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Cancer Preventatives Ignored
Old 11-13-2009, 06:55 AM   #1
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Cancer Preventatives Ignored

Medicines to Deter Some Cancers Are Not Taken

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Many Americans do not think twice about taking medicines to prevent heart disease and stroke. But cancer is different. Much of what Americans do in the name of warding off cancer has not been shown to matter, and some things are actually harmful
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And, as the response to the prostate drugs shows, people are not enthusiastic about taking anticancer pills, or are worried about side effects or not really convinced the drugs work. Others are just unaware of them.

And prostate cancer is not unique. Scientists have what they consider definitive evidence that two drugs can cut the risk of breast cancer in half. Women and doctors have pretty much ignored the findings.
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Companies have taken note, saying that it makes little economic sense to spend decades developing drugs to prevent cancer. The better business plan seems to be looking for drugs to treat cancer.
...
“A scientific discovery that is very clear cut and that is not implemented by the public is a tragedy,” he said.
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“You have to think that in boardrooms they are saying, Man, did we learn a lesson,” he said. “We will stay as far away as possible from cancer prevention.”
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:03 AM   #2
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I was completely surprised when I read this article. Everyone should read it. I don't think cancer has figured out the New Age life style yet, so in the mean time I would trust drugs more than I would trust so-called organic foods.
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Ms. Anderson declined the drugs. “I live a different lifestyle,” she said. “I eat organic foods, I exercise. Through all of that comes a spiritual element as well. Mind, body, and spirit are all connected.”
Oh, full disclosure: I was a VP of a bio-tech company that helped pharma develop drugs.
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Old 11-13-2009, 07:40 AM   #3
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Good article - thanks for posting. I understand the reluctance for people not wanting to take drugs in case of side effects, it is just human nature. If you can't get people to stop smoking to cut their cancer risk by a huge amount what hope is there of selling them pills when they are not actually sick.
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:01 AM   #4
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I DOUBT the side effects from the PREVENTATIVE drugs are WORSE than the side effects from CHEMO and RADIATION............
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Old 11-13-2009, 09:13 AM   #5
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I DOUBT the side effects from the PREVENTATIVE drugs are WORSE than the side effects from CHEMO and RADIATION............
I don't need convincing - I gave up smoking at age 12 and take my prescription prostate meds every day
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:15 AM   #6
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I can't believe all the smart researchers couldn't see the link between increased levels of estrogen and higher risk of breat cancer.

Most breast cancer survivors are post-menoapusal women. It's pretty easy to connect the dots and see why. Wonder why no doctors got sued for malpractice for pushing HRT programs.

Estrogen feeds cancer cells, at least that's what my sister's oncologist told me.
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:24 AM   #7
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I don't know if I am taking "preventative cancer" drugs, but on a daily basis I dutifully take:

A St. Joe's baby aspirin (81mg)
folic acid tablet
COQ-10 tablet
3 fish oil capsules
statin tablet
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Old 11-13-2009, 10:36 AM   #8
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I don't know if I am taking "preventative cancer" drugs
Interesting question. Perhaps RichInTampa (or other medically trained members) could add some insight into additions to those mentioned in the article.
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:22 AM   #9
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Quote from LOL's post:
'Ms. Anderson declined the drugs. “I live a different lifestyle,” she said. “I eat organic foods, I exercise. Through all of that comes a spiritual element as well. Mind, body, and spirit are all connected.”'

My ex's wife, sadly lived in this world of denial - that is, before a diagnosis of cancer. She ate organically, visited spiritual masters in India, meditated, and put forth those same life boundaries. About 3 years she was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer - an aggressive type. The cancer has spread throughout her body. She went through chemo and radiation, and is now on some sort of hormone therapy. She probably thought she was protected because of her lifestyle.

Long ago I promised myself that I would be a warrior regarding health. I make myself take those uncomfortable screening tests - like mammograms and colonoscopies. Just do it and forget it, and enjoy life! I have to tell my self that early detection is so much easier than the alternative....
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by FinanceDude View Post
I don't know if I am taking "preventative cancer" drugs, but on a daily basis I dutifully take:

A St. Joe's baby aspirin (81mg)
folic acid tablet
COQ-10 tablet
3 fish oil capsules
statin tablet
Even the low dose aspirin is now being questioned

BBC NEWS | Health | Aspirin 'only for heart patients'

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The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) study says aspirin can cause serious internal bleeding and does not prevent cardiovascular disease deaths.
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The Royal College of GPs says it supports the DTB's recommendations.
Low-dose aspirin is widely used to prevent further episodes of cardiovascular disease in people who have already had problems such as a heart attack or stroke.

This approach - known as secondary prevention - is well-established and has confirmed benefits.
But many thousands of people in the UK are believed to be taking aspirin as a protective measure before they have any heart symptoms.
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:32 PM   #11
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So, avoidance of known carcinogens (tobacco, high dose alcohol, certain chemicals,) and taking "preventive" agents for cancer are two different topics.

