Breast Cancer Awareness Month abused by Mike Adams

I should have guessed.

Leave it to uber-crank (a. k. a. One Crank To Rule Them All) Mike Adams, the "intellect" behind what is perhaps the crankiest website known to humankind (at least when it comes to medicine),, to try to slime Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As fellow ScienceBlogger Mark points out, in his "report" Breast Cancer Deception, Adams accomplishes this by characterizing Breast Cancer Awareness month as nothing more than part of a conspiracy by the "male-dominated" cancer industry to keep women down.

I have to admit, in the realm of sheer wingnuttery, I've seldom seen its equal:

Throughout human history, spanning virtually every culture and continent, women have been systematically denied the right to access information that could educate and empower them. Keeping women ignorant was a way for men to control them and treat them as personal property. From ancient Rome to 19th century America, women were considered sub-class citizens and intentionally denied the right to learn information that might give them more control over their own lives.

In this report, you'll learn how the cancer industry -- which is dominated by powerful men -- uses the same tactics today to control women while pretending to serve them. You'll learn truly shocking information about how the cancer industry exploits women's bodies to generate profits for pharmaceutical companies while systematically denying those same women access to information that could teach them how to avoid breast cancer (and other cancers) in the first place. A single nutrient, for example, has been shown to prevent 77 percent of all cancers, and yet the cancer industry -- including top cancer non-profits -- refuse to recommend this nutrient.

I fear I may have lost neurons reading this article, and if I'm going to lose neurons I'd at least like it to be doing something pleasurable, such as having a good pint or two of some fine ale, rather than subjecting myself to this. The things I do in the name of my field of expertise!

After making a big display of pointing out that his article was "not funded by pharmaceutical companies" (ya think?), something that should be quite obvious unless pharmaceutical companies are funding him as an agent provacateur designed to discredit alternative medicine by posting such outlandish screeds far and wide, Adams starts out breathlessly with an amazing claim:

Realize that every system of medicine has a treatment for breast cancer. In the Amazon rainforest, such treatments might include the Una de Gato herb (also known in Western herbalism as "Cat's Claw" and widely used as a potent anti-cancer medicine). In the regions we now know as the American Southwest and Mexico, treatments for cancer utilize tea made from Chaparral bush leaves (also known in modern times as the "creosote" bush, from which leaf oils were extracted in order to coat railroad ties). In Chinese Medicine, cancer was approached from a different point of view: the Five Element System, rather than the traditional allopathic paradigm of the West; treatment protocols might include a "recipe" of various medicinal herbs with a synergistic effect that work to strengthen and support the body's innate anti-cancer protection mechanisms.

In other words, if you were to travel the world in search of treatments or cures for breast cancer, you would find hundreds, if not thousands, of such treatments spanning diverse cultures, geographies and medical paradigms. And these treatments really work: modern scientists are increasingly discovering that these native cancer remedies contain identifiable anti-cancer compounds that work in a myriad of ways. They might cut off the blood supply to cancer tumors, promote cancer cell apoptosis (cell death), block the replication of cancer cells, boost immune system function and so on.

The passage above is breathtaking in its ignorance and stupidity. What an astounding claim! Can it really be that there are thousands of effective "natural" treatments that all these natives have come up? Can it be that they all really work, as Mike Adams claims? (And he accuses "conventional medicine" of arrogance!) Adams seems to think that the mere existence of these herbal or folk remedies implies validity. Of course, the difference between scientific medicine and folk medicine such as what Adams describes is that objective evidence of efficacy is is required before it will accept a treatment as being effective and add it to its armamentarium. The anecdotal claims of healers are not enough. Besides, if all of these natural cures were so great, then the disparity in breast cancer care wouldn't be so huge between developed and developing nations, as I discussed yesterday.

Another way to look at Adams' claim that reveals just how paranoid and deluded it is is to examine for a moment his distrust of scientists and physicians. Imagine, if you will, that we're all motivated primarily by greed and arrogance. If that were the case, what's the best way for one of us to achieve fame, glory, and become rich (or at least two of the three)? To discover the cure for cancer, or even a cure for a cancer that truly worked would instantly catapult a scientist into the top reaches of his specialty. Ego is powerful motivation that even those evil pharmaceutical companies can't stop. In actuality, though, pharmaceutical companies themselves have been looking to herbs and natural medicines in various remote locales in search of new chemotherapeutic agents. Thus far, they've found no miraculous cures. That doesn't mean that they might not someday, validating Adams' ravings, but it's looking increasingly unlikely. Of course, the reason is that there is no such thing as "cancer" as a single disease. Cancer is a collection of diseases, with many different etiologies, characteristics, and degrees of aggressiveness. Trying to lump all cancers together as the monolithic entity of "cancer" is a fallacy that is common among cranks like Mike Adams.

