Is medical science losing the war against chronic illness?

Is medical science losing the war against chronic illness?

Question by Tony I: Is medical science losing the war against chronic illness?
The risk that a 50-year-old white woman will develop Breast Cancer has soared to 12 percent today from one percent in 1975.

Likewise, asthma rates have tripled over the last 25 years

Childhood leukemia is increasing by one percent per year.

Such statistics show the alarming rise in incidences of chronic diseases.

Heart disease is increasing from air pollution and trans fats.

Lung cancers in non smokers, and not even exposed to 2nd hand smoke, from chemicals and smog.

… and so on.

This tragic epidemic of deadly and chronic disease comes after 50 years of so called “medical Science research”. They didn’t do much good for all the money that was spent – things got WORSE.

We are not better off that we were 50 years ago, so that pretty well indicates that we are on the wrong path. Serious and crucial changes need to be made. Would it not be better to change the emphasis from research into managing illness after the fact to preventing it in the first place?

Perhaps these folks had the right ideas:

“Unless the doctor of today becomes the dietitian of tomorrow, the dietitian of today will become the doctor of tomorrow.” – Dr. Alexis Carrol (Famous Biological Scientist and head of the Rockefeller Institute.)

“The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison
What a predictable firestorm of resentful insults, smokescreens & bias. “My ilk”? “Stop Lying”?

Fact: studies have indeed linked air pollution to causing twice as many heart disease deaths as it does lung cancer.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/12/16/health/main588941.shtml

Fact: Breast cancer rates have increased for black women and stayed constant for hispanic women. When you couple earlier detection (thus more 5 year survivors who usually still go on to die from cancer or their treatments) and the inclusion of essentially pre-cancerous virtually 100% survivable conditions previously not counted as cancer, the improvement is marginal.

Fact: despite all the figure juggling, more people get and die from cancer every year.

Fact: more heart disease and diabetes each year and it cannot be attributed merely to age.

So who’s lying?

Dave, only a 1% annual increase in ALL childhood deaths would wipe out the human race in less than 100 years. Remedial math?
lo-mcg, congratulations on your success thus far and I pray you will continue to enjoy a cancer free and healthy life. Dietary changes MIGHT have helped you both prevent and cure your cancer but, while I think proper diet is essential, I would never rely on diet alone. I’ll send you some info on what I consider critical and hope you find it helpful.

Now, according to:

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=575

the incidence of breast cancer increased by 80% from 1975 to 2000, though it has remained fairly steady in recent years.

About 20 percent of breast cancers diagnosed are DCIS. This is a non-invasive condition where the cancer cells are all within the ducts in the breast and which is 98-99% curable. In 1975, when DCIS was not included in cancer statistic but was considered a pre-cancerous condition, 10 year survival rates in the UK were 41%. That increased to 72-73% by 2000-2003, but when you take out DCIS you see the actual increase of only 11-12%.
Even when using the 1% plus decreases of recent years, a virtual elimination of breast cancer would still be a lifetime away. I note that survival rates after 10 years are still declining, and the incidence and deaths from many other forms of cancer continue to increase.

According to the latest estimates, cancer deaths are expected to increase by 50% globally by 2020 and double by 2030.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2003/pr27/en/

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20081209/global-cancer-deaths-double-2030

Men saw slightly larger declines in cancer death rates (1.5% per year during 1993-2001 and 2.0% per year during 2001-2006) compared to women (0.8% per year during 1994-2002 and 1.5% per year during 2002-2006).
Estimates of continued declines in cancers make assumptions that may be somewhat rosy – for example, continued improvements in screening (though cancer detections rates are now declining), continued reduction in tobacco use (which may not happen to the extent predicted) and the rate of obesity holding steady (though it has steadily increased for decades). The estimates also fail to take into account the increased toxic burden industrialized societies are placing upon their peoples.

I agree that increased longevity leads to increases in chronic illnesses including cancer. However, such increases do not account for anywhere near the total increases – chronic illness is increasing in all age groups.

