A Compelling Reason 
Why John Gofman is Correct in 
Identifying Medical X-rays as a Major Cause of Cancer
Copyright 2001  by Darrell Stoddard 

        The January 2000 Lancet article, summarized below, presents credible evidence that medical X-rays are a major cause of cancer.  This reaffirms John Gofman's monumental study linking cancer to medical X-rays.  See Better Than a Cure for Breast Cancer (http://www.healpain.net ) for a review of the most thoroughly validated and comprehensive cancer study of the last century.

Never does Gofman say X-rays should not be used, especially exams with digital mammography instruments that have reduced radiation exposure by a factor of more than 10 times.  Gofman cites this reduction as the model for what should be done, but has not yet occurred with other X-ray instruments and tests.  One CT scan exposes the patient to as much radiation as 5 to 25 mammograms.  One fluoroscopy exam (a common X-ray test where the beam stays on) may expose the patient to as much or more radiation than 250 mammograms There are 700,000 fluoroscopy exams each year in the U.S. 

If with low-dose mammography (see Lancet article below), the total number of deaths per thousand women screened is increased by six for each breast cancer death avoided, what does this suggest for X-ray examinations that may expose patients to 250 times as much radiation as mammography?  Answer: One death for every 16 such examinations, or in the U.S., 43,680 excess deaths each year from fluoroscopy examinations alone.  The number of deaths could be more than this or less, but the total is significant - even momentous, when this is radiation that could be easily reduced by 50% or more, with no loss of information and no reduction in the quality of health care. (Calculation based on the maximum total radiation exposure of 24 low dose mammograms, 2 each year for 12 years; compared to exposure of one lower dose fluoroscopy examination and 700,000 such exams in the U.S. each year.  In practice, the exposure difference between 24 mamograms and one fluoroscopy exam is often 2 times as great as this calculation.)

Reducing X-ray exposure and smoking cessation are by far the most important measures that can be taken to save people from heart disease and cancer!  It costs nothing to do either.  (For more information see Lancet article below or Better than a Cure for Breast Cancer on this website)

Footnote: The magnitude of deaths caused from tobacco use, is revealed in a recent address by Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director General of the World Health Organization -- "The current annual toll of 4 million tobacco deaths world-wide will rise to10 million each year by 2030.... tobacco is set to be the biggest killer of them all -- causing more deaths than both malaria, HIV/AIDS, and TB together."    (These death estimates are world wide.  The death estimates given for medical X-rays are only for the United States.)

Summary from Jan. 2000 Lancet article
Is Screening for Breast Cancer
with Mammography Justifiable?
(Includes an analysis of all eight identified Breast Cancer Mammography Trials)
by Peter C Gtzsche, Ole Olsen 

A 1999 study found no decrease in breast-cancer mortality in Sweden, where screening has been recommended since 1985. We therefore reviewed the methodological quality of the mammography trials and an influential Swedish meta-analysis, and did a meta-analysis ourselves. 

We searched the Cochrane Library for trials and asked the investigators for further details. Meta-analyses were done with Review Manager (version 4.0). 

Baseline imbalances were shown for six of the eight identified trials, and inconsistencies in the number of women randomised were found in four.  The two adequately randomised trials found no effect of screening on breast-cancer mortality (pooled relative risk 104 [95% CI 084-127]) or on total mortality (099 [094-105]).  The pooled relative risk for breast-cancer mortality for the other trials was 075 (067-083), which was significantly different (p=0005) from that for the unbiased trials.  The Swedish meta-analysis showed a decrease in breast-cancer mortality but also an increase in total mortality (106 [104-108]); this increase disappeared after adjustment for an imbalance in age. 

Screening for breast cancer with mammography is unjustified.  If the Swedish trials are judged to be unbiased, the data show that for every 1000 women screened biennially throughout 12 years, one breast-cancer death is avoided whereas the total number of deaths is increased by six.  If the Swedish trials (apart from the Malm trial) are judged to be biased, there is no reliable evidence that screening decreases breast-cancer mortality."

Lancet 2000; 355: 129-34 

Footnote:  To appreciate the importance of the Lancet article on breast cancer and mammography, it needs to be pointed out that Lancet is one of the most conservative and respected medical journals in the world.  The editors of Lancet would not have published the study if they did not believe the conclusions were valid.  A previous breast cancer study concluded the benefit of mammography screening exceeded the risk only for women between 50 and 65 years of age.  The new Lancet study analyzed that data, plus all previous risk/benefit mammography studies and concluded, "there is no reliable evidence that screening decreases breast-cancer mortality."  (We assume this means at any age.) 

Thomas Kuhn, in his book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, refers to this kind of a shift in science, as a "paradigm discovery" - a theory that replaces previously held beliefs, usually with much resistance. 

The above page linking Cancer to medical X-rays is from The Pain Research Institute and the Lancet Medical Journal.   For more information about paradigm discoveries in cancer research, and the cause and treatment of pain, click on the homepage link at the bottom of the page.

Darrell J. Stoddard, Founder - Pain Research Institute
266 East 3200 North  Provo, UT  84604  U.S.A.

Phone: 801-377-3891
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.healpain.net

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