All Adams' rant really boils down to is the fallacy that if it's "natural" (or at least not the product of a pharmaceutical company or modern medicine), it must be effective. It reminds me of another pernicious stereotype that was popular 250 years ago or so, that of the noble savage. This was a form of primitism that presented an idealized picture of "nature's gentleman," who, unsullied by the corruption of modern society, is more "authentic" and "noble" than the products of modern civilization. Adams' idolization of "natural" and "native" treatments for cancer falls into the same sort of reality warp that has him looking at anything that he perceives as "natural" through rose-colored glasses. My only question is this: If these native cures are so good, why is it that people in developing nations are clamoring for scientific medicine that their governments don't have available and can't afford? In reality, continued reliance on "natural cures" in developing nations is more a function of culture and lack of access to better alternatives than to any advantages inherent in them. Of course, if all these "native" cures are so great, where are all these people who survived what would have been fatal cancers? Maybe big pharma is hiding them too. Certainly, Adams seems to think that big pharma is keeping these cures secret. Here's perhaps his most hysterical claim of all:

Overall, the cancer industry, through its false authority and domineering posture, has not only discredited all systems of medicine other than its own, it has long succeeded in outlawing most competing systems, transforming experienced herbalists (who retain the knowledge of countless generations of native medicinal wisdom) into criminals. This is why all the cutting-edge cancer clinics in the world are located outside the United States. The practice of curing cancer -- a common outcome in alternative cancer clinics -- has been outlawed in the United States. It is actually illegal for a master herbalist, for example, to even attempt to cure a patient of cancer. Such an act could land them in federal prison.

Let me assure Mr. Adams that, if that herbalist actually succeeded in curing a patient of cancer--any cancer!--he would not be arrested; he would be lionized. He would be famous! If all of this stuff is so effective, too, it would be very easy to show. It wouldn't even take a randomized clinical trial. All one of these herbalists would have to do is to cure a few patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer, esophageal cancer, or gastric cancer, tumors that are presently not curable with the best that modern medicine has to offer. Besides, herbalism per se is not illegal. Indeed, it's even regulated in some states that license naturopaths. It's using treatments for which there is no evidence of efficacy and representing them as cures that's illegal, which is as it should be. Quacks such as the ones championed by Adams should not be allowed to lie about their "cures" in order to attract the unwary.

If you want to get an idea of what Adams seems to consider one of these miraculous treatments that big pharma is suppressing, get a load of this:

In addition to its immunostimulating activity, in vitro anticancerous properties have been documented for these alkaloids and other constituents in cat's claw. Five of the oxindole alkaloids have been clinically documented with in vitro antileukemic properties, and various root and bark extracts have demonstrated antitumorous and anticancerous properties. Italian researchers reported in a 2001 in vitro study that cat's claw directly inhibited the growth of a human breast cancer cell line by 90%, while another research group reported that it inhibited the binding of estrogens in human breast cancer cells in vitro. Swedish researchers documented it inhibited the growth of lymphoma and leukemia cells in vitro in 1998. Early reports on Keplinger's observatory trials with cancer patients taking cat's claw in conjunction with such traditional cancer therapies as chemotherapy and radiation reported fewer side effects to the traditional therapies (such as hair loss, weight loss, nausea, secondary infections, and skin problems). Subsequent researchers have shown how these effects might be possible: they have reported that cat's claw can aid in DNA cellular repair and prevent cells from mutating; it also can help prevent the loss of white blood cells and immune cell damage caused by many chemotherapy drugs (a common side effect called leukopenia).

This is one of these amazing "cures"? Some cell culture results coupled with a clinical trial that suggests cat's claw might have some antinausea activity in patients undergoing chemotherapy? That's it? This is one of these miraculous "native" cures? That's the best evidence he can come up with for the efficacy of these "native" cancer cures?

The mind boggles.

What's really funny is the "real story" behind Breast Cancer Awareness Month:

This strategy by the cancer industry effectively keeps women in a state of ignorance about cancer solutions that could actually cure them. It disempowers women, turning them into victims of treatments dictated to them by men who, as CEOs of the top cancer institutions and drug companies, profit handsomely from every round of chemotherapy, radiation or cancer surgery prescribed to a woman.

