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View Diary: Mammography screening in the general population has been proven not to save lives (261 comments)

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  •  The real question is (2+ / 0-)

    when will medical science come up with the cure for cancer? To my personal knowledge cancer research has been going on for 1/2 a century and medicine hasn't gone much beyond ever-more sophisticated means of burning, poisoning and cutting.

     Yes, I can see the white coats jumping up and screaming that it's a very complicated disease. I counter with the question of why, after at least 50 years of research and bilions and billions of dollars can't our cancer researchers find out why cancer cells multiply into tumors.

    Yes, I know, it's a very complicated subject, but the question must be asked.

    •  cancer isn't just "Cancer!" (0+ / 0-)

      Cancer is about life forms becoming weak and then becoming invaded by other, sort of parasitic other tiny life forms, that have evolved to do that.

      Cure cancer? Get stronger.

      Or, if you'd rather, spend the rest of your life worrying about what more tiny and tiny things to try to kill.

      I don't mean to be hostile here, but that's where it's at. And genetic susceptibility is part of it too.

      Cancer is its own little set of things that want to eat you. Figure out how to starve or kill them.

      Alternately, figure out how to produce your own little set of things in you that are more healthy, and out-produce those ol' cancer things. Little bits that work for YOU!~ instead of trying to just eat you up until you are dead.

      Your body, your cells.

      The whole point of separation of church and state was about protecting the people from the church. It wasn't about protecting churches.

      by mieprowan on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:15:04 PM PST

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      •  hmmm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle

        interesting characterization, but I don't really think cancer is a foreign invader. I think it is your own cells, gone awry.
        but I agree with you. the key is to stay healthy. the question that keeps coming to mind for me is,"why so much cancer?"  not sure why my caps button is not working.  

      •  As someone who lost a family member (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Charles CurtisStanley, CMYK

        who never smoked, was active, healthy, fit, and relatively young to an incurable cancer, I find this comment offensive.

        You can believe whatever fairy story you like about what cancer is, and how the body works, but when you go judging other people for not curing themselves with pixie dust, you're damn skippy I'm gonna judge you.

      •  And what if (2+ / 0-)
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        Charles CurtisStanley, cai

        producing those little tiny things that work for you - in your immune system, most likely - will actually cause you grave harm? What about those who have had a transplant of some kind and have to take anti-rejection medication for it, which (by definition) kills off your immune system? "Get stronger" means keeping your transplant alive and well but it doesn't mean strengthen your immune system to people with transplants...

        And anti-rejection medications tend to cause people to get cancer more easily. More transplant recipients die of cancer than you might think.

        Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

        by Kitsap River on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 03:03:25 PM PST

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    •  We know a lot more (9+ / 0-)

      but aren't very able to cure "cancer" which isn't really one disease, it is a lot of different diseases.

      We actually have made many strides in cancer prevention. We know that most lung cancers are caused by smoking. We know that most liver cancers are caused by viruses and we now have a vaccination for the most dangerous one. We know that essentially all cervical cancer is caused by a virus and we now have a vaccine for that, too. We know that non-melanoma skin cancer (rarely lethal) is caused by excessive sun exposure.

      But we don't have a clue as to the cause of most breast tumors. We have made some strides in treatment, particularly hormone dependent breast and testicular cancers, but we have a long way to go.

      All my IP addresses have been banned from

      by charliehall on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:18:12 PM PST

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      •  oh, and (0+ / 0-)

        did I say you rock?


        The whole point of separation of church and state was about protecting the people from the church. It wasn't about protecting churches.

        by mieprowan on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:21:42 PM PST

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      •  Granted that I am not a medical professional, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        but isn't the underlying cause of all the multiple forms of cancer the unregulated growth of cells?

        •  it's what individually triggers the growth (6+ / 0-)

          that they have to track down - and it's different for just about any kind of cancer.

          and also what inhibits or slows that "unregulation".

          There are multiple research studies that are being undertaken at several facilities on what causes my type of cancer, and so far, none of the factors they've identified are "technically" factors I've been exposed to - except for a possible genetic predisposition to an immune system failure.  But that is such a general catch-all that it still doesn't explain why I have angiosarcoma (specifically in my case, a tumor in my heart) and very few others get it.

          Infants as young as a year have been found to have this type of cancer, but it's so rare and unresearched until recently that few dollars have been thrown at sarcomas in general.

          If cancer were "simply" cancer, and a cure just around the corner, imagine how the world would change.

          "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
          Teilhard de Chardin

          by exmearden on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:32:32 PM PST

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          •  I'm pondering, "how the world would change" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Not a simple thought.

            Do you see it, do you see any part of what it would be like?

            And thanks for these intelligent words re the complexities of the disease.

            This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

            by AllisonInSeattle on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 12:47:18 AM PST

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            •  all I can see from my vantage point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              is a great lessening of fear.

              But mine is a subjective point of view. And something else would replace cancer as scourge.