The problem I was trying to address was the lack of emphasis on preventing chronic illness in the first place and actually curing when prevention fails instead of managing symptoms. Not as good of a profit model (and that surely gets in the way) but a much better health model.
Fitzbap, we are not a society of fatties because of our doctors – we are a society of fatties because of the crap that passes for food and we have been lulled into a sedentary lifestyle by the boob tube and our own laziness AND because of the lack of emphasis by medical science and medical educations on educating and encouraging us and our doctors about the role of proper diet and lifestyle.

Though some may deny it, our doctors generally have received a very deficient education in the roles of diet and nutrition. I know too many doctors who have told me how lacking their eductions were in those areas (one said he had but a single lecture, others only a couple and some none at all).

Obesity rates track very closely with the advent of fast and junk foods and with the low-fat, no fat, transfat foods that we have been sold on. Check out this graphic:

http://www.weight.com/obesity_2001.gif

Best answer:

Answer by Cejay
There are a lot of sides to this question. First, some of the increases in disease are actually due to better detection methods. Let’s use breast cancer as an example: 35 years ago there were no mammograms or sonograms. Women who felt a lump were terrified to go to the doctor and so did not. The word “Cancer” was never, ever spoken and some times was not even entered on a death certificate because the ignorant believed it was contagious and the family did not want to be isolated. Older women with slower growing cancers were never diagnosed and died from other causes. (I am speaking personally of my grandmother here). So, while there may be an increase in reported cases, not all of that increase is due to more women actually having the disease. Then there’s asthma–which used to be diagnosed as a “croupy kid”, or “weak lungs, gets pneumonia a lot”. Now, any wheeze is diagnosed as bronchospasm/reactive airway disease which then becomes labeled as asthma. Again, there probably are more kids with asthma but not as many as the statistics would have us believe. So before we decide how badly medical science is losing, we need a way to figure out the size of the enemy forces!
On the other side, you so have it right with your quotes from Dr. Carrol and Edison! Much of the disease we do suffer from is caused by malnutrition in the midst of plenty, and the poisoning of our environment. Preventive medicine is barely practiced nowadays–the physician can’t prove it worked (or get rich off it), and the patient won’t take the responsibility.
In short, between bad statistics and lack of responsibility we are in big trouble.

What do you think? Answer below!

15 Replies to “Is medical science losing the war against chronic illness?”

  1. No.

    Medical science is doing a far better job than your colloidal silver, colon cleanses or toxic soups, Tony.

    Why don’t you post some cites to support your stats. And you also could post cites that show the amazing advances medical science has made over the past 50 years. That would balance your biased question.

    You have been told before – medical science DOES work to prevent illness, so stop lying.

  2. Nothing is going to turn around till the medical community starts treating bodies as a whole and treating underlying causes instead of symptoms. I’m glad I’ve learned the difference because now I’m able to help myself heal and to say no to some treatments offered to me by allopathic practitioners.

    They are just now figuring this out but nobody is really interested in doing what it takes to make the changes needed. Thank goodness for the Internet and the information it gives us if only we look. With that information I’ve been able to know that my GP was giving me drugs I should not have been prescribed, to find alternative treatments and to manage a path to a future of health instead of dependence on bottles of pills.

    Here are some more instances where “modern medicine” has been hurting us. It turns out that mammograms give such a high dose of radiation that they, along with some other similar tests, are responsible for *giving* us cancer. Some countries like Denmark have banned mammograms. Why haven’t we in the US done that? At least there is now a reccomendation that we not get them nearly as often which is a positive step. What isn’t mentioned though is all the bad results of having them done every year.

    Another instance is the incredible increase in Autism. Nobody wants to take responsibility even though we know that horrible ingredients go into our vaccines. Oh, and vaccines themselves have not proven to be helpful so why are they shoved down our throats?

  3. It was never a war, more of a cosy ( symbiotic ) relationship between the conventional medicine supported drug industry and illness, one benefiting the other. For example, mammograms have been demonstrated to CAUSE, rather than to detect and prevent, breast cancer. Asthma has been linked to dairy products. People get sick from eating harmful chemical ( pesticide and additive ) laced food such as dairy, they seek medical assistance, and instead of preventive advice, they are given more prescription chemicals to ingest. Aren’t the chemical, food and drug industries just one or two conglomerates ? It is not in their economic interest to have everybody healthy . Nowadays instead of combatting diseases, conventional medicine is concerned with “managing” them ( love that business lingo ). That makes more money. Prevention is still a dirty word in this scheme of things. Ditto with the funeral/ ambulance service industries, improved traffic safety regulations to reduce the yearly 50,000 auto deaths ( U.S ) will cut into THEIR profits . Sick indeed.