Because of all this, the symbol of the breast cancer industry in the United States -- the pink ribbon -- is not at all a symbol of compassion or caring. It is not a symbol of empowering women, or educating women about so-called "treatment options." The pink ribbon is a symbol of male-dominated control over women. Turn the pink ribbon upside down, and it looks more like a noose. It is from this noose that innocent women everywhere hang themselves through ignorance, submitting to a treatment system that intentionally denies women access to a world of information that could help them prevent, treat and even cure breast cancer.


Wearing pink for breast cancer, or buying pink products, is a demonstration of your support for the enslavement of women by a highly-unethical industry that seeks to turn women's bodies into profit centers. Wearing pink shouts, "I support the ignorance of women! I support Big Pharma! I support male-dominated corporate control over the health of women's breasts!"

Buying pink products sends the same message. Whether it's a can of soup, a pair of pink batteries or even a pink "vacation" (yes, they do exist), these products are jumping on the pink bandwagon for one reason only: consumers buy it. Painting any product pink results in a sales surge.

The marketing push for pink products is so strong now that many companies selling products that actually cause cancer have jumped on the pink bandwagon! It's a practice called "pinkwashing," and when you see things like toxic cosmetics and chemically-manufactured personal care products sporting the pink ribbons and pledging to support breast cancer research, you have to stop and ask yourself the obvious question: Don't these products actually CAUSE breast cancer? Yes, many of them do.

That's right, ladies. The Man is keeping you down! In fact, in keeping with Adams' truly despicable metaphor of a noose, Adams even tells us that The Man's enslaving black women, too! Heck, while he's at it, he's enslaving black men, too! And it's all because vitamin D is the cure for all cancer. Confusing correlation with causation, Adams combines one study that is represented as preventing 77% of all cancer with vitamin D (I'm really going to have to look that one up and read it in detail, given how many cranks have glommed on to it), observations that African American women often have lower levels of vitamin D than is healthy, plus the observation that the highest cancer mortality rates among black women are in northern states, and concludes that it's all because of vitamin D, whose healing and preventative benefits The Man is keeping from women, especially black women. Of course, one highly amusing aspect of this rant is that the chart presented shows mortality from cancer (not just breast cancer), yet Adams asks: "Notice how all the highest rates of breast cancer are in the Northern states?"

Dude, learn to read a chart! It's cancer mortality, not breast cancer or breast cancer mortality!

Adams concludes:

If you thought the days of exploitation of black women were long gone in the United States, think again: The cancer industry has built a brand new system of slavery based on keeping women ignorant, then exploiting their bodies for profit.

It's still slavery, it's just a lot more sinister and covert than in the days of southern plantations. Back then, many black women were made to pick cotton in the fields to enrich the white plantation owners. Today, black woman are made to generate diseases that enrich the white drug company owners. It sounds insidious, and it is. But why use the threat of physical force when, by using pink ribbon campaigns and massive censorship efforts, the men in charge can convince women to enslave each other with symbols like pink ribbons?

The utter crassness of this ploy is sickening. But it's OK, though, because Adams' motivation is pure. Just ask him:

If you're angered by reading this, join the club! I'm so outraged by it that I spent hours researching and writing this report, only to give it away absolutely free. I gain nothing from you reading this report, other than the wrath of the cancer industry and all their lawyers who will no doubt try to censor this report just as they've censored the truth about anti-cancer foods, herbs and sunlight (among other alternative treatments).

Mike should be reassured, as I doubt they'll bother to "censor" him. Like me, they're all too busy laughing at him--if they notice him at all. If this report is an example of what Adams can come up with when he does "hours" of research, I'd hate to see what his off-the-cuff writing looks like, particularly given the way he champions "sunlight therapy" and totally ignores the risk of melanoma and other skin cancer that come with too much sun exposure.

Actually, though, after I'm done laughing at Mike Adams' blend of ignorance, tinfoil hat paranoia, conspiracy-mongering, and inflammatory race-baiting (which is particularly risible and despicable coming from what looks to be a comfortable, upper-class white male like Adams), I almost have to cry. His is a widely-read website. His paranoid ramblings may well be frightening some women away from medical interventions that are effective for breast cancer, such as early detection by mammography and treatment with surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Even if it is true that some companies take advantage of Pink Ribbon campaigns in order to increase their bottom line, that would not justify the fear-mongering and misinformation that Adams is spreading, misinformation that could mean the difference between life and death, particularly his dismissive attitude towards mammography and statements that they are "worthless." Breast cancer, when found early, is one of the most treatable of cancers, but once it metastasizes not even Mike Adams "native" miracle cures can stop it.

ADDENDUM: If you really want an idea of the paranoid world view of Mike Adams when it comes to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, check out this cartoon by him, for which Mike Adams was kind enough to provide convenient HTML code to use. Thanks, Mike!


