INVASIVE MEDICAL TESTS AND NON-INVASIVE MEDICAL TESTS
It might seem like a platitude, but when we feel perfectly fine, with no symptom of illness, we don’t need to go to the doctor or undergo any diagnostic tests just “to see how I am doing”.
Submitting to a medical examination must be justified. The decision to undergo any diagnostic test is our sole responsibility.
Invasive tests and non-invasive tests. It is commonly considered that there are two main types of diagnostic tests: invasive and non-invasive.
Invasive tests involve penetration of the body by a device or needle. Invasive tests can often lead to complications and cause physical damage, in addition to the psychological damage they might cause.
In contrast, “non-invasive” tests are supposed to involve no physical penetration of any type of device into the body.
There are not really non-invasive tests. It is mistakenly thought that “non-invasive tests” (without physical penetration of the body) do not cause any complication or damage. However, it is my opinion that there are no such things as “non-invasive” tests, every test is invasive, implying an “invasion” of the body, physical, mental, or both.
So-called “non-invasive” tests can actually cause more serious damage than invasive ones.
Even though the affectation of a medical test might “only” be psychological, in the form of worry, anxiety, or emotional and mental stress, the test must be considered as a full-fledged invasive test.
Some high-tech tests are thought to be non-invasive, such as electro and echocardiogram, radiography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance and blood pressure measurement, among others. All these tests produce greater or lesser stress or concern to the majority of people.
Blood pressure. The simple measurement of blood pressure triggers in some patients such a state of anxiety that it causes an instantaneous rise in blood pressure. Such patients require to wear a 24-hour blood pressure measurement device, a Holter monitor.
Magnetic resonance. The supposedly “non-invasive”, pain free, magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI), in which the body is introduced into a tube, causes such stress and anxiety in some people that it makes it impossible for them to undergo the test at all. Some people, not previously suffering from claustrophobia, may develop the condition following an MRI test and remain with it for life.
We must bear in mind that the cure of an illness depends largely on our emotional and mental attitude towards it.
That said, we have to admit that there may be moments where it may be wholly justified to undergo certain diagnostic tests, whether or not they are invasive.
WHEN TOO SEE THE DOCTOR
As for when we should go to visit your doctor or therapist, we should ask ourselves the following question: how serious should the symptoms of an illness be to justify going to the doctor?
I think, along with many others, even doctors that we should only go to our trusted doctor or therapist if the symptoms of the condition manifest themselves as really bothersome. It is not justified to go to the doctor for a minor ailment, such as a common cold.
Diagnosis, the sooner the better? As for the slogan “diagnosis, the sooner the better” (for an “early diagnosis”), this is a misconception that has long since been questioned by medical research.
The idea of obtaining an “early diagnosis” causes us to undergo unnecessary and harmful medical tests, such as periodic medical check-ups, without any justification and without having any symptoms of illness. Such a general attitude often provokes “overtreatment”, as we will see.
DIAGNOSIS, PROGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
The diagnosis simply designates with a name the disease that our doctor thinks we have. Sometimes we mistakenly understand, because we are led to understand it so, that the prognosis (prediction) of a diagnosis (our actual state of health), is our diagnosis. It often may seem that we are being given a diagnosis when in fact we are receiving a “diagnosis-prognosis”, which can scare us in advance and without actual cause.
Prognosis anticipates what our doctor thinks will be the evolution of the diagnosed disease. The doctor should explain to the patient that he is making two very different pronouncements: a diagnosis –current state of our organism-; and a prognosis, – possible evolution of our condition. A prognosis will be good or bad depending on what the evolution of the disease is predicted to be, positive or negative.
Be careful with what the prognosis prognosticates! The prognosis predicts a future condition which has not yet materialized, nor does it have to be materialized. If our health was good prior to the prognosis, our health will continue to be just as good, for the moment, regardless of the prognosis, no matter how bad the prognosis might be.
Treatment. The first dilemma that arises after being informed of a diagnosis-prognosis is what general treatment to follow, conventional or alternative? It may seem surprising, but many diseases heal spontaneously, without any treatment.
Our natural defenses do not rest for a moment, they are continuously defending us, without us often realizing it, against all kinds of internal threats, such as tumors and cancers, as well as external attacks by all kinds of microorganisms such as viruses. or bacteria.