  4. Tony, Tony, Tony…Where to start?

    You’ve made some rather huge assumptions for starters. I’m too tried to go through them all but..

    “Heart disease is increasing from air pollution and trans fats.”

    Heart disease is an umbrella term for many different problems. It’s pointless making such generalised sweeping statements. It once again, demonstrates your poor understanding of science and physiology in general. Air pollution is not a major factor. There is little evidence to support that claim (although it may contribute more towards respiratory illnesses). There are many different factors involved in heart disease, not just one or two things. Modern medicine cannot FORCE a patient to adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle either. You’re blaming modern medicine for some of the things it cannot control.

    Again you have listed the negatives but neglected to mention any benefits. Thats not very constructive either. Asthma management is now the best it has ever been. Although I agree we cannot cure these conditions. The outlook for breast cancer has improved in recent years. Deaths from breast cancer are now at the LOWEST ever in 40 years. This is mainly due to improvements in the treatment of breast cancer. Life expectancy in general has increased and continues to increase. Heart disease is being managed better than it was years ago.

    It’s not as simple as saying, “instances have increased” Diseases are also being properly diagnosed now. For example, years ago people with asthma were often diagnosed with bronchitis.

    In a round about way, you keep posting the same crap over and over and it all boils down to you thinking poor nutrition and diet is the basis for all disease. It’s not as simple as that! Why do you think you have the answers science has missed?

    I don’t doubt your sincerity Tony, but you are horribly misguided.

  5. “Since 1990, breast cancer death rates have dropped steadily. The decline has been greater among women under 50 (3.2 percent per year) than among women over 50 (2 percent per year).”

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_90015.html

    Childhood leukaemia increasing at 1% per year? Well that’ll be the human race wiped out in less than 100 years then!

    With humans in the developed world living longer than EVER before, then yes, expect to see an increase in people dying from cancer rather than infected wounds, car accidents, tuberculosis, bubonic plague, ye olde leprosy, cannonball wounds etc.

    Trying to justify that we are not better of today than we were 50 years ago is ridiculous.

    Edit: Even in your second attempt you fail to address any of the shortcomings in your original post. Cherrypicking such as “breast cancer has increased amongst black women” is EXACTLY the kind of nonsense that makes your attempts at processing information look so amateur.

    Even if you had the correct statistics you’d make a mess of interpreting them, never mind the wrong statistics you get from these conspiracy websites!

  6. Where to start? So much wrongness, so little time.
    First of all just randomly cherry picking statistics is not usually very helpful unless context is actually provided. YOu have been told this repeatedly in the past with your out of thin air statistics. Most of what you mentioned are not even chronic diseases. But, lets go through this. Slowly.

    Your statistic on breast cancer is simply wrong. The rates of breast cancer are in fact declining, and survival rates for women diagnosed with breast cancer are improving all the time and better than they have been in decades. As with all diseases, we are also much better at diagnosing and at an earlier stage, which may appear to skew the statistics. New genetic markers improve targeted therapy for women with specific subtypes of breast cancer.http://www.cancer.ca/canada-wide/about%20cancer/cancer%20statistics/stats%20at%20a%20glance/breast%20cancer.aspx
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=2244
    You’ve also provided no evidence that breast cancer is a preventable disease…especially the kind of diet cures you usually promote

    Childhood Leukemia is also neither a chronic disease, nor are its rates increasing. In fact, survival rates from childhood leukemia is now about 80%, compared to this being essentially a death sentence 30-40 years ago. There are many theories on what causes childhood leukemia, none of which have much to do with preventable illnesses. (links to children living near power lines or atomic power plants have been disproven)
    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/cri/content/cri_2_4_1x_what_are_the_key_statistics_for_leukemia_24.asp

    Heart and lung disease are indeed chronic,or can be, and some versions of them can be prevented by lifestyle changes, such as avoidance of smoking and transfats, pollutants etc. I don’t see how that is a failure of medicine….rather it is rather a failure of people to listen to medicine and change their lifestyles. The reason we see more chronic disease in these categories is because we are doing such a good job of keeping these people alive longer.

