I neither recommend nor discourage my patients from getting cancer screenings.
Cancer screenings don’t prevent cancer; they help to prevent cancer death. We’re not trying to prevent you from getting cancer. We’re trying to get cancer before it kills you.
Cancer screenings do not save lives. This is something people see in nearly every commercial about cancer screenings, but here’s the reality: When we take a group of people and divide them in half and screen one half for cancer X and don’t screen the other half, we may see a reduction in the death rate of cancer X, but the overall death rate of the entire group does not change.
This indicates there is an underlying cause that causes cancer X, but it will kill you in other ways. If we don’t do anything, it just allows the cause to kill you from some other disease. So, while it’s true to say cancer screenings reduce the death rate from a particular cancer that’s being screened, it is not correct to say that it makes you live longer or preserves life.
Recommended Screening Protocols Need Updating
The second thing people need to know about cancer screenings is that all cancer screening protocols validated to date have been validated in a Vitamin D-deficient population.
There is a placebo-controlled randomized blind study. This is the highest form of science we can do where people were randomized to take Vitamin D 2000 international units a day or a dummy pill. They were pre-screened for every cancer we could screen them for before the start of the trial and again at the end of the trial. The study showed an 80 percent reduction in the risk of developing cancer over the last three years of the trial, and 60 percent over all, simply from taking 2000 international units of Vitamin D a day.
Therefore, if 60 to 80 percent of cancer screening benefit is being removed from the population, you can actually make a cancer screening program that wastes money or hurts people. Because we don’t know the benefit of cancer screenings for a Vitamin D- treated population, the reality of what the benefits of cancer screenings are is unknown to the medical community.
Some Cancer Screenings Can Result in Death
A program by a group of doctors in the 1970s attempted to save people with lung cancer by doing a study on smokers. Half of the smokers got chest x-rays. The other half didn’t. It turned out getting a chest x-ray to screen for lung cancer made them die sooner from lung cancer. That’s because we would find people who looked like they were curable for lung cancer and take them to the operating room, then kill them on the operating table, shortening their life span than if we just let them die from the cancer.
Similarly, there was a CT scanning protocol done for lung cancer patients who were smokers. The results found that unless they were over the age of 50 and had more than 20 pack years of tobacco use before we did a CT scan, we were more likely to hurt them by acting on anything we found on the CT scan. I personally had a patient who lost one lobe of his lung because of something found on a cancer screening CT scan that turned out to be nothing more than a fungus ball that looked like cancer.
Patients Must Make Informed Decisions
It’s important for people to understand this information so they can determine whether their risk of cancer screening outweighs the benefits. We do not know what the benefit of cancer screenings are for people who take Vitamin D in adequate doses.
If you have questions about cancer screenings, please contact me at Pure Health Functional Family Medicine by calling 317-559-2515, or visit our website at https://purehealthmed.com/