Therefore, an excellent and positive option that we have, before the very first symptoms of any disease, no matter how serious it may seem, is to think: “Calm down! Observe and see”. We should not rush to apply any treatment immediately after a diagnosis.
Decision on the treatment to follow. The final decision regarding possible treatment should be ours and ours alone. The doctor is our, as it were, “tax advisor”, the responsibility for our “income statement” lies with us, not our advisor’s. We cannot put our lives solely in the hands of our doctor, no matter how competent she/he might be. The one who endangers his life is us, not the doctor,
THEREFORE TIME TO BE WISE AND INFORMED.
If among all the range of therapies that are offered to us, both conventional and alternative, you choose Urine Therapy, which I have experienced myself and which I am expounding here throughout this blog: congratulations, unbeatable choice!!!
You have decided to bear full responsibility for your own state of health by putting your health and your life in your own hands. You have decided to bring the healing process under your own full control.
The good news, everything is good news with Urine Therapy, is that the diagnosis we may have (or may not have yet) of our disease makes no matter, it does not play any role in Urine Therapy. Urine Therapy is applied equally to all diseases.
Indeed, Urine Therapy or Urine Fast (which is the same) was conceived, developed and applied by its founder, John William Armstrong (The Water of Life, 1944), as a therapy for health and not only for disease. Urine Therapy is applicable, according to Armstrong, to all diseases regardless of diagnosis.
OVERDIAGNOSIS AND OVERTREATMENT
If you feel in good health, without the slightest symptom of illness or discomfort, a golden rule should be to avoid submitting yourself to any type of medical examination or tests.
However, there might be circumstances and situations where submitting to some diagnostic test might be appropriate, even without suffering from any disease.
In any case, slight symptoms due to minor ailments, such as a common a cold in no way justify submitting to any diagnostic test.
Inadequate communication to a patient of a serious or terminal diagnosis can overwhelm patients so much as to make them fall into a deep depression, adding pain to pain, greatly hindering the eventual cure of the disease.
Does it benefit or harm a person being diagnosed with a “latent disease” of which he was not aware of and which did not cause the slightest symptom or discomfort?
It may seem surprising, but in the vast majority of cases the diagnosis of a disease, which does not show any symptoms, does more harm than good, it can even lead to the death of a perfectly healthy person due to overdiagnosis and consequent overtreatment, as we will extensively see below
Let’s unravel the mystery a bit and anticipate a couple of themes which we will explain in more depth below.
First theme: over time it has been known, according to conventional medical studies, that there are tumors (and diseases) that either do not evolve or do so, so slowly that they will not present symptoms of disease, discomfort or any inconvenience throughout the life of the person
Autopsies reveal that many people often die of natural causes, old age, or any other cause except for a tumor never detected in the patient’s life, and never showing any symptoms or discomfort.
Second theme. As for the benefits of so-called “early diagnosis”, promoted by the slogan “the sooner the better”, such practice has often led people in perfect good health to undergo unnecessary and unjustified periodical medical examinations often highly harmful.
HOW NOT TO COMMUNICATE A DIAGNOSIS-PROGNOSIS, CASE STUDY
In my own case, as I have just said, the cancer that I had been diagnosed with never led to any symptom of illness or discomfort, despite a very poor prognosis pronouncement when I did not agree to follow any of the medical treatments that had been proposed to me in the clinic.
Indeed, in a periodic review of my cancer, diagnosed a year earlier as “advanced prostate cancer with lymph node metastases”, a blood test showed a relatively high PSA.
In view of the analysis, the urologist told me that since I had refused to undergo any of the 2 treatment therapies repeatedly offered to me: radiotherapy with hormone therapy (2 years of treatment) or radical surgery; the tumor, according to the PSA, showed clear signs of worsening.
When I asked the doctor, what explanation did he have for the fact that I felt perfectly fine, better than ever in my life, despite my 76 years, without any discomfort or sign of illness and practicing mountain climbing at top level requirement?
The doctor answered me laconically: “it’s mental.”
Then, incredible as it may seem, the doctor asked me, in a cryptic tone, the following question: “Are you a believer?”
I thought I understood exactly where the question was leading to, but I preferred not to notice, and answered calmly:
“No. I am not a believer, but I have a great respect for all religions and beliefs.”
