(NaturalNews) For over 25 years, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization has been conducting campaigns to "promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services." But since such campaigns began, breast cancer mortality rates have remained virtually the same, while more women than ever needlessly undergo dangerous treatments for a disease they do not even have.
Groups like the American Cancer Society (ACS), the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation all support breast cancer awareness initiatives, which include urging women to get annual mammograms and to undergo conventional treatments like surgery, radiation and chemotherapy at the first signs of a tumor. But many professors, scientists and health professionals now say that such programs and recommendations have not only failed to achieve positive results, but have actually put more women in harm's way.
"I don't think people understand the lack of progress (achieved by breast cancer awareness programs)," Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, is quoted as saying in a recent Los Angeles Times article. Visco referenced statistics showing that deaths from breast cancer have dropped maybe two percent since they started in 1990, which is likely a statistically insignificant figure.
Dr. H. Gilbert Welch from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice explained that breast cancer awareness campaigns have failed to keep up with developments in breast cancer research, including new research showing that most of the cancers identified with mammography are not even malignant. And as a result of continued screening, millions of women end up being treated with expensive, potentially life-threatening treatments for cancers that will never harm them.
A recent paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that for every one woman helped by a mammogram, up to 15 others are misdiagnosed and mistreated. But because of breast cancer awareness campaigns that continue to scare women and push them towards outmoded, unscientific methods of approaching the disease, many women are willing to participate in conventional screening and treatment programs anyway, even if such programs ultimately cause them needless harm and possible death.
A drug company founded National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
A quick look into the history of NBCAM reveals that its founding sponsor is AstraZeneca, a multi-national drug company that manufactures breast cancer drugs like Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Faslodex and Zoladex. And what was the original stated goal of NBCAM? To promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.
Most NaturalNews readers already know that mammography is largely ineffective and dangerous to health. Mammograms do not differentiate between harmless and malignant tumors, and they pump a regular dose of radiation into women's breasts that can eventually cause tumors to form. But the one thing mammograms are good at is racking up lots of breast cancer diagnoses.
Before the days of mammography, breast lumps were not the major scare they are today. But today, otherwise healthy women are habitually screened and told that detected tumor need immediate intervention, even though the vast majority of them are harmless. Sometimes women actually develop harmful tumors from the mammograms themselves, resulting in the same interventions. Either way, at the end of the day, drug companies like AstraZeneca reap large profits from the mammogram system.
"It's a common problem with disease awareness campaigns and patient advocacy groups," said Welch. "If you look into their funding sources, you'll often find a pharmaceutical company or device maker who stands to benefit from an expansion in the number of people with the condition."
Laurie Casaday, spokeswoman for NBCAM and senior manager of corporate affairs in oncology for AstraZeneca, denies such claims, however. She insists that the program is "not about selling a breast cancer drug", but is instead about "making sure women are educated about their breast health."
If the organization was really concerned about educating women about their breast health, though, it would acknowledge the mounting scientific evidence that denies the viability of mammography and conventional cancer treatments, and would subsequently stop using fear-mongering campaigns to persuade women to take that route. But this scenario will likely never happen because, in doing so, AstraZeneca and other drug companies would experience a tremendous drop in revenue due to significantly less false diagnoses.