That Cancer You Beat May Not Have Been 'Cancer'
Some early diagnoses steal funding from bad cancers: Virginia Postrel
By Arden Dier, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2013 11:57 AM CDT
This undated image made available by the National Institutes of Health and National Center for Microscopy in Aug. 2013 shows HeLa cells. The cells were cultured with a fluorescent proteins targeted to...   (AP Photo/National Institutes of Health, National Center for Microscopy, Tom Deerinck)

(Newser) – When it comes to cancer, we live in a world where early diagnosis has become king, with the "reigning theory" being that early detection and treatment mean a reduced chance of death, writes Virginia Postrel at Bloomberg. "Yet this theory infers causality from correlation. It implicitly assumes that cancer is cancer is cancer." The truth of the matter is people may survive early-stage cancers "not because they’re treated in time, but because their disease never would have become life-threatening at all." While the intention is good, our early-detection obsession leads to "traumatic treatments" for many people who aren't facing a life-threatening disease and distracts doctors from a more important task: "developing ways to identify and treat the really dangerous fast-growing cancers."

In a recent JAMA article, three oncologists recommend that "cancer" refer only to those to conditions that would likely kill you if you don't treat them. Another oncologist argues that rarely fatal "slow-growing prostate tumors" should be called "indolent lesions of epithelial origin" instead of "cancer," noting pitfalls associated with attaching the word to these tumors: patients get sick with worry, have issues getting new life insurance, and can even see their career stymied by worried bosses. Postrel is on board. "Changing the vocabulary finesses the fundamental cultural issue. ... Someone doesn't develop 'cancer' but, rather, 'a cancer.' How frightening that diagnosis should be depends on which one." Click for the full column.

View 2 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
That Cancer You Beat May Not Have Been 'Cancer' is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 9 comments
Aug 19, 2013 9:28 PM CDT
The medical profession makes many dogmatic claims about cancer, screening tests, and preventive medicine but there is little good science behind it. This is comprehensively covered in a recent investigation of mammography ("The Mammogram Myth" by Rolf Hefti -see ). Because of politics played by the medical establishment the real facts about breast cancer remain effectively hidden from women...
Aug 19, 2013 7:09 PM CDT
No matter what you call it, micotoxins that cause cancer and the "indolent lesions of epithelial origin" need nutrients. So what are those nutrients that so-called cells need to thrive? Its simple, that is, simple sugars. So what happens if you cause a mild form of ketoacidosis to happen in your body when you have these cells growing that must feed on glucose? They die. This is what happened in people who did the diet and cured their tumors and known cases of late stage cancer. The cells cannot survive on ketones that your body uses for fuel. This is not something a healthy person would ever want to do for fear of kidney damage. But kidney damage is your least concern if you have a full blown case of cancer. I can think back to the people in my family and friends who have died of various cases of cancer. I can remember they did not change their dietary habits. In fact, if anything, they increased their intake of sugars in the form of comforting cakes, candy, and ice cream. It makes sense to me that an uncle who had cancer that most likely started because he worked at a refinery was discovered early on and went on all known treatments in the late 70's. Then at the end I remember my mom saying that the cancer spread and ate up his whole body. I can imagine my aunt still baking and cooking all that food full of carbs. I wonder what would have happened if that uncle had placed himself into a state of ketoacidosis for a few weeks and then what that cancer would have done. Well, Doug Kauffman says people have done that and beat cancer. the real one.
Aug 19, 2013 5:35 PM CDT
The Komen foundation touts it's life saving early detection of "cancers" and claims that it's saving lives. But in truth, many of the cured "cancers" weren't cancer at all, but rather other types of slow growing, non invasive lesions or nearly benign tumors that would never have developed into life threatening rapid growing serious cancer. In the meantime, women are subjected to disfiguring surgery, radiation, debilitating chemo and severe anxiety .. and for what? So the Komen people can raise more funds to give their leaders outlandish salaries and perks, all the while touting the value of early detection. Yet it may not be real cancer that's being detected, and cancer organizations are taking their eye off the ball and onto their own purses. I am all for a more rigorous definition of what cancer really is, and appropriate, not draconian, treatment of non-lifethreatening conditions. Let's be honest.