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The Cost of Chasing Cancer

I just read an article in Time by Dr Makary of Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is commenting (after many, many years of cancer work) – on what it costing us to chase cancer. He cited a man who came to see him.

“The patient’s story began with a full-body CT scan – a screening used to detect tumors – that revealed a cyst on his pancreas. Some 3% of people have these cysts and they are rarely problematic. Based on the cyst’s size and features there was no clear answer as to what to do about it, but he was given options.

[sociallocker id=”16735″] The patient tossed and turned at night, agonising over stories of pancreatic cancer tragedies, consumed by the dilemma of whether to risk surgery to remove the cyst or leave it alone. The conundrum strained his marriage and distracted him from his work.

Months before I met him, the patient underwent the surgery, which revealed that the cyst was no threat to his health. The operation was supposed to cost $25,00 and require 8 weeks ff his work. But the toll was much greater, with a debilitating surgical complication.”

I thought, This is why he shouldn’t have had a CT scan in the first place. Screening made him sick.”

Now we’re beginning to see research pinpointing the fact that screening has over-reached itself. One such study showed annual mammograms did not prolong the lives of low risk women aged 40-59. The study followed 89,000 people over 25 years so it was in study terms, solid gold.

Here’s another example of excessive health protection. We’ve all heard of the idea of a daily aspirin as some sort of overall heart health support. Well, think again. Another study found that it can cause significant gastro-intestinal or cerebral bleeding. Sure, your heart is still beating but either your stomach or your brain is in a bad way.

Prostate tests are another case of alleged over servicing. I submitted to two colposcopies because I was told I was ‘at risk’. Questioning my surgeon, I was having a real problem seeing exactly why i had the procedure.

How big is the problem of overservicing? Well, The Dept of Health and Human Resources in the US  attributes 180,000 deaths a year to Medicare patients alone. If we look at it as unintentional harm, it’s the #3 cause of death in the US!

Dr Makery was prompted to write his article for another reason. he was deeply disturbed by the emotional trauma he saw this particular patent suffer. The patient didn’t just suffer from ‘normal’ fear of cancer. he also suffered from fear of a technology that could not deliver a succinct diagnosis without invasive surgery.

For me, I heartily concur with the good doctor, but I prefer to look at what I can do for myself and my loved ones in my hopefully ‘pre-cancer’ state. I would naturally prefer to not be another number in the mass statistic of people being ‘processed’ through a huge medical system that seems hypnotised by the promise of a technological answer rather than a preventative approach.

A doctor once told me that we all have cancer. it’s just that it hasn’t received the requisite signals to rampantly develop within our bodies. If that is so then avoiding the idea of cancer seems to me to be a form of selective blindness. If I do have cancer somewhere in my body in a latent form, then I can, especially now with the vast support of the internet, educate myself with everything I need to keep my cancer happily slumbering within.

What do I do? I eat good organic food. I eat greens as much as possible. I drink hydrogen rich alkaline water. I exercise to keep my life systems active. I meditate.

How about you? What’s your ‘cancer support’ strategy?[/sociallocker]



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