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Six women, many small steps toward breast cancer breakthroughs

In 1971, President Nixon declared war — on cancer. That year he signed the National Cancer Act, which dramatically expanded the National Cancer Institute.

One way the war on cancer was fought back then was by setting up clinical trials to test new treatments. Forty years later, researchers and doctors still depend on these trials — and on patients willing to be a part of them.

So we want you to meet six women — three doctors and three patients. Each in her own way is taking the little steps day-in and day-out that can lead to breakthroughs. Their battlefield is breast cancer, but the treatments you’re about to see may help fight other forms of the disease as well. Need to Know’s medical correspondent Emily Senay reports.



  • Epiphany

    What has become of the discovery of Melatonin and its ability to block the uptake of high Linoleic Fats? In Science News Article in 2006 “Bright Lights, Big Cancer” the connection seemed indisputable. There has always been a correlation with the industrial revolution and breast cancer, but the article seemed to have found the smoking gun. (bright light inhibits the production of Melatonin. So does alcahol. So does high fat diets. Calcified pineal glands in older women also produce less Melatonin.) And then of course they found that women up near the artic circle sleep more and have less breast cancer. Supposedly, 200 scientist were going to meet in France to study the connection. What happened? Is this another case of bury the easy systemic fix and come up with another expensive drug to sell? Most are familiar with the 1968 study that exposed the fact that nurses that worked the night shift were more inclined to get breast cancer and now I find that hospitals are installing new bright blue lights to keep nurses awake. Blue light, of course, is more intense and suppresses Melatonin production even more. Are we tech smart and common sense stupid or are we just insistent on reshaping the natural world more to our liking?

  • Kfoxclark

    I wanted to see this story but the video didn’t work.

  • Epiphany

    Correction below: “So does high fat diets”
    High fat diets don’t suppress Melatonin production. Melatonin inhibits the uptake of fats by cancer cells. Bright light inhibits the production of Melatonin. Soooo get your rest.

  • theprogressivemama

    i didn’t watch the video because there is already a cure and prevention for cancer. it’s called Gerson Therapy. .

  • KathrynTerry

    Kathryn W.
    Chevy Chase, MD
    3/17/2009 ROTD 6/10/2009
    I am the product of NIH’s many successes. As a long term champion, 30 years survivor-ship or let’s call it thrivership, 5 cancers and several relapses, and bone marrow transplant, miracles happen here.
    How would you like to be treated by 12 of the best Oncologists in the world? What would you think of being afforded the privilege of being the 13 member of your own team of renowned specialist’s the brightest and the best. Meaning you get to cite research or contribute to the current protocol with insights, suggestions and contribute to humanity
    for free?
    How would you feel when they fly in a specialist from Italy, for a second opinion on your biopsy’s of a relapsed cancer? Well Friday March 20th 2009, I will be celebrating my 48th birthday. At 18 years old
    I was a goner, huge cancerous mass in my chest, cancer in my neck,
    and the lymph glands under both arms. I was dying. I had the cancers B symptoms night sweats,wieghtloss, itching,and finally a massive tumor around my heart crushing both lungs. I was wheezing, and could barely breath. Dr. Feller’s of Georgetown ( he was Nancy Regan’s doctor for breast cancer) refer ed me to NIH in 1979, because I had no health insurance. A rarity at the time.
    If I had had health insurance I would be dead. At the time they had no successful protocol for my cancer. I know God holds me in the palm of his hand.
    Every nurse, doctor, technician, specialist’s treats you better then your own family. A very ” Rogerian emotional hugs abound.”
    People work here because they want to improve the quality of life of every individual they can. 12 institutes address every malady of man.
    People do not work here for the money; they make about 1/2 to 1/3 of what they would make in the private sector. They work here for the mission. Because we are in a high COLA area; it really stands out that these people and their families staff, researcher’s and Doctor’s
    sacrifice time, money, and effort for the common good. Frequently the Doc’s and researchers are on call 24/7 but are paid for what is a pittance of the lowest pay for a doctor whom is working 40 hours not 60 to 80+ hours a week.
    Now that I have multiple certificates in Management, let me
    give you the 411 on administration as , the Doctor’s who come to work at NIH are called a” fellow “Doctor, you are your own secretary, transcriptions, project manager, job coach, full time student among other things.
    The sad thing about this ;in case studies; when mid management lost their Secretaries in the private sector, they lost something greater 70% of their productivity. Actually ,administration is bare bones skeletal; serving a 100,000 patients annually. Many top level executives know your only as good as your secretary or now administration assistant.
    It’s a left brain, right brain thing. That’s why most doctor’s have awful handwriting; all their strengths are in the analytical department, not the oddly labeled executive functioning area. Writing, typing, filing etc. It is akin to asking me to paint the Celestine chapel like Michael Angelo, or asking Michael Angelo to do manual labor. These researchers, Doctor’s have a Sisyphean task, where the man spends the day rolling a huge boulder up a mountain, to have it roll over him on the completion of his day.
    The trials gave me 30 more years and going. I am very honored to have participated.
    Its not a burden but a true chance to live, with treatments in non trials lagging 10 years behind the
    trails, and 20 years for full implementation. It is a gift and a blessing. The genome and targeted therapy’s provide better quality of life living.

