article review

I think I sent this article out to most of my readers, but just in case...

The first few paragraphs of the article is below (click below to go to the whole article). The article says, in very short, that:

1. Taking vitamins is at the least a waste, and at worst, harmful for your health.
2. Taking tamoxifen can reduce the incidence of breast cancer in half.

Yet, we continue to take vitamins and not tamoxifen.

Why? Why wouldn't we take the wonder drugs? Money? Capitalism? Someone can't make money on the drugs that work, so they aren't proscribed? People avoiding breast cancer would be bad? A drain on society?

Interesting, especially given the recent recommendation that mammograms begin when women turn 50, rather than 40.

I am not sure what to make of this other than I am frustrated. I just picked up another weight loss book this week at the library and all I kept thinking while reading was this is all crap. In one part of the book they are telling the reader to eat better, exercise more, and take vitamins, while in another part of the book they are saying that my thyroid is out of whack. Great. How do I re-whack it? That would be news I could use.

NYTimes, November 13, 2007
Medicines to Deter Some Cancers Are Not Taken

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. Yet the few medicines proved to deter cancer are widely ignored.

Take prostate cancer, the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States, surpassed only by easily treated skin cancers. More than 192,000 cases of it will be diagnosed this year, and more than 27,000 men will die from it.

And, it turns out, there is a way to prevent many cases of prostate cancer. A large and rigorous study found that a generic drug, finasteride, costing about $2 a day, could prevent as many as 50,000 cases each year. Another study found that finasteride’s close cousin, dutasteride, about $3.50 a day, has the same effect.

Nevertheless, researchers say, the drugs that work are largely ignored. And supplements that have been shown to be not just ineffective but possibly harmful are taken by men hoping to protect themselves from prostate cancer.

As the nation’s war on cancer continues, with little change in the overall cancer mortality rate, many experts on cancer and public health say more attention should be paid to prevention.

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