Our society paints medicine as a much more scientifically concrete field than it actually is. Medicine and medical doctors deal almost always in grey areas, and are oftentimes more concerned with profit than health.
Below are 21 things that your doctor probably hasn’t told you, for one reason or another, but never fear-there are alternative options.
Cancer isn’t always cancer
“Cancer” is perhaps the most fear inspiring word in medicine these days. Often the medical community cites “early detection” as the best chance for survival. However, in the hysterical quest for early diagnosis, statistics are manipulated and misdiagnosis is rampant.
Take Mammograms, for example, the method often recommended for screening for Breast Cancer. Mammograms often detect Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), which despite including the word “Carcinoma”, DCIS rarely develops into cancer and nearly all diagnosed with this condition survive.
The issues lies within people being suggested into receiving needless and often disfiguring treatments, in which the treatment itself was more harmful than DCIS would have been.
On top of this, doctors often include DCIS when discussing cancer statistics, now accounting for 30% of Cancer “cases” in the United States.
Vaccines do fail
Understanding the nature of Viruses is essential to understanding Vaccines. A Vaccine is a weakened or dead form of a Virus, introduced to your body with the goal of stimulating and training your immune system to kill the Virus.
Viruses, like all other forms of life, are programmed to adapt to survive, and sometimes vaccines serve only to strengthen them.
This can happen by stimulating the Virus to mutate in an effort to survive, often making it stronger and harder to beat.
Most pills are basically a placebo
Anti Depressants are an excellent example of the small difference between the effects of drugs and placebos. A 1998 study, recently reinforced by a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, regarding Prozac, showed the those given a placebo improved 75% as much as those given the actual drug.
This seems to show that the majority of the improvement was generated by the patient’s personal belief that they would improve.
“Doctors can spend 15 minutes explaining why the patient doesn’t need medicine or take 1 minute to write a prescription.” Howard Brody, M.D., PhD., director of the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences at Michigan State University.
More tests could actually be harmful
Dartmouth Medical School Professor Dr. H. Gilbert Welch writes in his book “Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health“, that “Overdiagnosis is the biggest problem posed by modern medicine… We must view the dogma of early diagnosis more skeptically. I realize this may be a really tough paradigm shift… But sometimes scientific paradigms simply need to change.”
A New England Journal of Medicine study found that 48 were found to have false positives when screened for prostate cancer. These men underwent unnecessary treatment, which resulted in bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction.
The lawsuit culture associated with medicine also encourages doctors to assault patients with numerous, often unnecessary tests, for the sake of “not getting sued”.
“Safe” X-rays can still cause cancer
The link between radiation and cancer is well known and well established. Because we are constantly exposed to low amounts of radiation as a result of living on Earth, certain amounts of “safe exposure” exist.
The medical community allows that X-Rays fall well within this category of “safe exposure”, however a look at the numbers might suggest otherwise.
The units of measure used for radiation are called sieverts. Within a year, you are generally exposed to an average of 2.4 millisieverts, from background radiation in everyday life.
A mammogram, however, can cause up to 0.7 millisieverts at once. While that is but a portion of your yearly exposure, it occurs within minutes, not over the course of a year.
In the UK, X-rays are responsible for roughly 700 cases of cancer each year. Some researchers also claim that many cancer cases were caused or agitated by medical X-rays.
Prescription drug side-effects can be worse than your condition
As often listed in the fine print, or spoken at an incomprehensibly fast rate at the end of commercials, prescription drugs come with a vast amount of unpleasant side effects.
This type of drug is linked to bone decay, birth defects, as well as creating an inability to absorb vitamin B12-an issue that can cause permanent neurological damage.
Despite this, Nexium was the most prescribed drug in 2012, calling into question how thoroughly these side effects were discussed by the doctor prescribing the medication.
Certain medications can increase cancer risks
A study of 1,763 women with breast cancer showed that a certain type of high blood pressure medicine, containing calcium channel blockers, were 2.5 times as likely to develop cancer.
The calcium channel blockers, in an attempt to lower blood pressure, disrupt the normal life cycle of cells. When cells are prevented from completing the their life cycle and dying, they become cancerous.