  • Lisa Roy

    Every Girl every Women should be made aware of this Cancer,and their causes so,for avoiding it Their early Symptoms and causes should be known to them.

  • Kevin Parker

    I came up with an I dy that if you took cell sr around it with a shell.  Take brown reclues spider venom and put it in to the cell venom can cause significant tissue lost eatting the cell in the shell all gon. Yes it my and my not work what els do we have . It is time to make progeress in cancer .

  • Kevin Parker

    I came up with an I dy that if you took cell sr around it with a shell.  Take brown reclues spider venom and put it in to the cell venom can cause significant tissue lost eatting the cell in the shell all gon. 
    Yes it my and my not work what els do we have . It is time to make progeress in cancer .

  • Frank P. Joseph Jr.

    I think it’s a shame that no one can officially and openly follow up on the research and discoveries of Royal Raymond Rife. He clearly developed the absolute cure for cancer and most other viral diseases. He and T. Henry Moray both proved in their own “separate’” researches that the Electromagnetic Field (EMF) that surrounds our planet holds the answer to the non-evasive cure of most (possibly all) viral diseases without any medication or side effects. Moray found the energy to replace and make obsolete the need to burn fossil fuels by utilizing the virtually invisible and non-polluting energy source available in this same Electromagnetic field.
    Did you know that President Nixon put the “nix” on this research and had it all destroyed and suppressed in order to assure the financial investments of his friends in the oil industry. Professor Clause Lackner states it clearly on the PBS science program NOVA “ I believe it is impossible to stop burning fossil fuels”.  This is apparently true because of the financial repercussions it would have on our economy.  Is It also impossible to replace pharmaceutical medication with the natural non-evasive cures discovered in the energy and frequencies of the Electromagnetic field? After all, If we no longer needed the pharmaceutical and fossil fuel industries that are the two most profitable industries that drive our “world” economy then our economy would surely collapse. This should never have been an acceptable reason to slowly deplete and poison our world’s resources and allow millions of cancer patients to suffer long agonizing deaths. Let’s face it, the inevitable is now coming to past. Our economy is now on the verge of collapse, our world is becoming contaminated and our medical research is still capitalizing on its trial and error pharmaceutical approach to curing disease.
    Now, is obviously the time to go back 70 years and continue the progress that was being made toward the future we all imagined would be like in the new millennium… the end of disease, a clean environment with non-polluting methods of transportation & communication and prosperity derived from natural advanced, clean, healthy living. Greed led us off the track and in the wrong direction. We know where we went wrong and the sacrifices we will all have to make in order to get back on tract. But if we don’t decide to make the efforts now, then our world is surely doomed. Greed or humanity… the choice is ours, the time is now!

  • jaffa jefda


  • Anonymous

    cancer is a type of cancer originating from breast tissue, most
    commonly from the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply
    the ducts with milk. Cancers originating from ducts are known as ductal
    carcinomas, while those originating from lobules are known as lobular
    carcinomas. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    reported symptom complex of breast cancer is Paget’s disease of the
    breast. This syndrome presents as eczematoid skin changes such as
    redness and mild flaking of the nipple skin. As Paget’s advances,
    symptoms may include tingling, itching, increased sensitivity, burning,
    and pain. Thanks for sharing.Regards,

  • Frank Benjamin MD

    The Breast Cancer Chemotherapy

    Plaudits to PBS on laying out the facts re: all the
    unnecessary prostate and breast cancer surgery. “If it did not kill, it wasn’t
    cancer” (anonymous general surgeon, circa 1960). All those early breast cancers
    that were “caught” on screening mammograms did not change the overall death
    rate from breast cancer at all. Not one iota!

    Fact of the matter is that the breast cancer death rate per
    100,000 US women 1970 v. 2005, is essentially unchanged. Treatment in 1970 was
    surgery plus irradiation. And in 2005 it was surgery, irradiation, genetic screening,
    chemotherapy, immunotherapy, breast reconstruction, etc, etc. Parlaying yesterday’s
    $10,000 breast cancer treatment program to today’s $1,000,000 treatment
    program. With a dramatic increase in morbidity in addition to the out of
    control costs.

    Unfortunately, by far, the biggest scam in American medicine,
    prophylactic chemotherapy for almost all US breast cancer patients, was barely
    mentioned in your, otherwise, insightful program.

    Next time, do America’s women a huge favor, and expose
    routine prophylactic chemotherapy in “breast cancer” cases ….expose
    prophylactic chemotherapy for the fraud that it is!

    Frank Benjamin MD