More like this

Interesting to contrast this statement from Mike Adams above:

In other words, if you were to travel the world in search of treatments or cures for breast cancer, you would find hundreds, if not thousands, of such treatments spanning diverse cultures, geographies and medical paradigms. And these treatments really work;

With this one from the article below it:

Liu believed that the diagnosis was a death sentence. "I'd never heard of anyone in China with cancer who didn't die," she says.

As we all know the increasing rates of cancer are the result of our decadent Western lifestyles, if only we could live like the noble savage and die young!

So not only is he peddling woo, he's co-opting the language of feminism to do so. Disgusting.

Woo-meisters also neglect to note that the US National Institutes of Health has had natural product anticancer drug discovery efforts since the 1950s. One product of this work that positively impacts breast cancer is Taxol/paclitaxel from the Pacific yew tree and a semi-synthetic derivative from the European yew, Taxotere/docetaxel.

In Italy, researchers in the 50s and 60s demonstrated that a strain of Streptomyces found growing on a 13th century castle on the Adriatic Sea gave rise to two antitumor antibiotics, daunorubicin and doxorubicin. Manipulations of the strain improved the yield of doxorubicin (trade name Adriamycin, after the Adriatic Sea), another drug used in breast cancer regimens since the 70s. Yes, these drugs have serious side effects that must be managed, but the best of nature is already being used in the clinic.

Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) has mostly been investigated for treatment of inflammatory disorders but the extracts or isolated compounds lack in vivo anticancer activity (i.e., not even in animal models). Almost any chemical can kill cancer cells in a dish (in vitro) when used at a high enough concentration, but that doesn't stop human anticancer claims from being made by everyone and their grandmothers.

A systematic Cochrane-like literature review from MD Anderson's integrative medicine center, a place likely to be open to alt treatments, concluded:

Three case reports and two clinic series can not be evaluated because they were only preliminary results published within a provider's literature rather than the peer-reviewed literature.

No studies of cat's claw among patients with cancer have been identified within the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

Conclusions concerning effects of cat's claw among patients with cancer are not possible based upon these preliminary human studies that lack peer review and well controlled or randomized clinical studies.

I'd love to have him discuss the "male dominated breast cancer " notion with Drs. Elizabeth Kelly_Fry, Pat Harper, Val Jackson, and Catherine Cole-Beugelet.

I remember one time when some fellow (a surgeon, sorry Orac) suggested that all women should receive prophylactic bilateral mastectomies. Kelly very calmly asked if he would be having a prophylactic double orchidectomy any time soon for testicular cancer.

James 2:24

On NBC news last night there was a brief interview with a woman described in terms of being a leader in the field of breast cancer research. Only a few years ago she got attention by going on various shows saying that the only reason mastectomy was invented is because men like to mutilate women. I'll give her credit for having written a decent "breast book" since then; but last night her shtick was to say that since it's impossible for one person to "keep up," women should always get a second opinion before embarking on breast cancer treatment. So somehow if it's true that the problem is that no doctor can keep up, then I guess the second one will have managed to have done so? Or something. Meanwhile, her self-titled institute is using money from Avon (I think) to study whether injecting chemo directly into the nipple will improve results of treatment. I suppose any idea is worth study; but I can think of several reasons why it sounds pretty lame.

"Because of all this, the symbol of the breast cancer industry in the United States -- the pink ribbon -- is not at all a symbol of compassion or caring. It is not a symbol of empowering women, or educating women about so-called "treatment options." The pink ribbon is a symbol of male-dominated control over women."

And yet he co-opts the pink ribbon himself for his so-called "Education not Medication" program. The supreme hypocrisy just gave me a headache. Maybe some cat's claw will help...

I want to know what this "miraculous" nutrient is that will prevent/cure breast cancer. If he's referring to Vitamin D, I'd want him to explain exactly how, and in what doses, I need to take it. Alone? With Calcium?

C'mon Mike, you have to be more explicit for us poor, stupid, unempowered women. Oh, and by the way...make sure you give me exact doses, considering that I live in the northern US, but like to lie in the sun as much as possible so create my own Vit. D and don't want to overdose on it. Vit.D overdoses, although rare, are rather nasty to one's system and desire to live a long life.

Bleh. Give me my manual breast exams, mammograms, and good physicians. I may be a stupid, unempowered woman, but I will live a long time.

What does "clinically documented with in vitro antileukemic properties" mean? Are there clinics where they treat leukemia via in vitro methods? Or is that more properly termed "in voodoo"? As in the treating of "voodoo" dolls containing leukemia growing in vitro?