    However, most if not all, chronic diseases have other factors besides lifestyle and diet. Both heart and lung disease have underlying genetic predisopostions that we are now starting to understand. Recently a gene marker for asthma was identified. These will be important tools of preventive medicine over the next few decades. We even know that your socioeconomic background is a risk factor for chronic disease. Got a diet cure for poverty?

    It is also self evident that many of our health problems are directly related to larger issues such as overpopulation and pollution. I don’t think you are claiming diet cures that either. We are an advanced technological society, and there are new problems and challenges that come with that. Unless part of your plan is to nuke us back to the stoneage….diet again doesn’t have all the answers.

    Diet is important. I am not discounting that. However, it is NOT the one true cure of all disease, and bad diet is not the one true cause of all disease. That is your mantra, but it is not reality, just some mythical ancient Golden Age that exists nowhere but your imagination. Quote mining from two non-physicians also does nothing to support your hypothesis.

    Management of chronic disease is a huge burden on the healthcare system. It’s too bad people smoke, eat crap and get born to parents who give them bad genes….but it’s a fact we have to deal with. While it is a burden, management and understanding of chronic disease has never been better. People with chronic disease today live longer, and have a much better quality of life than at any time in history.

    Even if your hypothesis is correct remember that prevention can’t be implemented after the fact. What do you or your ilk have to offer these people, today? You are being disingenous to try and promote your misguided and naive “one true cause of all disease”
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/?p=3067

  7. If we were meant to live forever…

    As you mentioned things overlooked in the past now have more clear definitions.

    Recently in England Jamie Oliver cooked hot meals for school kids every day; all of a sudden no more kids with asthma. no more puffers,etc.

    It is sadly not in the interests of ‘medical science ‘ for everyone to be fed and healthy.

    The best alternative medicine is to eat porperly.

    Edit: This is a really good question actually. What has made us all on average live much longer? i think a lot of it may be to do with more simple everyday things we take for granted, refrigeration to keep food fresher longer, flush toilets everywhere to improve hygene, clean hot/cold water, improved knowledge of food and hygene, eg when in doubt throw it out.
    And major medical improvements like anti biotics.

  8. If marijuana was legal and if we had less ignorant people. Everyone’s overall health would be better, cannabis has many cancer preventing AND fighting agents in it. There’s many studies to back that up.
    But due to the ignorance it will be very hard to get this miracle plant legal.
    As Americans, we spend so much money buying pain meds, when you could just grow a natural medicine in your backyard. People some how think putting many dangerous liver damaging chemicals into their bodies is okay, yet they call every marijuana smoker (or in their words “dope” smoker) drug addicts,or something along those lines…..

    People think it’s preferably okay to eat fast food but will never give marijuana a chance even though fatty foods CAN kill you and lead to diseases.

    And people say that marijuana smokers are stupid???

    Cannabis cannot and will not do any harm to your body, only good. Smoking marijuana makes you think.ALOT. And when you think a lot, you start to question the government, wars, why people let a rich man boss them around, and the system in general. The government does not like that, that’s that real reason why it’s illegal. Why do you think they hated and targeted the hippies so much. Because they knew what was really going on and knew it was wrong.

    And you say people that smoke marijuana are stupid???

  9. Each person that becomes a doctor in today’s world has to take an oath called the Hippocratic Oath. Some have said that the, “first, do no harm” is part of that oath, but in fact it isn’t. What is in that oath that most doctors, especially the ones here seem to forget they pledged is, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.”

