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Are We Overdiagnosing and Overtreating
Breast and Prostate Cancer?
It appears the answer is yes.
Last month experts offered this advice in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
It seems that we have another body of medics saying what we have said for over a decade, that over diagnosing early cancers leads to unnecessary over treatment.
Prostate and breast cancer charities and self help groups have lobbied for screening, advertised screening as a beneficial object and in the case of prostate cancer, for all men over 40.Routine annual screening for PSA (prostate specific antigen) and mammograms have been held up as the way to go for men and women respectively.
It was hoped that increased screening would result in a reduction in deaths from breast and prostate cancer, yet overall cancer rates are higher, more men and women are being treated for breast and prostate cancer, and the incidence of later-stage or aggressive disease has not declined significantly.
But what has happened is that screening of all men and women without any other symptoms has led to overdiagnosing low risk, some would say no risk, cancers.And what does a man or woman so diagnosed want, in many cases, is treatment to excise the demon as soon as possible.
Their medics agree because the reason for the screening is to find and treat early stage cancers which will in turn prevent late stage or metastatic disease.
Carol Franc Buck and other authors, believe breast and prostate cancer screening needs a new direction. “We need to focus on developing new tools to identify men and women at risk for the most aggressive cancers,” she said in a UCSF news release. “If we can identify groups of patients that don’t need much treatment, or don’t need to be screened, wouldn’t that be great?” She notes that screening is not foolproof, “we need to invest in changing our focus from the cancers that won’t kill people to the ones that do.”
As we have noted before the side effects of current cancer treatment can shatter and often destroy a lifestyle.Some have said that the treatments are often worse than the cancer itself, so giving someone who does not need surgery, drugs or radiotherapy at all is verging on criminal assault.
Make the use of Marijuana legal for Prostate Cancer patients.
You know, if you have read press and magazine articles over the years, that marijuana can help many people with medical conditions.Yet those people and/or their wives or husbands have to resort to back street methods to obtain the only help they can find to alleviate the pain, depression, shakes etc of their partners.
When you consider the harm caused by many drugs prescribed by the medical profession, or the drugs given to patients to overcome the damage or side effects of the original treatment that have been given in the first place, it beggers belief that prescribing marijuana for such relief cannot be available.
In August The British Journal of Cancer published the results of a study that found THC (the main active component in marijuana) is effective in fighting prostate cancer. Reportedly, THC attacks prostate cancer cell types that do not respond to the usual hormone treatments.These are the cells which after prolonged hormonal treatment refuse to be controlled by the treatment. You may recall that quercetin in one studyapparently also had the same effect.
This extract below, from the article puts the research in front of you so that you can see that something needs to be done. If not just for prostate cancer patients, then for all patients who the medical profession have washed their hands of.
. Bearded man. "They say they want some marijuana for his cancer."
Medical Marijuana for Cancer Patients
It has proven in many studies, performed by prestigious scientific and medical organizations and individuals, that medical marijuana can and does, relieve pain and nausea. In fact, some of these studies go as far back as the 1970s and older.
For instance, in 1975, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a "double-blind" study on the effects of oral (ingested rather than smoked) tetrahydrocannabinol on nausea and vomiting. According to the study, "No patient vomited while experiencing a subjective "high". Oral tetrahydrocannabinol has antiemetic properties and is significantly better than a placebo in reducing vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic agents."
A 1999 report by the Institutes of Medicine concluded, "In patients already experiencing severe nausea or vomiting, pills are generally ineffective, because of the difficulty in swallowing or keeping a pill down, and slow onset of the drug effect. Thus an inhalation (but preferably not smoking) cannabinoid drug delivery system would be advantageous for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea."
Although freedom from nausea and vomiting are two of the most noticed benefits of medical marijuana use, many have reported a reduction in the severity of wasting away. As well, they've notice a lessening in depression and other "side effects" brought on by the disease, including an increase in appetite. All of these things together have helped many cancer patients live a better, happier, more comfortable life. However, studies have also shown a shocking benefit.
Over twenty major studies in the past nine years have shown that cannabinoids (the chemicals in cannabis) actually fight cancer cells. In fact, it's been shown that cannabinoids arrest cancer growths of many different forms of cancer, including brain, melanoma and breast cancer. (As breast and prostate cancer are both hormone driven the chances are this would help Pc as well. PD)There's even growing evidence that cannabinoids cause direct anti-tumour activity.
