Tag: breast cancer

“Liquid biopsies” for cancer screening: Life-saving tests, or overdiagnosis and overtreatment taken to a new level?

I’ve written many times about how the relationship between the early detection of cancer and decreased mortality from cancer is not nearly as straightforward as the average person—even the average doctor—thinks, the first time being in the very first year of this blog’s existence. Since then, the complexities and overpromising of various screening modalities designed to detect disease at an early, asymptomatic...

/ September 28, 2015

“Precision medicine”: Hope, hype, or both?

I am fortunate to have become a physician in a time of great scientific progress. Back when I was in college and medical school, the thought that we would one day be able to sequence the human genome (and now sequence hundreds of cancer genomes), to measure the expression of every gene in the genome simultaneously on a single “gene chip,” and...

/ August 31, 2015

The uncertainty surrounding mammography continues

Mammography is a topic that, as a breast surgeon, I can’t get away from. It’s a tool that those of us who treat breast cancer patients have used for over 30 years to detect breast cancer earlier in asymptomatic women and thus decrease their risk of dying of breast cancer through early intervention. We have always known, however, that mammography is an...

/ July 13, 2015

Medical marijuana as the new herbalism, part 3: A “cannabis cures cancer” testimonial

Medical marijuana is often touted, primarily in the form of cannabis oil extract, as a cure for cancer that “they” don’t want you to know about. While some cannabinoids do have modest antitumor activity in vitro, there is no compelling evidence that cannabis can cure cancer. Yet that doesn't stop a proliferation of testimonials claiming that cannabis cured cancer. They are no...

/ March 16, 2015

The Gerson protocol, cancer, and the death of Jess Ainscough, a.k.a. “The Wellness Warrior”

Less than four days ago, a young Australian woman died of a very rare type of cancer. Most of my American and probably many of my European readers have never heard of her, but in Australia she had become quite famous over the last seven years as a major proponent of “natural health.” Her name was Jess Ainscough, but, like a certain...

/ March 2, 2015

The Hippocrates Health Institute: Cancer quackery finally under the spotlight, but will it matter?

I first came across Brian Clement, the proprietor of the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, a little more than a year ago based on the story of Stephanie O’Halloran. Ms. O’Halloran was—word choice unfortunately intentional—a 23-year-old mother of an 18 month old child from Ireland who was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in 2013, with metastases to her...

/ February 23, 2015

Screening for disease in people without symptoms: The reality

One of the most contentious questions that come up in science-based medicine that we discuss on this blog is the issue of screening asymptomatic individuals for disease. The most common conditions screened for that we, at least, have discussed on this blog are cancers (e.g., mammography for breast cancer, prostate-specific antigen screening for prostate cancer, ultrasound screening for thyroid cancer), but screening...

/ February 2, 2015

Blaming breast cancer on autism

Gayle DeLong has been diagnosed with what she refers to as “autism-induced breast cancer”. She’s even given it an abbreviation, AIBC. Unfortunately, as you might be able to tell by the name she’s given her breast cancer, she is also showing signs of falling into the same errors in thinking with respect to her breast cancer as she clearly has with respect...

/ November 9, 2014

Breast cancer myths: No, antiperspirants do not cause breast cancer

Antivaccine activists frequently claim that aluminum salts used as adjuvants in vaccines cause autism. However, if you listen to the quacks and cranks, that's not all aluminum does. Oh, no, that nefarious metal is also being blamed for breast cancer. But don't throw away your antiperspirant just yet. The evidence cited to support this connection is utterly unconvincing. Much of it even...

/ October 6, 2014

One more time: No, wearing a bra does not cause breast cancer

EDITOR NOTE: THERE IS AN ADDENDUM, ADDED SEPTEMBER 10. Besides being a researcher and prolific blogger, I still maintain a practice in breast cancer surgery. It’s one of the more satisfying specialties in oncology because, in the vast majority of cases I treat, I can actually remove the cancer and “cure” the patient. (I use the quotes because we generally don’t like...

/ September 8, 2014