    In regard to a doctor living up to that oath in today’s world, I do not see that happening. I see constant critical remarks levied at any practitioner that is dedicated to prevention of disease and great support of “cures” being supported by the use of drugs and surgery. In 1905, the CDC ( a generally respected organization of the medical industry I’m assuming ) reported that less than 5% of ALL Americans were chronically ill. Today, the same CDC reported in 2005, that more than 53% of ALL Americans were chronically ill. Do we blame the medical industry for all this? I cannot say the medical industry caused all this mess and looking at the statistics it appears that sense the medical industry has taken on the elite position of our great healers, they have failed us somehow. Whether it is warning us of the cause or not addressing the correct way to change the problem is up for debate.

    It is clear to me that modern medicine is responsible for many of the diseases and illnesses we are now facing, along with the food and agricultural industries in this country. I know the medical people know of drugs that have caused huge problems for people because I have several medical doctor friends that I regularly discuss these issues with. Doctors are victims of indoctrination and I know practitioners in the natural health field that are not doing good jobs as a result of a different type of indoctrination.

    I’ve seen some very good things come from modern medicine, but to defend it like it was not causing huge numbers of people to suffer and even die is to be naive.

    I do not see where doctors of today are following their oath they gave to become a doctor of the prevention of disease whenever they can, and I do not believe they meant it when they gave the oath that said “for prevention is preferable to cure.”

    All I hear from the medical community is to “eat a balanced diet and follow a good lifestyle.” I’ve yet to hear anyone of them here tell us what a balanced diet is or what is a good lifestyle.

    You can argue statistics, but any of those who have any education here knows, that statistics can be manipulated most anyway you want them to be. The breast cancer statistic is based on a 5 year survival rate, yet I know personally several women who died a few months after 5 years that were supposedly cured, and then died of cancer. Statistically, they were cured, but got the booby prize. No pun intended. 1 in 7 women are getting breast cancer. Focusing on the cure instead of the prevention is contrary to the oath guys.

    I know from people I see each day that the medical community is failing lots of people, drug companies are getting very powerful, and the chronically ill are increasing at an alarming rate, while medical people are desperately trying to hold on to the pseudo science that is being promoted by the drug companies to promote bigger profits, while ignoring the real problems.

    Many times I see people that doctors have told them to go home and pack their bags they have a few months to live, medical science has done all they can. Drug companies know there is no money in prevention. Doctors are not focused on prevention or finding root causes of diseases. It is all they can do to see the ever increasing numbers of people that are already sick. When they do see people that are just complaining about something that the doctor cannot diagnose, they send them home and become annoyed that someone would want help in that situation.

    For any medical doctor to tell me that techniques used by many nutritional therapists do not effectuate better health and longer life as not effective, I can only say they need to free themselves from the lies they believe. To say that medical science has come a long way and is having a great impact on making people live longer, is to ignore the fact that the quality of life has greatly diminished and that 72 years old for men and 78 for women is not longer life than primitive people that had no drugs or modern medicine. Simple sanitary practices have had more to do with people living into their seventies than medicine.

    As the baby boomers die off, the population will recede and then look at the statistics for longevity.

    When anyone talks about a culture living longer, the first thing that is talked about is their diet and lifestyle, not what drugs have they been taking. So please, don’t tell us that medicine has increased our life expectancy. That is statistical mumbo jumbo. Factor in how sanitation has greatly reduced the death rate and the large influx of babies from baby boomers and then we can look more carefully at the real numbers.

    good luck to you

  10. The breast cancer statistic you give are incorrect.

    One in eight women develops breast cancer (in the UK the figure is given as one in nine) over a lifetime of 85 years. These statistics have not changed significantly in the last three decades or so, although survival rates have increased greatly.

    The reason women now have a lifetime risk of 1 in 8 for breast cancer and that is because we now live long enough for 1 in 8 to get it. A century ago life expectancy was 47 years in the USA. Cancers are far more common with increasing age; the average age of breast cancer patients is a little over 60.. Women often died from infections before breast cancers could develop.

    And breast cancer, like other cancers, is an ancient disease. The world’s oldest documented case of cancer is from ancient Egypt, in 1500 BC. The details were recorded on a papyrus, documenting 8 cases of tumours occurring on the breast. http://medicineworld.org/cancer/history.html

    Here’s the ACS site for 2009

    http://www.cancer.org/docroot/PRO/content/PRO_1_1_Cancer_Statistics_2009_Presentation.asp

    Note the curves for different cancers from 1930 to the present – male and female – slides 7 & 8.

