More JPANDS lies---Godwin, here we come

Once again, JPANDS, the mouthpiece of the AAPS, has it all wrong. The contradictory missions of the AAPS often lead to humorous juxtapositions of policy. For example, the AAPS wants the physician-patient relationship unsullied by any outside forces---unless that relationship pisses them off. They intervened in the Terry Schiavo case, they wish to make abortion illegal---in other words, they're libertarians, unless AAPS disapproves of your decisions.

Their big beef in the current article is that there has been a conspiracy to hide the dangers of oral contraceptives and abortion. You see, apparently these cause breast cancer and the NIH doesn't want you to know. Straight to Godwin:

The NCI Workshop on Early Reproductive Events is reminiscent of an event that occurred in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Hitler was displeased because "Jewish" science was coming to prominence. The government assembled 10 physicists, including two Nobel laureates, to each write an essay against Einstein's theory of relativity. The book was published as 100 Essays Against
. Einstein remarked to an inquiring reporter that were they correct, "it would have only taken one." In a similar way, our government has interfered with the scientific process of conducting studies and relaying the relevant information to the general public.

Wow. Let me clarify a few things here. First, the relationship between oral contraceptives (OCPs), and breast cancer is muddy to nonexistent. Huge studies have been conducted to try to clarify the issue of exogenous estrogen use and the jury is still out. There are a number of reasons to use both OCPs and HRT, and sometimes reason to avoid them. Most of these reasons have to do with blood clotting disorders rather than cancer.

Anyway, the one issue that is not unclear is the abortion-breast cancer question. Here is a short list of citations for articles that have shown no link between abortion and breast cancer:

  1. NEJM 1997, 336, 81-5
  2. British Medical Journal 1989, 299, 1430-2
  3. Cancer Causes & Control 1997, 8, 93-108
  4. Lancet 2004, 363, 1007-16
  5. American Journal of Epidemiology 1988, 127, 981-9
  6. British Journal of Cancer 1982, 45, 327-31
  7. American Journal of Epidemiology 1987, 126, 831-41
  8. International Journal of Cancer 1991, 48, 816-20
  9. European Journal of Cancer 1999, 35, 1361-7
  10. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 2005, 59, 283-7
  11. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 2003, 12, 209-14
  12. American Journal of Epidemiology 1983, 117, 35-45
  13. Epidemiology 2000, 11, 76-80
  14. International Journal of Cancer 2001, 92, 899-905
  15. Cancer Causes & Control 1997, 8, 841-9
  16. International Journal of Cancer 1996, 65, 401-5
  17. British Journal of Cancer 1990, 62, 122-6
  18. International Journal of Cancer 1993, 215-9
  19. Cancer Causes & Control 1995, 6, 75-82
  20. American Journal of Public Health 1999, 89, 1244-7
  21. British Journal of Cancer 1999, 79, 1923-8
  22. Epidemiology 2000, 11, 177-80
  23. Cancer Causes & Control 2000, 11, 777-81
  24. International Journal of Cancer 1998, 76, 182-8

And here is a list of all the well-done studies showing a clear link:


So, why abortion and OCPs? Why not hormone replacement therapy? Why not smoking? Because the radical Cult Christians and quacks that run AAPS hate women. Period. They want to put control of women and their bodies back where it belongs---in the hands of Cult Christian manly men.

Thankfully, the AAPS is a fringe cult group. But people do listen, and they hear what they want to hear. Shameful, really.


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New one: My daughter was told at school in her "sex ed" class that Nuvaring causes cervical cancer.

I told her, "Only if the ring is coated in HPV and even then, you've gotten the shots."

Yay, Wacko Christian Fundies with the lying and scare tactics and abstinence-only "education"! Whee!

The funny thing is that Hitler banned abortion, and wasnt very enthusiastic about contraceptives. He wanted women to squeeze out as many Aryan supermen as possible. I honestly think Hitler would have had a positive view of the Christian Right, despite them not being German. I mean, they both hated the same kinds of people.

