And writes up his story in Forbes
It’s really great to see the super-smart, educated physicians of mainstream medicine coming to their senses regarding our huge $100 billion disease-screening business in this country. The most recent is Steven Salzberg and the headline of his article was: “PSA tests might hurt a lot more than you think.” (See link below) But before getting into the article, let’s take a look at his impressive credentials: (from his website)
Professor of Medicine and Biostatistics in the Institute of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. B.A. and M.S. at Yale University, and Ph.D. at Harvard University, published over 200 scientific papers.
His Bottom Line on PSA testing. After reviewing the risks and rewards of having the test, he finished his well-written article thusly,
“At my last checkup, my doctor asked if I wanted a PSA test. I told him no thanks.”
So what led him to that decision? A simple review of the facts from an independent task force that doesn’t benefit financially from you having the PSA test done every year—unlike the urologists who perform the procedure. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated their conclusions succinctly:
“There is moderate certainty that the benefits of PSA-based screening for prostate cancer do not outweigh the harms.” (USPSTF, Annals of Internal Medicine, 22 May 2012)
The reaction from the American Urological Association? What do you think? They had the same reaction that any business executive would have if Consumer Reports had condemned their most profitable product. They howled in protest and released a blunt statement:
“The AUA is outraged and believes that the Task Force is doing men a great disservice by disparaging what is now the only widely available test for prostate cancer, a potentially devastating disease.”
What about the risks? As Dr. Salzberg reported in his article: “The effects of treatment are serious: 20-30% of men treated with surgery and radiation suffer from long-term incontinence and erectile dysfunction.” Pretty serious stuff that the AUA seems to ignore. Of course, they do have a lot of money on the line.
What about screening for colon or breast cancer? I am confident that if Dr. Salzberg knew all the facts about those two diseases and the risk reduction that was possible with a whole foods, plant-based diet that he would probably say “No thanks” when his doctor asks him if he would like to have a colonoscopy.
How so? Like PSA testing, the colonoscopy has become ubiquitous and is accepted without question by almost everyone. That’s because there is a 7% risk of dying from colon cancer in this country. But what if that risk of dying was less than one percent? One also must consider the risks of the colonoscopy itself. Complications occur in some 60,000 people per year in the USA; things like a perforated colon, excessive bleeding or death.
After studying about the power of whole foods, plant-based nutrition since 2002, my decision is to say “No thanks” to all forms of screening. I simply do not wish to be a customer of that $100 billion + business in this country. That’s because I believe that I have lowered my risks to less than one percent AND I doubt that I would submit myself to the surgery if cancer were detected anyway.
My bottom line. Screening for cancer and heart disease is big business and will continue to grow until people learn the facts about what is happening. Until people realize that early detection is not the same as true prevention, the screening business will continue to flourish. For true prevention, we must address the causative factors before they trigger disease.
Since Dr. Salzberg didn’t mention the power of whole foods, plant-based eating to prevent, slow, stop or reverse cancer—I assume that he has not yet been enlightened. His background summary on his website would suggest otherwise. It appears that he is into high-tech medicine, most of which would be unnecessary if everyone was eating an optimal diet. Nevertheless, his article was an excellent summary of all the latest news about PSA testing and I encourage you to read it:
- Dr. Salzberg’s article in Forbes: PSA tests might hurt a lot more than you think
- His biographical summary on the Forbes website.
- My earlier blog on screening: Are you a colonoscopy customer?
- Another blog on that topic: Screening for cancer…a very big business
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
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