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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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  •  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-)
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          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-)
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            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-)
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      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-)
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        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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        •  I don't mention it because I have not seen any (0+ / 0-)

          studies that show direct links.  I am sure you are rught but I listed things that have been proven.

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

          by lakehillsliberal on Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 08:37:51 AM PST

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