This medicine is widely prescribed- within one hospital, 150 out of 161 doctors proscribed this medicine, and only 8 discussed this potential risk with their patients.
Aspirin can cause internal bleeding
Doctors often suggest a low dose of aspirin daily to help lower risk of heart disease. The concept is that aspirin prevents blood clots and in turn prevents heart attacks and strokes. However, aspirin can also trigger large scale internal bleeding.
In a study of 10,000 people a daily dose of aspirin prevented 46 people from dying over a ten-year period. This same study also showed that 49 people out of the same group experienced major internal bleeding, and an additional 117 experienced bleeding in their gastrointestinal tract.
This study suggests that the negative effects likely outweigh the positives.
Your doctor gets paid for certain drugs you buy
What may sound like conspiracy theory at first, looks more similar to extreme sales commission upon a closer look.
The Harvard School of Law looked into this issue and found that doctors are often paid extremely well by pharmaceutical companies to prescribe certain drugs they manufacture-even those found to be harmful.
Particular examples of this include Dr. Alan F. Schatzberg, who prescribed an abortion drug to treat depression, while owning $4.8 million worth of stock in the company that manufactured the drug.
Another is seen in Dr. Joseph L. Biederman, who received $1.6 million from the manufacture of an antipsychotic medication for prescribing it to toddlers, despite the medicine not being approved by the FDA for children under 10.
Pandemic scares are over-hyped
SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, names tied to mass hysteria and panic. The swine flu pandemic of 2009/10, induced by the World Health Organization’s declaration of state of global emergency, lead to lines out the doors for the vaccine, as well as $10.5 billion in vaccine sales for pharmaceutical companies in 2010.
Doctors linked to the vaccine’s manufactures happened to be 8.4 times more likely to recommend the vaccine to their patients. These doctors were also more likely to volunteer information to the media, suggesting the vaccine.
When all was said and done, 17,000 people died from the swine flu, as opposed to the 46,000 fatalities annually caused by the regular flu.
Perhaps this was because of the success of the vaccine, or perhaps it was because the swine flu was simply a common mutation of the flu virus, artificially inflated as scare tactic.
Your doctor could be a violent criminal or sex offender
Doctors are trustworthy, upstanding members of society- right? Well, they aren’t required to provide their criminal history, so why not give them the benefit of the doubt?
In 2013, the General Medical Council in the UK released a database of the criminal histories of its physicians. Over 800 practicing doctors held criminal records, 330 arrested for driving drunk, 31 arrested for assault, and various other charges including theft and drug trafficking.
In addition to this study there have been cases where doctors were found guilty of rape and child pornography.
Stents don’t stop heart attacks
Despite Medicare spending $1.6 billion on cardiac stents annually, studies show that they are no more effective in preventing heart attacks than lifestyle changes.
While some of these studies show that stents are effective in providing short-term relief of chest pain, 30% of patients who receive this treatment were not experiencing pain in the first place.
These patients are subject to the risks associated with implanting stents, particularly kidney damage inflicted by dyes used during implantation.
Dr. David Newman, associate professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine says, “According to the best data, there is no chance that those stents are going to save lives and prevent hear attacks in the future. This has been known for years”.
Your doctor doesn’t know everything
Society tends to place doctors in a position of absolute authority in the realm of health.
This is generally not the case. Dr. David Newman, associate professor of emergency medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine said, “Somewhere in the range of 85% of what we do, we don’t have adequate science to speak with certainty… It’s a strange scenario where I want my patients to have confidence in me, so there’s an element of play-acting that goes on to instill confidence”.
“It’s going to be 500 years before we have the knowledge we need to base most of our decisions on high-quality science”, Newman added.
While someone who attended several years of medical school may be more knowledgeable than your gas station clerk, that doesn’t make them omnipotent and all knowing.
Good insurance doesn’t equal good health care
Oftentimes, the flipside of people not receiving enough health care comes about with those indulging in what some call “medical gluttony.” Dr. Otis Webb Brawley, author of “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America” discusses how some Americans receive “excessive and illogical care” in the sense that hospitals, drug companies, and doctors are trying to cash in on expensive treatments, and are not beyond ignoring scientific data in favor of a profit.