I suspect that a big part of alternative medicine's success with women (it's hard to find any woman's magazine or forum which doesn't promote it) is due to its co-option of feminist rhetoric. And before that, it co-opted the "mommy instinct" rhetoric. It's all about how women are now going to take charge and think for themselves and make their own decisions based on their own, reliable, common sense analysis of Personal Experience -- which is, of course, the foundation and gold standard indicator of science.

Wymyn's science, that is: stories over statistics, and intuition over reason. Females have that intense spiritual connection to the earth and each other, it's what makes us so mysterious and loving. If you can't make up your mind between two different choices, go with the one supported by your Female Instinct, which will never let you down (because, after the fact, that's what you label whichever choice you should have gone with).

Why is it that almost any time some bit of health-awareness activity is aimed at women I'm usually pretty safe in assuming most of it is going to be pseudoscientific crap? One bright spot seemed to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- and must still be, if the alties are frothing at the mouth over it.

Snake oil salesmen like this make me sick to my stomach and then furious with a killing rage.

My 28 year old brother died of cancer that was ravaging his vital organs (due to incompetent diagnosis). He tried all sorts of chemo and radiation therapies, but the treatments were started too late. In the last few weeks of his life he subjected himself to one of those shysters touting the creosote based oxygen starvation diets and ending up living his final days in agony because of it.

People desperate to overcome are so easily drawn in by people like this - I just think it's criminal.

David B.

I must rise in defense of the breast cancer industry. After the paper mills closed, Western Massachusetts experienced a precipitous economic decline. Then, the breast cancer manufacturers moved in, creating low- to high-skilled jobs for thousands ...

Everybody- Buy "breast cancer" U.S. postage stamps!

Do you think that the prostatic cancer industry is actually part of the womens movement trying to bring men down? After all all you really need is Saw Palmetto and some Selenium and you're cured - right.

There should be a special place in Hell for quacks.

The vitamin D paper they're referring to is actually pretty interesting. We already have vitamin D fortification in place for rickets but it suggests there would be some good in increasing the dose. It might be a good idea for the RDA to be increased, however, one should note that vitamin D, unlike some more harmless vitamins, has a toxic syndrome (hypercalcemia and arrhythmia if I remember correctly), so you can OD, but not without excessive supplementation.

Vitamin D deficiency is more prevalent than people realize, especially in dark-skinned people, and has affects on the immunity as well. I'm all for increasing fortification and making sure people get their 15 minutes of sun exposure a week - especially the old-folks who often get shut in.

Mike Adams advocacy of vit D though, goes beyond safe, and into crank realm. It's not a panacea as he suggests, but, like most vitamins, is required for good health.

Did Mike Adams study at the Jack Chick school of drawing and design?

"Keeping women ignorant was a way for men to control them and treat them as personal property."

Oh boy. Adams thinks he's part of the solution?

Why oh why, when ugly third-world dictatorships lock up dissidents and silence their voices, do they not take people like Mike Adams?

What he says and writes goes beyond lying, goes beyond self-serving bullshit - it is slander and libel of the most disgusting, nauseating, depraved and obscene kind; and the worst thing about it is that in the interests of protecting human rights, decent people must let him go on saying it. Sometimes I understand what makes people become, or willingly submit to, military dictators.

I can't see how hospitals and cancer centres can take this lying down. I'm sure it's actionable at law.

By Justin Moretti (not verified) on 11 Oct 2007 #permalink

Until it is replicated, I would be a little careful of deciding this study is the word.


Dr. Jacques Rossouw of the National Institutes of Health is one of these critics. His group conducted a study that followed 36,282 postmenopausal women for seven years to test the effects of vitamin D on colorectal cancer, pegged by the NIH as the third leading cancer killer of women in the United States.

"In our study we found absolutely no indication of an effect of calcium or vitamin D [on cancer] -- zero," he said. "And that's over a seven-year period. It was a much larger study and much a longer study."

Dr. John Milner, chief of the Nutrition Science Research Group at the National Cancer Institute, agrees that some skepticism is necessary.

Let's not forget what Adams has said about breast cancer in the past:

Most drugs don't work on most people. Claims of benefits are highly exaggerated by reporting their relative percentage rather than absolute percentage of efficacy. For example, if two people out of 100 normally get breast cancer, and a drug causes that number to be reduced to one person out of 100, the drug company will claim a "50% reduction in breast cancer!" when, in reality, it's a 1% reduction across the population. Yet the drug will be marketed to everyone as a breast cancer "prevention" strategy. And yet 99% of the people who take it will experience no benefits from it. Most drugs are useless.

