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Cancer Surgery Statistics


World Without Cancer

by Edward G. Griffin


HOME - The Cancer Homepage

Let us take a look at the results and benefits of the so-called cures obtained through surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.



Surgery is the least harmful of the three. In some cases, it can be a life-saving, stop-gap measure—particularly where intestinal blockages must be relieved to prevent immediate death from secondary complications. Surgery also has the psychological advantage of visibly removing the tumor. From that point of view, it offers the temporary comfort and hope. However, the degree to which surgery is useful is the same degree to which the tumor is not malignant, The greater the proportion of cancer cells in that tumor, the less likely it is that surgery will help. The most highly malignant tumors of all generally are considered inoperable.

A further complication of surgery is the fact that cutting into the tumor—even for a biopsy—does two things that aggravate the condition. First, it causes physical trauma to the area. This triggers off the healing process which, in turn, brings more trophoblast cells into being as a by-product of that process. (See Chapter LV) The other effect is that, if not all the malignant tissue is removed, what remains tends to be encased in scar tissue from the surgery Scar tissue tends to act as a barrier between the cancer cell and the rest of the body. Consequently, the cancer tends to become insulated from the action of the pancreatic enzymes which, as we have seen, are so essential in exposing trophoblast cells to the surveillant action of the white blood cells.

Perhaps the greatest indictment of all against surgery is the gnawing suspicion among even many of the world’s top surgeons that, statistically, there is no solid evidence that patients who submit to surgery have any greater life expectancy on the average, than those who do not. This is an area which desperately needs intensive and unbiased study


Surgery Statistics

The first statistical analysis of this question was compiled in 1844 by Dr. Leroy d’Etoilles and published by the French Academy of Science. It is, to date, the most extensive study of its kind ever released. Over a period of thirty years, case histories of 2,781 patients were submitted by 174 physicians. The average survival after surgery was only one year and five months—not much different than the average today.

Dr. Leroy d’Etoilles separated his statistics according to whether the patient submitted to surgery or caustics, or refused such treatment. His findings were electric:

The net value of surgery or caustics was in prolonging life two months for men and six months for women. But that was only in the first few years after the initial diagnosis. After that period, those who had not accepted treatment had the greater survival potential by about fifty percent. (Walter H. Waishe, The Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology and Treatment of Cancer, (Boston: Ticknor & Co., 1844).)


Breast Surgery

1844 was a long time ago, but more recent surveys have produced nearly the same results. For example, it long has been accepted practice for patients with breast cancer to have not only the tumor removed but the entire breast and the lymph nodes as well. The procedure sometimes included removal of the ovaries also on the theory that cancer is stimulated by their hormones. Finally, in 1961, a large-scale controlled test was begun, called the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast Project. After seven-and-a-half years of statistical analysis, the results were conclusive:

There was no significant difference between the percentage of patients remaining alive who had received the smaller operation and those who had received the larger. (Ravdin, R.G.,, "Results of a Clinical Trial Concerning The Worth of Prophylactic Cophorectomy for Breast Carcinoma," Surgery, Gynecology & Obstetrics, 131:1055, Dec., 1970. Also see "Breast Cancer Excision Less with Selection," Medical Tribune, Oct. 6, 1971, p. 1.)

A similar study conducted between 1984 and 1990 at the University of California-Irvine College of Medicine produced the same conclusion: "All other factors being equal, there is no difference between BCS [breast-conserving surgery] and total mastectomy in either disease-free or overall survival. ("Treatment Differences and Other Prognostic Factors Related to Breast Cancer Survival: Delivery Systems and Medical Outcomes," by Anna Lee Feldstein, Hoda Anton-Culver, and Paul J. Feldstein, Journal of the American Medical Association, ISSN:0098-7484, April 20, 1994.)

Surgery Statistics from Hardin B. Jones, Ph.D.

One of the nation’s top statisticians in the field of cancer is Hardin B. Jones, Ph.D., former professor of medical physics and physiology at the University of California at Berkeley. After years of analyzing clinical records, this is the report he delivered at a convention of the American Cancer Society:

In regard to surgery, no relationship between intensity of surgical treatment and duration of survival has been found in verified malignancies. On the contrary, simple excision of cancers has produced essentially the same survival as radical excision and dissection of the lymphatic drainage. (Hardin B. Jones, Ph.D. "A Report on Cancer," paper delivered to the ACS’s 11th Annual Science Writers Conference, New Orleans, Mar. 7, 1969.)

That data, of course, related to surgery of the breast. Turning his attention to surgery in general, Dr. Jones continued:

Although there is a dearth of untreated cases for statistical comparison with the treated, it is surprising that the death risks of the two groups remain so similar. In the comparisons it has been assumed that the treated and untreated cases are independent of each other. In fact, that assumption is incorrect. Initially, all cases are untreated. With the passage of time, some receive treatment, and the likelihood of treatment increases with the length of time since origin of the disease. Thus, those cases in which the neoplastic process progresses slowly [and thus automatically favors a long-term survival] are more likely to become "treated" cases. For the same reason, however, those individuals are likely to enjoy longer survival, whether treated or not. Life tables truly representative of untreated cancer patients must be adjusted for the fact that the inherently longer-lived cases are more likely to be transferred to the "treated" category than to remain in the "untreated until death."

The apparent life expectancy of untreated cases of cancer after such adjustment in the table seems to be greater than that of the treated cases.

What, then, is the statistical chance for long-term survival of five years or more after surgery? That, we are told, depends on the location of the cancer, how fast it is growing, and whether it has spread to a secondary point. For example, two of the most common forms of cancer requiring surgery are of the breast and the lung. With breast cancer, only sixteen percent will respond favorably to surgery or X-ray therapy. With lung cancer, the percentage of patients who will survive five years after surgery is somewhere between five and ten percent.1 And these are optimistic figures when compared to survival expectations for some other types of cancers such as testicular chorionepitheliomas. ("Results of Treatment of Carcinoma of the Breast Based on Pathological Staging," by F.R.C. Johnstone, M.D., Surgery, Gynecology & Obstetrics, 134:211, 1972. Also "Consultant’s Comment," by George Crile, Jr., M.D., Calif Medical Digest, Aug., 1972, P. 839. Also "Project Aims at Better Lung Cancer Survival," Medical Tribune, Oct. 20, 1971. Also statement by Dr. Lewis A. Leone, Director of the Department of Oncology at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, as quoted in "Cancer Controls Still Unsuccessful," L.A. Herald Examiner, June 6, 1972, p. C-12.)

When we turn to cancers which have metastasized to secondary locations, the picture becomes virtually hopeless—surgery or no surgery As one cancer specialist summarized it bluntly:

A patient who has clinically detectable distant metastases when first seen has virtually a hopeless prognosis, as do patients who were apparently free of distant metastases at that time but who subsequently return with distant metastases. (Johnstone, "Results of Treatment of Carcinoma of the Breast," op. cit.)

An objective appraisal, therefore, is that the statistical rate of long-term survival after surgery is, on the average at best, only ten or fifteen percent. And once the cancer has metastasized to a second location, surgery has almost no survival value. The reason is that, like the other therapies approved by orthodox medicine, surgery removes only the tumor. It does not remove the cause.

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