believe that number is too low.
Based on my experience, I believe that at least two-thirds are useless and/or harmful.
Plus, one common procedure didn’t make the JAMA list, but it should have: colonoscopy. As I often report, routine colonoscopy screening for men and women over 50 who don’t have symptoms makes no sense. Aside from more recent contamination concerns, colonoscopies can cause serious complications. In fact, I saw case after case of fatal complications following “routine” colonoscopies in my forensic medicine practice. Patients died of perforated intestines. They died of inflammation to the abdominal cavity (peritonitis). They even died of lacerated and punctured livers along with massive bleeding
Plus, these researchers never consider the availability of natural alternatives that work when it comes to any disease. For colon cancer, we have several such alternatives, including the non-invasive, inexpensive FOBT colon cancer screening test.
I will continue to bring you more of the natural alternatives that are widely available without a prescription in 2016.
- “Update on Medical Overuse,” JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(1):120-124