Then the doctor, continuing with his cryptic tone, told me something that completely clarified the meaning of the question he had just asked:
“Prepare the family”.
That’s where the conversation was finished. I said goodbye to the doctor, avoiding to ask him for more clarifications, since I neither needed them nor was I minimally concerned about my health. It was very clear what the doctor wanted to convey to me.
This may well be a paradigmatic case where we see how a doctor can fail in the most elementary professional ethics or common sense, as to how to adequately communicate to a patient or their family environment, a prognosis of “serious or terminal” illness, without the due respect, care and preparation of the patient.
At certain times or situations, we may feel pushed by our doctor (or by our own initiative) to undergo a whole series of diagnostic tests, which may lead to overdiagnosis and what is worse, to overtreatment.
With this I do not mean that diagnostic tests cannot be advised. What I mean is that every diagnostic test, justified or not, always and without exception entail risks, risks that we must know and assume.
Not in vain there is a medical term whose cultured Greek etymology hides for most mortals what it really means: iatrogenesis.
“Iatrogenic diseases”, diseases generated by the doctor or their treatment. From “iatros” doctor and “genesis”, to engender.
“Primum non nocere”, first do no harm. Warning addressed to doctors by the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, when he said about 2500 years ago that the doctor’s first duty was not to harm the patient.
Hippocrates further considered the physician’s task to be rather modest: “the physician treats, nature cures.”
False positives. With the early diagnosis of a disease, when there are no symptoms yet, the aim is to detect the disease in its early stages, when it is assumed that its treatment will be easier and more effective. However, early diagnosis has led to many false positives, with serious subsequent iatrogenic consequences.
Every medical test, justified or not, implies risk. Random screening of entire populations to detect asymptomatic cases of diseases has given rise to multiple “over-diagnoses” and, as a consequence, and what is worse, to “overtreatment” with serious subsequent consequences and even death for those unnecessarily diagnosed.
STUDY CASES OF OVERDIAGNOSIS AND OVERTREATMENT
The term overdiagnosis refers to the excessive detection of illness, often minor ailments, such as the detection of certain types of tumors which have subsequently been known to have no or slow development, but whose follow-up work will often lead to unnecessary and harmful treatment.
The error is in the prognosis, because even it is favorable, doctors (and patients!) may insist on the need to continuing with follow-up tests, tests that not only will not provide any benefit to the patient, but what is worse, only implying that patients will receive “overtreatment”, which can even result in death.
Breast cancer and breast excision. Among the best studied cases of overtreatment we have that of radical breast excision, following the detection of a small breast tumor.
Prostate cancer and the PSA marker. As refers to the prostate, we have the case of men that need to receive a massive antibiotic treatment for an infection following a prostate biopsy!
A prostate biopsy is recommended for men with a PSA level of 3 and lower! PSA, however is a highly unreliable marker for cancer giving rise to many false positives.
When speaking of overdiagnosis and consequent possible overtreatments, I would like to introduce a new concept and term in medical literature, that of “provoked diagnosis”.
A “provoked diagnosis” would refer to a diagnosis obtained by people in good health which on their own initiative and without any medical advice, undergo medical tests with a view to obtaining a diagnosis for their own use and information, without real cause that justifies it, and often without the skills or training to understand or interpret the results.
In short, over-diagnosis can affect virtually all diseases, often leading to overtreatment.
Let’s not auto-define ourselves as sick people. Reiterate that any diagnostic test, no matter how “non-invasive” and safe it may be claimed to be and no matter how positive or mild their results, must be considered an invasive test, carrying with it unforeseen dangers. In the best case scenario, submitting to any type of medical test is going to affect our state of mind, in addition to auto-defining ourselves as sick people or patients
Cancer over-diagnosis is the detection of asymptomatic cancers, cancers that are not growing or are growing so slowly that they will not cause any problems throughout a person’s lifetime. It is not uncommon for some tumors to even go away on their own without treatment.
New tumors as a result of radiotherapy. Asymptomatic tumors are a frequent cause of overtreatment, which means unnecessary treatments including radical surgery, undesirable side effects of chemotherapy, and even the appearance of new cancers as a consequence of radiation and chemotherapy.
