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More About PSA, Prostate Cancer, and Breast Cancer Debates

Robyn Openshaw, MSW - Feb 23, 2012 - This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

Any time we take on a sacred cow—like testing PSA for prostate cancer—we hear about it. We are certainly getting emails and backlash now. I anticipated that. Thank you to everyone responding. Let me reiterate that I honor anyone’s right to decide about the PSA or mammogram issue for themselves. I feel strongly that we should be educated about risks and benefits before we undergo harmful treatment or diagnostic procedures. To that end, I call attention to not just one or two, but quite a few experts and groups evaluating data and calling for a change in the way we deal with prostate and breast cancer.

Of course some people feel that a PSA test detected advanced cancer and thus saved their life—including Rudy Giuliani. But the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says men should not get the PSA test because of so many who are consequently maimed and radiated unnecessarily. Read about it in the New York Times HERE.

And read a great interview on NPR here challenging the sacred-cow idea that “early detection is better.”

My opinion is that we need a new cancer marker for the prostate. And if we continue to monitor PSA, we need doctors to stop nearly automatically subjecting men to biopsies, surgery, and radiation for elevated (but lower) PSA numbers. We need more docs willing to work with patients on highly effective lifestyle changes as alternatives or at least complements to the surgical and radiation protocols.

The same task force reviewed the literature and recommended AGAINST women in their 40’s receiving annual mammograms, for similar reasons, one being that mammography finds cancer tumors that would never grow and become a problem in the woman’s lifetime. (I have mentioned here that a tennis opponent of mine had a mastectomy this past summer and was still home-bound 2 months later, having detected a STAGE ZERO tumor in a routine mammogram.) We also must consider that the radiation exposure cumulatively (and ironically) increases their risk of breast cancer, more in younger women than older women. Those with genetic markers for breast cancer are excluded from this advice. Read about it HERE.

I have been asked what I do. I state that here not to influence anyone else, who must be responsible for their own choices, of course, but simply to answer the question. This is not intended as medical advice.

I confess I have never had a mammogram and do not plan to, in the future. (My mother has never had one.) I choose a present and future without radiation. I feel confident in this decision mostly because my lifestyle is very disease preventive. I did have a thermographic scan a few months ago and will do that periodically. I have always worn a bra 16-18 hours a day and am changing that to about 8-16 hours  now.

Posted in: Health Concerns

3 thoughts on “More About PSA, Prostate Cancer, and Breast Cancer Debates”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Although I agree with all that you have said on this issue, it was a PSA test and subsequent biopsy that “saved” my husband’s life. I’ve written about this before, but for those who have not read it, because of these tests, my husband was finally persuaded to try a different way of eating. He was sure that he was allergic to many vegetables and trying a vegetable-based diet seemed like a death sentence to him. Yet, after the doctor gave him a “death-sentence” diagnosis, he was willing to try anything, “If I’m going to die anyway, I might as well die trying something.” Against the doctor’s advice, we went on a strict vegetable-based, green diet. What a difference that has made in our lives!! Life-long allergies gone, worsening asthma gone, constant illness greatly diminished, and a new lease on life gained!!! It is like I’m married to a completely different man!! So, I’m with you—I wish doctors would look beyond drugs, treatments, and surgery, and help their patients learn to live a healthy lifestyle!! Two years ago he had a check-up with a urologist where we now live, who told him that although the jury is still out on rather eating a certain way helped rid us of cancer and illness, he should keep on doing whatever it was that he was doing!

    (By the way, the 1st doctor said he’d be dead in 5-10 years without the surgery and treatment. We are entering year 11 since that diagnosis and still going strong!!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey there Robyn. I recently (every month right before my period) have had breast pain and fibrous lumpy tissue in my left breast. I recently went to the ob/gyn to get a pap smear and although he wasn’t worried about it, he told me i could go get a mammogram & ultrasound (based on my family history- 2 maternal aunts & 1 paternal cousin). Anyway, I want to be wise to stay on top of this bc it does feel different & concerns me- but don’t want to get a mammogram. Who could you recommend that i go to to get a thermographic scan? Would an ultrasound be worthwhile. I live in Orlando Fl (just saw you when you were down.)

    a little backstory: i no longer use anti-persperant w/ aluminum (but did for years), nursed 2 kids, am wearing bras less often than before, drink green smoothies everyday & eat largely veg (but not always raw).

    I KNOW you’re not a medical professional but am really having trouble finding doctors who think in this way!

    1. Robyn Openshaw, MSW says:

      Ariel, ask others in your area who are into natural healing for a place that does thermography? Or ultrasound would be better.

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