Hopefully, this isn't too far off topic.

You indicate that "the jury is still out" on whether oral contraceptives and estrogen therapy cause cancer, yet the American Cancer Society have both listed in their list of known carcinogens. From what I have read, I am leaning toward agreeing with you, but as a layperson, how do you know who to believe?

When you have 2 opposing views and both views are being given by people that have MD behind their names, how do you know?

Like many questions in medicine, there is no black and white answer. Oral contraceptives do not appear to increase cancer risk.

Hormone replacement therapy may increase some cancers in some women some of the time.

I hope that's crystal clear for ya.

As physicians, we weight the risks and benefits for each patient based on what data we have.

Okay, I'll let it slide this time. Oral contraceptives do not appear to increase cancer risk even though the IARC has them listed as a group I carcinogen. (again, I don't disagree with you. I honestly don't know enough to agree or disagree, but, if the ACS is wrong about this, what else are they wrong about?)

As a patient or as a caregiver for a patient, I look at all the data that I can find, I try to find doctors that seem to be well informed and not just riding out their time pushing pills until retirement and then I make an informed decision based on all the evidence that I can gather.

I guess the point is, it is hard for the average person to know what is good information and what is bullshit when you can't take the word of an organization like the ACS at face value.

Sorry for the tangent.

If "10" physicists "each" wrote one essay, those who purchased a book titled 100 Essays Against Einstein were cheated of 90% of the money they paid. Under the circumstances, however, there probably weren't a lot of vocal complaints...

By Pierce R. Butler (not verified) on 04 Apr 2008 #permalink

Bill, you are somewhat misinformed, but I can help.

See here first:…


The liststhemselves say nothing about how likely the agents are to cause cancer. Carcinogens do not cause cancer at all times, under all circumstances. Some may only be carcinogenic if a person is exposed in a certain way (for example, ingesting it as opposed to touching it). Some of these agents may lead to cancer after only a very small exposure, while others might require intense exposure over many years. Again, you should refer to the agencies reports for specifics.

Not all carcinogens are to be avoided at all costs. The lists include many commonly used medicines, particularly some hormones and drugs used to treat cancer. Tamoxifen, for example, increases the risk of certain kinds of uterine cancer but lowers the risk of recurrence (return) of breast cancer, which may be more important for some women. If you have questions about a medicine you are taking that appears on one of these lists, be sure to ask your doctor.

Also listed under group I carcinogens are "Alcoholic beverages", "salted fish", and "wood dust".

Yes, I read that and do understand it. Thanks.

@PR Butler. Apparently fact-checking is not the author's strong suit. I don't have ready access to the volume.

Given the position of those who commissioned the piece, no one was going to argue.

This is what those who invoke Hitler here don't understand---THAT was a conspiracy, and it was in no way secret, as secrets don't work...controlling the message works, but only if you have access to the machinery of a totalitarian state.

There is no vast medical conspiracy in the US---besides being patently ridiculous, we all have our own individual needs an desires without a central organizing force.

PalMD -

Actually, depending on the wood and it's age, sawdust can be an extremely dangerous carcinogen. The older the wood, the more crystallized the resins become, the more dangerous the dust. Also, the harder the wood, the more carcinogenic the saw dust. Treated woods or recycled woods with stain or other finishes are really bad too.

I believe that the reason harder woods and more crystalline resins are more dangerous, is that the dust produced is extremely fine and barbed. While not on the same level as asbestos, sawdust is not something to laugh at. Newer soft woods aren't too bad, but even with those, it is a good idea to wear a low grade respirator if you work with them on a regular basis (I do).

Carcinogens are a funny sort of beast, that I think are greatly misunderstood by most people. There are a good many foods that contain carcinogens. Not the least being anything smoked or containing smoke flavoring. But when we are consuming them in our food, for the most part they just go right through with the rest of the waste. The fact that something happens to be a carcinogen, does not automatically mean it's going to cause cancer.

Pretty much like UV exposure...