Yes, Mike Adams, women's champion, thinks that a drug which prevented fully half of all cases of breast cancer would be 'useless.'

Fucking nimrod.

Sigh. This is so upsetting. (But thank you for bringing this more attention, Orac.) Having been through the process with my sister, and other relatives, it is so easy to understand how this guy can be successful. You are *desperate* for a cure.

And that's what makes Adams preying on people with cancer that much more despicable.

What a douchebag. Lumping the 300+ histologically distinct cancers as one disease and then claiming that deficiency of factor x is the root cause of most of them is exactly the horseshit peddled by "Dr." Hulda Clark. (Her theory is that the intestinal parasite Fasciolopsis buski is that factor, which floors every parasitologist I've ever told it to.)

Like David B., I also have a personal issue with this deplorable waste of oxygen named Mike Adams. My mother died of metastatic breast cancer at the age of 47, and I had my own run-in with testicular cancer 3.5 years ago at the age of 42 (and I'm currently doing great).

My question: when the big C knocks at Adams' door, or that of a family member, how will he respond ? Better yet, what will his headstone say? ("See, I told you vitamin D would help!"? )

Mike Adams has some good points. We should first look at where the motivations lie. He gave the article away for free and none of his preventative solutions cost any money. He benefits zero by making his claims other than internet traffic.

Now think... who benefits by selling more drugs, giving mammograms or administering chemotherapy?

By John Davis (not verified) on 21 Oct 2007 #permalink

Mike Adams has some good points. We should first look at where the motivations lie. He gave the article away for free and none of his preventative solutions cost any money. He benefits zero by making his claims other than internet traffic.

Now think... who benefits by selling more drugs, giving mammograms or administering chemotherapy?

Lastly, the author of this tirade doesn't even disclose his/her name. Mike Adams is open and honest.

By John Davis (not verified) on 21 Oct 2007 #permalink

Mike Adams is a tool who is at best deluded and at worst deliberately lying to drive traffic to his website in order to pump up business for his shell companies. Since I like to see the best in people, I'll just assume he's insane.

By anonimouse (not verified) on 21 Oct 2007 #permalink

Mike Adams has some good points. We should first look at where the motivations lie.

Um, no, we should look first to whether his claims have any basis in reality. They don't, end of discussion.

Contrary to popular belief and assurances by the U. S. media and the cancer establishment- the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Cancer Society (ACS)- mammography is not a technique for early diagnosis. In fact, a breast cancer has usually been present for about eight years before it can finally be detected.

Mistakenly diagnosed cancers are particularly common in premenopausal women, and also in postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy, resulting in needless anxiety, more mammograms, and unnecessary biopsies.

Overdiagnosis and subsequent overtreatment are among the major risks of mammography.

The widespread and virtually unchallenged acceptance of screening has resulted in a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of ductal carcinoma-in-situ (DCIS), a pre-invasive cancer, with a current estimated incidence of about 40,000 annually.

DCIS is usually recognized as micro-calcifications and generally treated by lumpectomy plus radiation or even mastectomy and chemotherapy. However, some 80 percent of all DCIS never become invasive even if left untreated .

Furthermore, the breast cancer mortality from DCIS is the same, about 1 percent, both for women diagnosed and treated early and for those diagnosed later following the development of invasive cancer.

That early detection of DCIS does not reduce mortality is further confirmed by the 13-year follow-up results of the Canadian National Breast Cancer Screening Study.

Claims for the benefit of screening mammography in reducing breast cancer mortality are based on eight international controlled trials involving about 500,000 women. However, recent meta-analysis of these trials revealed that only two, based on 66,000 postmenopausal women, were adequately randomized to allow statistically valid conclusions.

Based on these two trials, the authors concluded that "there is no reliable evidence that screening decreases breast cancer mortality- not even a tendency towards an effect."

Accordingly, the authors concluded that there is no longer any justification for screening mammography.

No nation other than the United States routinely screens premenopausal women by mammography. Screening mammography should be phased out. Screening mammography does not lead to decreased breast cancer mortality.

The above comments come from: Samuel S. Epstein, Rosalie Bertell, and Barbara Seaman, International Journal of Health Services, 31(3):605-615, 2001.


Davis, D. L., and Love, S. J. Mammography screening. JAMA 271( 2): 152- 153, 1994.

Christiansen, C. L., et al. Predicting the cumulative risk of false-positive mammograms. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 92( 20): 1657- 1666, 2000.

Napoli, M. Overdiagnosis and overtreatment: The hidden pitfalls of cancer screening. Am. J. Nurs., 2001, in press.

Baum, M. Epidemiology versus scaremongering: The case for humane interpretation of statistics and breast cancer. Breast J. 6( 5): 331- 334, 2000.

