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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review February 26, 2010 12 Adar 5770

Beyond the Statistics of Cancer

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Richard Nixon declared War on Cancer in his 1971 State of the Union. Barack Obama devoted one sentence to our investment in promising innovative research in cancer. He mentioned the potential solar treatment that can kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells untouched. Nixon may have employed a metaphor of "overkill" in fighting a terrible disease, but Obama slighted the subject, despite earlier statements about wanting "a cure for cancer in our time."


Fortunately, the rates of new diagnoses and rates of death from all cancers combined have declined significantly in the past decade for men and women and for racial and ethnic populations in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. No small thing. But if you document the emotional fears over cancer articulated in personal experiences that scientists call "anecdotal evidence," the incidence of cancer seems incredibly high.


I personally know five people who in the last year (starting at the age of 40) have been diagnosed with different kinds of cancer, including breast, pancreatic, lymphoma and prostate, all of whom are getting treatment that offers hope that they will live long lives in spite of the cancer. But anxiety reigns over their lives and confusion plagues the rest of us who try to separate scientific evidence from popular suggestions.


The media don't always help. The November guidelines for mammograms as a preventive detection for breast cancer got embroiled in the confusion and economics of the health care debate and still requires some light. When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) advised that women over 50 should get a mammogram every two years instead of annually as had been previously prescribed, a hue and cry went up blaming "bureaucrats" for cutting costs at the price of harming women.


That's too bad because the advice was not issued by experts who personally or collectively had a vested economic interest in their advice, and the suggestions had nothing to do with Congress or the Obamacare legislative debate. The task force, appointed by the government to make interpretations and recommendations, is without policymaking abilities (although some insurance companies base their policy on the interpretations).

Letter from JWR publisher


The USPSTF report should instead provoke informed discussion over facts, trade-offs and the impact of having annual mammograms along with a consideration for the increased numbers of false positives that often lead to further imaging tests and pointless exposure to additional radiation.


"Our entire breast oncology group got together and decided that the findings of the task force should serve as a starting point for a debate about the limitations of screening, but definitely not as a justification for women to delay or forgo their mammography," says Dr. Lisa Jacobs, assistant professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, in their Hospital Medical Letter. Of course, we would all like perfect determinations for diagnostic and preventive tests, but with a disease such as breast cancer, that still isn't possible.


"Scientists are on the verge of finding biomarkers and genetic determinants of risk that will help us create individual risk profiles," says Jacobs. "Maybe then we can say for sure that some women do not need to be screened — but we are about 10 years away from that happening."


Like any disease, money in the pocketbook, literally, affects treatment, prevention and exploitation. Women, perhaps more than men, become prey for expensive gimmicks playing as they do into the vanity issue. Expensive spas that offer pampering along with "alternative" treatments may make some women feel better by simply giving them the illusion of treatment, but do nothing to reduce the spread of cancer.


Celebrity cancer patients have heightened our awareness about different kinds of approaches to cancer, but they also heighten the emotions and distort unscientific results. Suzanne Somers, for example, who writes with advice for others based on her personal experiences with breast cancer in rejecting chemotherapy, avoids the complexities facing women at different stages and with different kinds of aggressive tumors. As an expert, she's merely an actress writing best-sellers while trying to overcompensate for the ditsy character that made her famous on the 1970 sitcom "Three's Company."


Despite best-selling hokum, the public does seem more discriminating and less gullible than those who followed actor Steve McQueen to Mexico in 1980 seeking apricot pits that were then touted as the magical cancer cure. Television will break new ground in the fall with a fictional series on Showtime called "The Big C" that stars Laura Linney, a supple and nuanced actress, who plays a suburban wife and mother diagnosed with cancer.


Let's hope she brings subtlety rather than sensationalism to this sensitive subject. We could use some emotional truth along with good science and sustained economic support for cancer research.

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Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

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