There are dietary supplements that go unused by women who have been newly diagnosed with breast cancer that have been demonstrated to shrink their tumors but are ignored by doctors. But before these natural remedies are revealed, the stage for their use has to be set.
Short of complete surgical breast removal, there is no treatment that will allay the fears of a woman newly diagnosed with a form of cancer that paradoxically will never pose a threat to their lives.
They call it non-cancer or Stage-zero (non-life threatening) breast cancer. It has risen to comprise about 1 in 4 breast cancer diagnoses made today comprising 60,000 new cases annually. In medical terminology, it is called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), early cancerous changes in the milk ducts of women's breasts.
The cost of treatment runs ~$12,000 but if a woman diagnosed with DCIS has her fears are played upon, she may elect to undergo surgical removal of both breasts (double mastectomy), the ticket price rises to ~$89,000 with full reconstruction (with an accompanying 69% risk for post-operative complications to boot). This is 2010-2011 data.
Nothing to fear but fear itself
Dr. Laura Esserman, writing in the British Medical Journal, says there is "no medical diagnosis that evokes as much universal fear as one with the word 'cancer.'" Oncologists are not treating disease, they are treating fear.
Dr. Esserman says: "Clearly, a condition that is indolent or rarely metastasizes (spreads) is not a cancer as clinically defined." But newly diagnosed women "are being rushed to the operating room, precipitating a lifetime of anxiety."
Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) – cancerous cells in the lining of breast milk ducts – makes up 25 per cent of all tumors detected via screening but "is rarely, if ever, lethal'," repeatedly says Dr. Esserman.
Yet if treatment is refused, women will likely be lined up on protest in front of medical centers with TV cameras rolling to demand insurance companies cover mastectomy.
Mastectomy or lumpectomy or whatever treatment is being offered these patients with Stage-Zero non-life-threatening breast cancer is giving peace of mind to fearful women, it is not saving their lives.
We hear of political theatre. This is medical theatre with a pretty high price tag. The surgeons are in their sterile gowns and gloves. The nurses are standing by to hand them surgical instruments. The anesthesiologist monitors the heart beat and breathing. The patient kisses their loved ones as they are rolled on a gurney into the surgical suite. Is it all for show?