A report published in the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine alerted the public of a potentially alarming statistic regarding mammograms and breast cancer. In a Norwegian study where women received a mammogram every two years instead of every six years, “invasive breast cancer was 22% higher in the group regularly screened with mammography, compared to controls.” [i]
Those who support mammography would suggest the incidence of detected breast cancer increases because of the effectiveness of screening. However, is it possible that x-rays and/or the sometimes torturous compression of breasts during mammography actually cause a greater incidence of cancer?
The answer is that we cannot tell for sure whether either suggestion is correct. However, as the study scientists mentioned, “This raises the possibility that the natural course of some screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to be spontaneously regress …Although many clinicians may be skeptical of the idea, the excess incidence associated with repeated mammography demands that spontaneous regression be considered carefully.” [ii]
The Body’s Innate Intelligence
Spontaneous regression? Is this the same thing as saying, “the body healed itself”? Your chiropractor would call this the power of innate intelligence – the body’s innate ability to heal itself using its own natural wisdom.
The findings of the above study seem to support the fundamental belief of innate intelligence. Instead of fighting the illness once it resides in the body, chiropractors suggest taking a more proactive approach to health and healing by boosting the body’s natural ability to rid itself of disease, before the person becomes afflicted with disability and pain.
Chiropractors do not suggest that breast cancer be ignored or untreated. After all, breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among North American women. Nor does your chiropractor suggest that mammography is a bad idea. Early detection and treatment of serious diseases like cancer improves your chances for recovery. But chiropractors do suggest giving the body every chance to heal naturally.
Chiropractic & the Immune System
In a recent review of the relevant literature, the author found strong evidence of the relationship between chiropractic care and the body’s natural immunity to illness and disease. [iii] In one study, researchers found that individuals receiving regular chiropractic care had a 2-fold increase in an important enzyme used to measure immune system competence, compared to a similar group of healthy individuals that did not receive chiropractic adjustments. In addition, the chiropractic patients had a 4-fold increase in the same enzyme compared to seriously ill individuals. In the same study, immunologists found that persons under regular chiropractic care also maintained an unusually high level of immune competence as they aged, compared to a normal group of healthy individuals.
In another study, researchers measured the CD4 counts (a measure of immune system function) in HIV – infected subjects, before and after a series of chiropractic treatments. Using an independent medical team to analyze the results, researchers found that those HIV – positive patients under regular chiropractic care achieved a 48% increase in CD4 count after six months of care. [iv] This is impressive considering the effect that HIV has on an infected person.
The immune system is the body’s natural defense against illness. When it’s working properly, a person has the best chance to avoid disease. An immune system depends upon a properly working nervous system. Chiropractic adjustments improve the function of this system by removing nerve interference. The positive effects of the chiropractic adjustment have been well-documented.
[i] Arch Intern Med. 2008; 168:2302-2303
[ii] Arch Intern Med. 2008; 168:2302-2303
[iii] Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, Sept. 30, 2008
[iv] Chiro Res J 1994 3(1):32-39