              "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
              Teilhard de Chardin

              by exmearden on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 01:08:24 AM PST

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              •  I think that's true. I heard Bernie Siegal speak (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                in Seattle once. He said, Look at the books from the turn of the century docs. "God save us from diptheria!" He said the water-borne diseases were killing us then. And we resolved that.

                I think in part cancer is a result of simply living longer. We don't think of 50 as long these days... but 100 years ago, I forget the stats, but a healthy chunk of people died before then, I believe.

                I mean, if you live longer, as, via antibiotics, I believe your chances of getting cancer increase.

                And one of my earlier relatives was diagnosed with "failure of the internal organs" as cause of death. Later it was thought, looking back, that she had cancer. The diagnosis just wasn't made, no way to do so, I guess.

                This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

                by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Nov 20, 2009 at 12:15:30 AM PST

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        •  Vascularization (0+ / 0-)

          The "underlying" cause of all multiple forms of solid tumors could essentially be boiled down to angiogenesis, which is the process that tumor cells use to signal the body to build a new vascular system within the cancer.

          Without that vascular system, the cancer cannot grow. There are many drugs designed to stop angiogenesis, which results in tumor shrinkage.


          The drugs generally negatively affect healthy cells;
          Patients often develop resistance after heavy use of these drugs due to mutations or other ways around the angiogenic process;
          The weak tumor vasculature allows tumor cells to migrate to other parts of the body (metastasize), seeding cancers elsewhere that may not activate for years;
          Angiogenic drugs prevent new vascularization but do not destroy existing vasculature;

          There are new drugs under study that target a tumor's existing vasculature (tumor vascular disrupting agents)--but they do not kill the "outer shell" of the tumor. It may require a combination of vascular disrupting agents and antiangiogenesis drugs to eventually kill tumors.

          Different tumors have different signaling processes by which they trigger angiogenesis and some use multiple processes, which means one drug is not likely to stop the tumor from developing its blood supply.

          There are some promising drugs under investigation or on the market and new technologies. MIT scientists are looking at nanoparticles. The magnetic particles are fitted with little "backpack" type things that have medication bound to proteins attracted to receptors expressed only by the tumors. The nanoparticles are drawn directly to the tumor, where they deliver their cargo and eventually leave the body.

          This spares healthy cells. There's also the potential of using magnets to keep the nanoparticles at the tumor site longer, increasing the length of time that the tumor receives medication.

          Of course, nobody is 100% sure whether these nanoparticles could affect the body negatively in some way.

 holding the line against the siege

          by CatM on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:54:24 PM PST

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      •  The biggest things we could do to decrease cancer (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AllisonInSeattle, SoCalSal

        is get people to understand the relationship between their behavior and their susceptibility to getting cancer...smoking, sun exposure, safe sex.

        And also that as you get will die...we spend a huge amount of our health care dollars trying to prevent the inevitable.  I wish we would spend more dollars understanding how to make the last months/years for a cancer patient that cannot be cured as comfortable and as productive as possible.

        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

        by lakehillsliberal on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 10:11:31 PM PST

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        •  Chemicals, chemicals, chemicals (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          We're surrounded by chemicals that are carcinogenic. Food, air, water.


          You sound so intelligent, and conversant in cancer issues. Yet you didn't mention chemicals. Maybe it was simple oversight, and you're familiar with it, I dunno.

          There's a chemical stew we're living in now, and it's very new for humans. All this stuff has been invented in a few decades. The exposure rates going on now are unprecedented.

          And speaking of unprecedented... all of this discussion of cancer, health care, screenings, chemicals -- all of it pales compared to global warming, our group trashing of the fragile environment that supports us all.

          Without a suitable ecosystem, we humans are not going to survive as a species, and are certainly not going to have time for high-level discussions like this one.

          This health care system is a moral atrocity. Dr. Ralphdog

          by AllisonInSeattle on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 12:36:35 AM PST

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    •  They do know (3+ / 0-)

      in many cases, why cancer cells multiply into tumors.

      That is not the hard part. The hard part is getting them to stop without killing the patient.

      Many of the processes involved in tumor formation (which involves angiogenesis) are also essential to the health of normal cells.

      Also, your body is very clever. Sometimes they stop the process in one place and your body produces a mutation or uses other cellular pathways to navigate around the "block" from the medication.

      While they have not cured many cancers, they progress they have made against some cancers is very impressive.

      Today, a postmenopausal woman who survives certain types of early stage breast cancer is more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer recurrence. holding the line against the siege

      by CatM on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 09:43:48 PM PST

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    •  in point of fact the "why" has been identified (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for many types, and efforts continue to nail it down for the remaining kinds.

      what sets it off and how to selectively stop that process, now, that's where the challenge lies.

      Texas: Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Lady Bird & LBJ, Ann Richards, Sam Rayburn, Dan Rather, Ike, Sully Sullenberger, Lloyd Bentsen. It's No Bush League!

      by BlackSheep1 on Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 10:46:50 PM PST

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