Unforseen outcomes. Diagnoses and treatments, even being perfectly correct and justified, can nevertheless cause new pathologies, in no way attributable to malpractice, one can only regret such outcomes.
Overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer. Analysis of more than 35 years of the SEER registry (Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results) concludes that many of the breast cancers detected would never have caused disease or even symptoms.
New England Journal of Medicine, Oct 13, 2016. “Breast overdiagnosis means that there have been healthy women who have received unnecessary diagnoses of breast cancer, which in turn led them to “overtreatment with surgery, radiotherapy and sometimes chemotherapy, with serious consequences for these women being unnecessarily subjected to radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery, some of them mutilating. Many small breast cancers have an excellent prognosis because they are slow growing.”
Overdiagnosis of prostate cancer. The well-known Mayo Clinic, like many international medical organizations, recommends that doctors not induce “healthy men”, that is, men without symptoms of disease, to be screened for prostate cancer.
PSA DETERMINATION: A SANITARY CATASTROPHE
“The popularization of the PSA test gave rise to a phenomenon of overdiagnosis that constituted the greatest health catastrophe in public health to date”. (Sobrediagnóstico: La determinación de PSA para cáncer de próstata. Journal of Negative and No Positive Results,Agosto de 2019)
Between the 1980s and 1990s, what seemed like an increase in death rates from prostate cancer was observed.
Later studies revealed a misclassification of the true causes of death of patients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The incredible error made was that prostate cancer diagnosis had been equated with death from prostate cancer. However, years later It was found that many patients who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer had died from other causes but not from prostate cancer.
When tumors should not undergo treatment. How to approach prostate cancer? Physicians should inform patients that most prostate cancers are so slow or non progressive that they should not undergo any type of treatment.
The PSA test should be abolished. In the words of the discoverer of PSA (Ablin in 1970) “the PSA test is no more reliable than flipping a coin, so it should be abolished. It only continues to be maintained by economic interests.”.
High PSA levels may correlate with cancers that will not progress, while low PSA levels may hide lethal cancers.
Dangerous biopsies and false positives. The detection of prostate tumors by PSA generates over diagnosis due to false positives, with little chance of reducing mortality. Instead, many previously healthy men will be, and still are, seriously damaged by invasive and dangerous tests such as prostate biopsies.
From the age of 70, any type of prostate cancer screening is strongly discouraged, since the potential risks are great, with very few possible benefits.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
When my prostate cancer was detected in a Madrid clinic, considering how advanced the tumor was, I was offered two aggressive treatment alternatives: a radical excision of the prostate and adjacent lymph nodes or radiotherapy with chemotherapy of over a 2 year period.
Never in my life had I subjected my body to any type of conventional or even alternative medicine treatment. I have always trusted in the wisdom of the organism. Therefore, at no time did it cross my mind to undergo any treatment. But I have to thank the urologist and oncologist for informing me in detail (as was their duty) about the possible secondary effects of the radiotherapy “curative treatment” offered:
1.- Unavoidable colon bleeding, since irradiating the prostate could not be performed without irradiating the colon at the same time; 2.- Possible development of heart disease, due to radiotherapy; 3.- Depression and fatigue due to lowering of defenses; 4.- Constipation; 5.- Urinary incontinence… …among other side effects.
Let us note that recommending aggressive cancer treatment to elderly people is considered by conventional medicine itself to be a serious medical error. I was 73 years old when they offered me the treatment.
Offering me such an aggressive treatments was all the more absurd considering that I was in perfect good health, not showing any symptoms of illness whatsoever.
Acceptance of such a treatment would have suddenly turned me into a really and truly sick person, and that as result of treatment, not from the tumor!
Right now, as I write this, early on the morning of April 20, 2022, I am turning a beautiful 76 years old. Never in my life have I felt better both physically and mentally.
I currently live in Arenas de San Pedro, at the heart of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, which allows me to practice my favorite activity almost on a daily basis and at highest level of demand: going up and down mountains, alone or accompanied.
From my window, my wife and I take pleasure in the contemplation of the glittering snow-capped mountains , mountains presided over by the highest one, La Mira, the Queen, with its nearly 2,500 meters of altitude. La Mira presides over multitude of towns, villages and valleys in the region.
Many thanks to all of you for your attention and support!