When Obama was campaigning for president, health care reform was a major part of his platform. Among other things, he said he would save money and lives by focusing on prevention. I was elated to hear that – finally, sanity in healthcare. But it didn’t take long to discover that his definition of prevention was vastly different from mine. In fact, the type of prevention Obama was talking about could actually cause more health problems, and is not only unlikely to save us money; it could be more infinitely more expense. Add FTC censorship to the mix and real prevention becomes even more difficult.
The definition of prevention used by Obama – which, by the way, is also the definition used by the majority of the medical establishment – consists largely of frequent health testing and screening.
Yeah, sure, it also includes exercising and a ‘proper’ diet, but, let’s face it, both of those things have been recommended for decades and are clearly not enough. Especially when the ‘proper’ diet includes nutrient-starved and pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, fish poisoned with mercury, and red meat and fowl fed antibiotics and fatted up with hormones so they can be put on the market and sold before their time.
As a nation, despite these guidelines, we’ve gotten sicker and sicker. More cancer, more heart disease, more diabetes than ever.
Then, to add insult to injury, FTC censorship steps in and tries to stop us from finding out about – or telling others about – what we really need to do to get or stay healthy.
Instead, we have ‘preventive’ health care. What does that mean? Well, let’s have a peak at what it means for breast cancer, for example. The latest projections are that 45% of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life, so this seems like a good place to start.
What is the ‘prevention’? The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms for women, starting at age 40. Many women do exactly that – religiously. And it’s been recommended for many years. I don’t think I have to point out that the incidence of breast cancer has certain not decreased during that time.
- A Swedish study of 60,000 women showed that 70% of the tumors detected by mammograms were later proven, by biopsy, to be false positives.
- False negatives are also a problem: The National Cancer Institute says mammograms fail to detect cancer 40% of the time.
- Radiation – i.e. mammograms – can cause cancer. In fact, Dr. John W. Gofman, an authority on the health effects of ionizing radiation, estimates that minimizing exposure to radiation could prevent 75 percent of breast cancer.
There is a long list of surprising facts about breast cancer but, for this post, we’ll just stick to info about mammograms since that’s the ‘prevention’ recommended.
Looking at the facts about mammograms, it’s clear that reducing the number of mammograms we get might be something we could do to actually prevent breast cancer. Perhaps Obama, et al, could do a little research into that information and possible testing alternatives. Thermography, for example, is gaining in popularity. It measures changes in the breast that could tell if and when a mammogram is needed. It’s inexpensive, not painful, and completely safe. It could save lives and money – the stated intent of health care reform.
Many doctors look askance at the government’s brand of prevention. Check out The Myth of Prevention and Campaign Myth: Prevention as Cure-All to see what some expert doctors have to say about it. The first article was written by Abraham Verghese, author (Cutting for Stone), and Professor and Senior Associate Chair for the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Stanford University. The second is by H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, N.H. He is also the author of “Should I Be Tested for Cancer? Maybe Not and Here’s Why.”
Perhaps the government will eventually get this straight.
In the meantime, we have control of our own health: For the most part, we can still find out the information we need to be truly healthy. But FTC censorship is trying to stop that.
The law currently states, basically, that you can’t make any health claims for a product unless it’s an FDA approved drug.
For example, let’s say you and 100 people you know all have diabetes. You find out about a nutritional supplement for diabetes that might help. You take it, and it helps a lot! Then you personally tell your 100 friends with diabetes about it, they take it, and their diabetes improves, too.
You decide to go into business so you can spend your time spreading the word – letting others know about the benefits of this supplement so they can try it as well.
But, legally, you can’t do that.
You can sell the product, but you can’t say “This can really help diabetes.” To make that claim, you would first have to execute studies that will take years and cost tens of millions of dollars, and then get the FDA to approve the supplement as a drug. Only then can you say it helped, and only then can people find out it helped.
In the meantime, millions, yes, millions, of people contract diabetes, or their diabetes gets worse – along with their quality of life and level of suffering endured by the diabetic and his/her family. And some lose limbs, and some will die.
The FTC does plenty to protect the public – but making it illegal for someone to say that something helped them prevent that carnage in their life is not on the list.
Insist upon your right to know, and others’ right to tell. This is, after all, a free country. Is it not?
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