As to the latter, evidence is very difficult to obtain. You really can't control or check people's food intake for 20-40 years. You can't construct and follow an otherwise identical population for decades. You can't control their weight or exercise very easily for that long. And family history is important. So scientists are forced to do studies whose design is more susceptible to interpretation problem.

Fiber, vitamin E, folate, vitamin B are examples that had their moment in the sun, then were discredited by similar studies showing no benefit. Jury is still out on finasteride's overall risk/benefit profile. Estrogens were felt to save lives from coronary disease more than they caused cancer mortality, but no longer is that the case (and heart disease went down in men, too).

Finasteride is not a slam dunk. Early less aggressive tumors did drop in the treatment group, but more aggressive and dangerous tumors actually went UP in the finasteride arm. Overall mortality was not affected.

So, what can you do? Avoid any unproven agent that has not had widespread, longstanding usage as a food or nutrient. Avoid changing lifestyle on the basis of the latest "trend." Most of all get skinny and stay that way. Then get skinnier and stay that way.

When something is proven -- really proven -- to prevent cancer, you'll likely know about it from multiple sources including many with no vested financial interest.

And if prevention is your goal, did I mention getting skinny? Then you can chuck the statins, metformin, and blood pressure pills while you're at it. Plus, you'll be less likely to get cancer.
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Old 11-13-2009, 08:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FinanceDude View Post
I don't know if I am taking "preventative cancer" drugs, but on a daily basis I dutifully take:

A St. Joe's baby aspirin (81mg)
folic acid tablet
COQ-10 tablet
3 fish oil capsules
statin tablet
I add 6,000 units of vitamin D (D3) to that. (I am at the back of the line for H1N1 vaccine here in Cowtown, AB.)
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Old 11-14-2009, 08:45 AM   #13
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And if prevention is your goal, did I mention getting skinny? Then you can chuck the statins, metformin, and blood pressure pills while you're at it. Plus, you'll be less likely to get cancer.

But but....that's not easy. Hard to do with the med's I'm on. Let's assume I drop from my current wt of 185lbs to 165-170.(6ft tall) I can hear my doc right now when I suggest going off my low dose statin. I've heard him say 'You can't get your cholesterol levels too low', or something like that. But I guess I could just do it and see how the numbers shake out.

Ok....first of the year, AFTER the holidays, I'm dropping 15lbs. Back on wed weigh in's. Heh heh heh........someone remind me of this January 1.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:20 AM   #14
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But but....that's not easy. Hard to do with the med's I'm on. Let's assume I drop from my current wt of 185lbs to 165-170.(6ft tall) I can hear my doc right now when I suggest going off my low dose statin. I've heard him say 'You can't get your cholesterol levels too low', or something like that. But I guess I could just do it and see how the numbers shake out.

Ok....first of the year, AFTER the holidays, I'm dropping 15lbs. Back on wed weigh in's. Heh heh heh........someone remind me of this January 1.
We look forward to seeing you in the New Year
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:32 AM   #15
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It's one thing to eat more broccoli to improve your changes of avoiding a disease.

It's a tougher sell to take a OTC medicine such as aspirin (a pill that's been around for decades) every day in a low dose.

But to take a new prescription drug every day (and spend $7,000 over a period of 10 years) to cut down risk of future disease? No thanks.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:38 AM   #16
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It's one thing to eat more broccoli to improve your changes of avoiding a disease.
...
But to take a new prescription drug every day (and spend $7,000 over a period of 10 years) to cut down risk of future disease? No thanks.
And how does that (PD) compare to the cost of "more" brocolli over the same time span? Or cutting out/back the OTC/"Health" store vitamin/mineral regimen?
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:44 AM   #17
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Very interesting article, Ron. Thanks for posting it.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:46 AM   #18
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But to take a new prescription drug every day (and spend $7,000 over a period of 10 years) to cut down risk of future disease? No thanks.
I am with you...especially when the person doing the research is benefiting directly from that $7000 out of your pocket. I'll take my chances on living as healthy as I can (and yes, there are a lot of improvements I can make), and know that sooner or later something is going to kill me.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:46 AM   #19
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Prevention's dark little secret is that even among those that do work, we are often talking about gains in the 1% range reductions (or less) per year. So any dramatic gains require years if not decades to "feel" truly effective.

You gotta have faith which means that any preventive recommendations need deep, broad, and consistent supportive evidence, as far as I'm concerned. Examples: common immunizations, tobacco, and surprisingly few others.
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Old 11-14-2009, 09:50 AM   #20
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I can hear my doc right now when I suggest going off my low dose statin. I've heard him say 'You can't get your cholesterol levels too low', or something like that.
If he says that, it's because of the 999 patients who have told him that, maybe 98% failed to sustain their weight loss. Negotiate with "can we take another look off my statin if I keep my weight under 175 for at least six months?"

And yes, the grape juice in my diet definitely makes the task harder (though wine is lower in carbs than you might think - beats french fries.
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