Screening for Breast Cancer

Dr Vernon Coleman

Screening for breast cancer is back in the news. I’ve been a critic of general breast screening programmes for decades because I fear they do more harm than good. Here’s what I wrote about screening for breast cancer in my book `How to stop your doctor killing you’ 27 years ago in 1996:

`The cancer industry spends a pittance on teaching people how to avoid cancer. I know what causes eight out of ten cancers. I can tell you the names of the foods, the drinks, the drugs that cause cancer. And the cancer industry can tell you that too. But they don’t. The only possible conclusion is that they don’t want to cut the incidence of cancer because if they do people will be less afraid of the disease and the cancer industry’s income (and profits) will go down. The cancer industry thrives on fear and ignorance. Prevention is not something into which they put a lot of effort – though they are enthusiastic about interventionist techniques for diagnosing cancer as early as possible. For example, women who are susceptible to breast cancer are encouraged to have their breasts X-rayed. This is dangerous. Mammography is one of the most remarkably stupid things ever done in medicine. Can you think of anything dafter than assessing a part of the body known to be exceptionally sensitive to cancer with a diagnostic technique known to cause cancer? Mammography is a profitable business. Plenty of work for doctors and the companies making the mammography machines. And mammography programmes encourage more fear about cancer. That’s good for the cancer industry. It pulls in the money.

Patients are not, however, told to avoid eating meat – even though there is a clear link between meat consumption and breast cancer.

It is crucial to remember that helping people to avoid cancer doesn’t help the cancer industry at all.

Taken from `How to stop your doctor killing you’ by Vernon Coleman. To purchase a copy CLICK HERE

Copyright Vernon Coleman November 2023