    Lung cancer is the only one with a significant increase, and even that is beginning to decline as fewer people take up smoking.

    It is clearly not the case that more people die from cancer every year. Survival rates are increasing.

    I wish you would provide some links to back up your claims. I also wish you wouldn’t just dismiss statistics and references supplied by other people as ‘smokescreens and bias’; it isn’t a helpful way to conduct an argument.

    You seem to be saying – though you don’t say it directly – that diet will prevent and/or cure cancer, breast cancer in particular.

    I was diagnosed with advanced aggressive breast cancer at the age of 50 – stage 3, grade 3 , 13 lymph nodes affected, er+, pr+, HER2 status unknown because in those (in the UK at any rate) pre-herceptin days it wasn’t routinely tested for as it is now

    I am now fit and well and have been in remission for over 5 years. May I know what dietary changes might have prevented my cancer, or cured it, or may still prevent metastasis or recurrence?

    =====

    EDIT. Tony, thank you for your email. I will reply when I have more time, as I found it both respectful and a genuine attempt to help.

    But my question was partly rhetorical. You see, I had a healthy diet (still do). I have been a vegan for 14 years ( pre-dating my cancer diagnosis by 8 years), and an almost-vegan for many years before that. I’ve never been a junk food vegan either; my diet has been largely organic and has long included a significant amount of raw food and juices. On top of that I exercised regularly, avoided caffiene and have never smoked (not that smoking is a risk factor for breast cancer).

    So… a healthier diet and lifestyle than most people who haven’t had and won’t get cancer, and it didn’t prevent an aggressive tumour plus widespread DCIS. It was conventional cancer treatment that put me in remission, which is why i get annoyed by the ‘chemo will kill you, conventional cancer treatment kills people’ claims I find on here.

    I am pleased to hear that you would don’t believe diet alone can prevent or treat cancer, and hope some of this board’s regulars who repeatedly advise even terminal cancer patients that it can will read what you’ve said.

  11. Looks like I missed the best part of the party so to speak….well…

    I think a better question is how to you get people to give up potato chips, Sugar Smacks, double cheeseburgers and plastic packaging?

    People are very well aware that diet plays a huge roll in chronic disease, and yet the average american eats one serving of vegetables a day (usually french fries, ketchup or iceberg lettuce…..)

    So what do we do about that….

    And how to we reduce the amount of endocrine disruptors in the environment – because lets face it, without plastics, everything is going to have to change…

    Just two cents worth of food for thought

    Be well all
    Have a peaceful and restorative winter season

  12. So we’re a society of fatties because of our doctors? What?

    We’re fat because both the theory of evolution and theory of god have burnt into out mind this simple survival instinct: “If you find food EAT IT! There might not be any latter!”

    The thing is now food is plnetiful ,a nd the kind of food that used to able to best sustain us in times of famine (high calorie) are what we have a taste for.

    Doctor’s cannot force feed the planet a healthy diet, anymore than they can force people to stop doing unhealthy things in general.

  13. I wouldn’t say losing the war, but making great strides in some areas, not so much in others. We ARE losing the war of personal responsibility. We as individuals should 1-adopt healthy lifestyles and 2-act as informed consumers of health care instead of leaving our health to others like helpless victims.

    Science proved smoking and overeating kills. Now it’s our personal responsibility to do something about it. Why blame science for the increase in chronic disease when much of it is our own fault?

    I take full responsibility for my own health and the results are obvious. I haven’t needed medical care in over 20 years. I stay away from the disease incubators called hospitals as their impersonal approach, lack of common sense about lifestyle, ignorance of nutrition, and tendency to over-medicate REALLY turn me off.

    That being said, if my approach failed me and I developed a chronic condition, I would consult the scientists, while keeping myself as informed as possible at all times.

    Will you answer my question? Thanks!

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index;_ylt=AvIZrDGnnfj1ofigbrVrZj_sy6IX;_ylv=3?qid=20091229123316AAkvL7k

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