The company I work for, ABC Fine Wine and Spirits, takes employee health seriously. We also take personal liberties very seriously and have never required employees to get flu shots. I was asked to review the pros and cons of flu shots and present this information to the ABC Family.
When it comes to breast cancer, not all “cancer” is really cancer, study says.
According to the ACS, something like one in seven women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes. That’s scary, not only for women but for the family and friends who love them. But a recent study from the well-respected Cochrane Commission says that there is reason for hope.
According this meta-analysis (a meta-analysis is a study of many studies), many growths often presumed to be deadly cancers based on mammogram and biopsy results may not be as life threatening as we once thought. They may still be cancerous–just not in the way we typically think of cancer, as something outside the immune system’s control and necessitating radical intervention. According to the study, “for every 2000 women invited for screening throughout 10 years, one will have her life prolonged. In addition [however], 10 healthy women, who would not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be diagnosed as breast cancer patients and will be treated unnecessarily. It is thus not clear whether screening does more good than harm.”
The terrifying implication for women who have undergone surgery and other aggressive therapies is, of course, the possibility that they may among those who have been treated “unnecessarily.” This is so disturbing that it makes discussing the findings of the study confusing and difficult for doctors alike. One thing’s for sure, if you’ve had cancer surgery, there’s still a very significant chance that it did in fact save your life.
Here’s what makes me hopeful: this and other cancer research is leading the medical community closer and closer to the idea that the human body has miraculous, and as-yet little understood, powers to heal itself. A strong immune system bolstered by healthy traditional foods, exercise, and a conscious effort to reduce stress can, it seems, hunt down and destroy incipient cancer cells and even, conceivably, relatively more advanced growths.
None of this suggests that we should make any radical retreats away from diagnosing early cancers. But the knowledge that some cancer-like tumors may be receptive to holistic treatments may deserve inclusion in a frank and open discussion with your oncologist. In the meantime, I hope that this news encourages all of us—whether free of cancer or not—to treat our bodies in such a way that our natural defenses can add to the fight to keep us healthy.