Brawley writes that, “The inappropriate use and overuse of medical treatment, is not just adding unnecessary cost to health care. It can actually be harmful to the individual”. Within his book, Brawley cites the example of a mid 90s breast cancer patient who was treated with high dose radiation and bone marrow transplants. Despite no scientific evidence supporting this treatment, several women went as far as to sue their insurance companies to provide it for them.
The woman in Brawley’s book died in hospice care after a hard year of hospitalization. “She got the transplant because she was insured and doctors could convert her suffering into cash”, Brawley writes.
The grim reality is that the medical insurance, much like medicine in general, is a business first and foremost.
Most prescription drugs are highly addictive
We often hear tales of “normal” people, well those we might not expect to fall victim to drug addiction, become addicted to painkillers after being prescribed them.
The chemistry of these drugs, particularly those composed of opiates, are highly addictive. Proper instructions for weaning off of these drugs are usually not provided.
Additionally, the fact that will cause withdrawals when you stop using them is another bit of information often omitted.
A statistic provided by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy states that 4 out of 5 heroin users had previously used painkillers, which should serve as a testament to the addictive power of these drugs.
Pain killers are heroin
Chemically speaking, this is true. Perhaps the appearance of small white pill in a familiar orange bottle seems less harmful than a dirty needle, but the effects can be just as deadly.
As mentioned about the link between heroin use and painkillers is well established. Many drug addicts switch between these highly addictive variants of opium, and the addictive affects remain the same. They will both cause terrible withdrawals and dependency when abused.
It is important to keep this in mind when you or someone you know is prescribed this medicine.
Elective surgery on Friday or weekends has a higher mortality rate
The British Medical Journal found that “compared with Monday, the adjusted odds of death [taking into account a variety of cases] for all elective surgical procedures was 44% higher, and 82% higher if the procedures were carried out on a Friday or at the weekend respectively”.
This trend was found in both low risk and high-risk procedures. While the cause behind this trend is not completely clear, the poorer care available on weekends- fewer and less experienced staff as well as less access to equipment – may be responsible.
Fatal medication errors spike in July as new med residents start
The “July Effect” was discovered and published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in August 2010, by Dr. David P. Phillips, PhD. It shows that, in teaching hospitals, when new medical residents start working with patients, there is a higher prevalence of fatal medical errors.
This study examined all of the U.S. death certificates between 1979-2006, and focused on deaths caused by medical error.
The study found that in counties with teaching hospitals, there was a 10% increase in death by medical error during the month of July, and in no other month.
This is disturbing news, and it only adds to vast amount of risks associated with hospitals.
1 out of 20 patients get misdiagnosed
In his article “Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science”, Dr. Atul Gawande writes “Do we ever tell patients that because we are still new at something, their risks will be inevitably be higher, and the they’d likely do better with others who are more experienced? Given the stakes, who in their right mind would agree to be practiced upon?”
On top of this, according to a national survey in the September 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine, 95% of physicians reported varying methods on how they would treat identical patients.
The survey also showed that 42% of doctors admit their patients received too many pills, tests and procedures– often as a result of a fear of being sued for “not doing enough” to help the patient.
Shorter wait times at hospitals aren’t always better
You may often see billboards featuring hospitals advertising how short their wait time is. While this is done in part for the sake of competition, it is also done for the sake of the hospital’s bottom line.
This is partially a product of the performance based payment system in the Affordable Care Act, where payments can be based on patient satisfaction.
The short wait times may be more convenient for some, but it also causes people to be rushed through the hospital, which can put patients in danger.
This is another instance where medicine is putting profit before patients.
There are “all natural” solutions to nearly every medical condition
There truly are “natural” alternatives for most every medical condition. This might seem a bold claim to some, but the methods and mechanism behind “natural” health solutions often function in a different paradigm than their medical counterparts.
The chief difference being, those working the field of “natural” health are more focused on maintaining a patients overall health, and less focused on profits and red tape.
Seek out those in your area that are willing to treat you with all natural solutions, and you will start enjoying a healthier life!