Since the possibility was first realized, many more studies have been conducted, focused on the possibility of cannabinoids have anticarcinogenic effects. A 2007 study by the Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology in Rostock, Germany focused on human cervical cancer (HeLa) cells. The cells were treated with specific cannabioids and THC. Even at low concentrations, MA and THC "led to a decrease in invasion of 61.5% and 68.1% respectively."
The benefits of medical marijuana for cancer patients are clear when it comes to increased appetite, reduction of pain, wasting, vomiting and nausea, as well as depression. Although its anticarcinogenic effects aren't quite as clear, ongoing research further points to the possibility that medical marijuana may actually be what many claim it is - a truly miraculous drug.
Health Canada grants access to marijuana for medical use to those who are suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses and those with chronic conditions. Medicinal-Marijuana.ca helps connect qualified patients with designated growers across Canada, providing information, support and resources to all Canadians who would like to access the medical cannabis program of Canada. Visit online today.
If you are a sweet factory and you make liquorice toffees and blackcurrant toffee sweets, you could combine the two tastes and hey presto you have a new product with hopefully a whole new market.
But what if you are a pharmaceutical company ?Now that must lead to greater head scratching and concern.Just how can something be done……..?Especially if the drug licence has run out and generic versions are taking your market.
Well a recent copy of Nursing Times outlined how GlaxoSmith Kline found an answer. One which will probably boost their sales.
Tamsulosin, is an alpha blocker.It targets the tissue of the prostate and relaxes the muscles in that organ chiefly around the bladder neck.BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia) is an increase in the prostate mass which slowly but surely closes down the amount of urine your bladder can expell.Left untreated it can lead to urine retention, an unusual painful experience, which I have experienced over a number of hours, some years ago, as the bladder desperately attempts to expell urine and fails due to a complete blockage.
A continued difficult urinary problem can also cause the bladder to stretch beyond recovery.At this point even if you have surgery to remove the blockage your bladder is unable to express urine and you are left with a catheter life.
And so back to Tamsulosin.The relaxation it produces allows the bladder to do its job and harmony is returned to your body.The problem is that this does not stop the growth of the BPH, and so eventually even the drug cannot overcome the pressure of the growth on the passageway and you face the above major problems.
I would add of course that like all drugs, it seems, Tamsulosin has side effects and you should understand that these may have an effect on your lifestyle and must be placed on the balance alongside the major problems that non use would bring.
So if Tamsulosin does not prevent the growth of BPH is there an answer ?
Proscar and Avodart are two drugs which stop and reverse the BPH growth.Proscar was first on the scene with Avodart a year or two later.
What GSK have come up with is a combination of Tamsulosin and Avodart..Now whereas in the old days you took the alpha blocker until your flow wasbetter and then moved onto Avodart to reduce the size of the BPH,now it seems you are taking both.Am I being harsh by saying that sounds like a win win situation for the drug company !
The result of a four year study, it would appear, showed that men on a combination of the two drugs reported fewer symptoms than those men who took only one of the other drugs.
The name of the new combined drug is called CombAT, with its upper case and lower case it could well be used as an internet password !
Wow ! great, if you have or may have BPH, no problem just go to your GP and take CombAT and all is well, no worries about surgery, retention etc.
Oooops, forgot to mention the side effects !
Now alpha blocker Tamsulosin can have the following side effects :-
Dry mouth, headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or fainting.There is also the chance of weakness, depression, sexual problems (not expanded upon) sickness, diarrhoea, constipation, (which would you prefer ? Do you have a choice !?) Blurred vision, stuffy nose, fast or fluttering heartbeat, rash, itching or flushing.Shall I go on… yes, well ok then.
Abnormal ejaculation, including decreased ejaculate amount
Signs of an allergic reaction, such as an unexplained skin rash, itching, hives, swelling, wheezing, or difficulty breathing or swallowing
Any breast changes, such as breast tenderness, breast enlargement, breast lumps, or breast discharge.
I would add that all the listed side effects are possible not guaranteed !(PD)
Inclusion of links is NOT an endorsement by the Prostate Help Association, nor do we guarantee any information you will find, other than our own. We would remind everyone that they should discuss with their medical team all aspects of their condition and then come to a decision in regard to the best treatment for their condition.