Breast cancer that mightn’t?

On reading a radical article on cancer, the following two paragraphs lit up a light bulb in my head:

There are plenty of scientific unknowns. Take the commonly diagnosed breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ, which accounts for about a third of new U.S. diagnoses, 60,000 a year. In these cases, the cells lining the walls of milk ducts look like cancer, but they haven’t invaded the surrounding breast tissue. DCIS was a rare diagnosis before the introduction of mammograms, which are highly sensitive to milk-duct calcifications [emphasis], and the JAMA article labels it a “premalignant condition” that shouldn’t even be called cancer. Arguably, a lot of women who think of themselves as “breast cancer survivors” have survived treatment, not cancer.

Yet oncologists who identify DCIS have been surgically removing it (and in many cases the entire surrounding breast) for 40 years, so it’s hard to know how dangerous it actually is. “Since we really don’t know the true natural history of DCIS we do not know if DCIS always progresses to invasive cancer or not,” says Colin Wells, a radiologist at the University of California at Los Angeles specializing in breast imaging. “There are some reasons to think not, but this needs to be worked out” with further research. If DCIS does spread to invade breast tissue, the question remains whether that cancer threatens to go beyond the breast, becoming lethal if untreated.

When the word calcification appears, anyone familiar with vitamin D (and K2) will probably draw an automatic association: are milk-duct calcifications due to deficiencies? Even if this should not be classed as cancer, can it portend it to some degree? While anecdotal evidence should always be treated cautiously, old forum discussion proves interesting.

[Source: Bloomberg]

Alternative AIDS Conference 2013

This year’s annual Alternative AIDS Conference will be taking place in Manchester, England, and I’m delighted to say that I have been invited to discuss and promote Prescribing Sunshine…

There may still be some places available for the 2-day conference in mid-September, so if you’re interested in hearing opposing viewpoints on AIDS, I suggest you attend. Full details here.