Miller, A. B., et al. Canadian National Breast Screening Study-2: 13-year results of a randomized trial in women aged 50- 59 years. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 92( 18): 1490- 1499, 2000.

Black, W. C. Overdiagnosis: An under-recognized cause of confusion and harm in cancer screening. J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 92( 16): 1280- 1282, 2000.


Their message, "Early detection is your best protection."

Organizers stage walks, hikes, races, and other events around the country "to fill the information void in public communication about breast cancer"--the sponsors' official goal. For the most part that void is filled with the mantra: "Get a mammogram."

In other words, the people who bring you Breast Cancer Awareness Month tell you to find out if you already have the disease. What they go to great lengths to avoid telling you is what the country can do to help stop the scourge at its source.

It's no mystery why prevention gets the silent treatment.

The primary sponsor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, AstraZeneca (formerly known as Zeneca), is a British-based multinational giant that manufactures the cancer drug tamoxifen as well as fungicides and herbicides, including the carcinogen acetochlor. Its Perry, Ohio, chemical plant is the third-largest source of potential cancer-causing pollution in the United States, releasing 53,000 pounds of recognized carcinogens into the air in 1996.

When Zeneca created Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985, it was owned by Imperial Chemical Industries, a multibillion-dollar producer of pesticides, paper, and plastics. State and federal agencies sued ICI in 1990, alleging that it dumped DDT and PCBs--both banned in the United States since the 1970s--in Los Angeles and Long Beach harbors. Any mention of what role such chemicals may be playing in rising breast cancer rates is missing from Breast Cancer Awareness Month promos.

After acquiring the Salick chain of cancer treatment centers in 1997, Zeneca merged with the Swedish pharmaceutical company Astra to form AstraZeneca, creating the world's third-largest drug concern, valued at $67 billion.

"This is a conflict of interest unparalleled in the history of American medicine," says Dr. Samuel Epstein, a professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health. "You've got a company that's a spinoff of one of the world's biggest manufacturers of carcinogenic chemicals, they've got control of breast cancer treatment, they've got control of the chemoprevention [studies], and now they have control of cancer treatment in eleven centers--which are clearly going to be prescribing the drugs they manufacture."

From Cancer, Inc - National Breast Cancer - Awareness Month
Sierra, Sept, 1999 by Sharon Batt, Liza Gross

Oh, goody. I've attracted a couple of live ones.

As for the claim that mammography doesn't save live, well, that's just plain bullshit, pure and simple. It can be argued that mammography is not nearly as useful for women under 50, but in women over 50 the evidence is clear that there is a significant reduction in breast cancer mortality.

As for the whole chemicals thing, nice red herring.

By the way, "carcinogenicchemicalman" and "mammogramsally," you both posted from exactly the same IP address. You should know that I'm very hostile to sockpuppets posting long screeds on my blog, whoever you are. (Gee, could I have gotten the attention of Mike Adams himself? That would almost be too much to hope for!) In any case, do it again, and I'll have you banned. You can post, but stick with a single 'nym and don't just regurgitate crap that's obviously a cut 'n' paste job. It bores me.

It can be argued that mammography is not nearly as useful for women under 50

That is exactly the point. Mammography screening in the under 50 premenopausal crowd should be abandoned. This should be the real message of breast cancer awareness month.

Are you proposing that chemical exposure does not cause cancer, and you consider it a "red herring"? Are you suggesting that there is no conflict of interest in Astra Zeneca manufacturing both carcinogenic chemicals, and Tamoxiphen a breast cancer drug, and also acting as the sponsor of breast cancer month?

If so, I find that position to be quite remarkable.

I find it quite rude of you to mention IP addresses, since I obviously wish to remain anonymous.

And no, I am not Mike Adams, nor Samuel Epstein.

mammogram sally

I find it quite rude of you to mention IP addresses, since I obviously wish to remain anonymous.

No, it's not in the least. I didn't mention what your IP address is or give anyone a means of identifying you. I merely pointed out that you and "carcinogenicchemicalman" posted from exactly the same IP address, which means that you are almost certainly one in the same person. That's called using sockpuppets, and it's generally frowned upon in the blogging community because it's just plain dishonest. Anonymity is one thing, but pretending that there are more than one of you saying the same thing is deceptive and won't be tolerated. Do it again, and you're banned. You have been warned.

Regarding mammography in women over 50: You seem to be admitting that it saves lives. As far as I'm concerned, the evidence shows that it saves lives from 40-50 as well, but the effect is less, making it not as clear whether the potential harm of extra biopsies outweighs the smaller benefit.

Finally, nice strawman about what I said about chemicals. What you said is indeed a red herring clearly meant to do nothing more than launch the usual attacks against conventional medicine. Even the most alarming evidence doesn't suggest that exposure to environmental chemicals is a risk factor for breast cancer anywhere near on par with the common risk factors that can't be controlled, like family history. That's not to say we should ignore it, but even if we cleaned up every last toxic waste dump and eliminated every worrisome chemical the number of breast cancers that would be prevented is likely to be quite small in comparison to the number of lives that can be saved by routine screening with mammography.

even if we cleaned up every last toxic waste dump and eliminated every worrisome chemical the number of breast cancers that would be prevented is likely to be quite small in comparison to the number of lives that can be saved by routine screening with mammography.

I would disagree with the above statement. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute and the CDC would also disagree with the above statement.

We have already agreed that screening mammography in the women under 50 is of no value and should be abandoned.

In the older, 50-59 age group, screening mammography clearly has not reduced the number of deaths from breast cancer compared to having a clinical breast exam as shown in a 13-year Canadian study in the JNCI with 39,000 women. After 13 years, 622 invasive tumors and 107 deaths occurred in the mammography group compared with 610 invasive tumors and 105 deaths in the physical examination only group.

The authors concluded," In women aged 50-59 years, the addition of annual mammography screening to physical examination has no impact on breast cancer mortality".

There you have it...the number of lives saved by screening mammography annually is ZERO.

Note we haven't even mentioned the harmful effects of radiation on breast tissue. We haven't even mentioned all the suffering and scarring from unnecessary biopsies and procedures caused by false positive mammograms which are very common. We haven't even mentioned that the "cancers" like DCIS that have a 98% 5 year survival with no treatment that are included in the cancer numbers as cured.

Regarding carcinogenic chemicals which cause all types of cancers including breast cancer, how many deaths from cancer are caused by chemical in the US annually? Does anyone know this number?

The National Institute of Safety and Health says, "Based on well-documented associations between occupational exposures and cancer, it is estimated that approximately 20,000 cancer deaths and 40,000 new cases of cancer each year in the U.S. are attributable to occupation."

Look at this list of carcinogenic chemicals CDC Niosh Chemical Carcinogen LIST

The CDC/NIOSH says that by removing the occupational exposure to carcinogenic chemicals in the workplace, we can reduce the number of deaths by 20,000 annually compared to ZERO for mammography. You believe the CDC and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, don't you?

This should be the real message of breast cancer awareness month which unfortunately is never heard from the sponsor, Astra Zeneca. Could we have this silence because Astra Zeneca manufactures carcinogenic chemicals? Could it be that there is conflict of interest with Astra Zeneca sponsoring breast cancer awareness month? You can bet your orac on it.


We have already agreed that screening mammography in the women under 50 is of no value and should be abandoned.

We have agreed no such thing. What I have said is that the benefit of mammography screening in women between 40-50 is less than it is for women over 50, not that such screening is of no value. You're good at cherry picking studies.

If I have time to look up all the relevant references by then, I may have to do a post on mammography screening before the end of Breast Cancer Awareness month, just to correct the errors in your post. If not, sometime after that.

The truth is that many women are dying of breast cancer. It seems like every week, I hear of someone who's living with the disease. They go for their annual check up and guess what, tests show something is not right. And we stand there perplexed as though what happens to us falls out of the sky. And Halleluja, thank God for the annual mammogram. Let's sit in fear and check for lumps so that they the doctors can decide for me what to do next. Is that any different from what Mike Adams is saying, I mean, really? Maybe chemo saves lives but so does a healthy lifestyle. You can't say that the latter is archaic in any way, can you? There's nothing moronic about that. It's about self-empowerment. We all want the quick fix whether it comes from so called quacks like Mike Adams or from Dr.Jones who can only offer radiation/chemotherapy or lumpectomies. Let's look at ROOT CAUSE. Let's look at healthy lifestyles. How many people do you know who get lumpectomies and go about their daily lives not making a single change, the required change needed to fuel health? What makes Mike truly unique is that he aims for the cause of disease. Can you make that claim for most medical doctors? I can tell you mine doesn't. As a woman, I'm tired of the phrase 'breast cancer awareness month', let's change it up a bit, make it 'breast HEALTH month'. You can be sure you won't find any hot dog stands, ice cream stands, soda pop vendors at your annual run for the 'cure' which all help to promote the very thing you're aiming to eradicate, make no mistake about that. Breast cancer awareness month as we know it is not about 'cure' or 'prevention'. It's all about detection. It's time for real prevention.