Our cover story this month reveals the astonishing fact that the most frequently diagnosed type of breast cancer is not cancer at all, but a 'something' that has gone slightly awry, but which, in the long term, is likely to sort itself out.
This represents fantastically good news for all women (and not just those who may have been needlessly treated for breast cancer). For one thing, it means that what we think of as the most deadly of lady killers is not anywhere near as epidemic as we think. We have imagined ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), in the main, to be a herald of breast cancer, much as we imagine that abnormal smear tests are an early-warning sign of cervical cancer. But DCIS may well turn out to be a harmless aberration that, like abnormal smear tests, in the majority of cases doesn't progress to cancer. Indeed, women with DCIS might never become aware of it if medicine didn't insist on a blunderbuss means of screening for cancer. Insisting on surgery for DCIS is as barbaric as performing a hysterectomy on a woman with a dodgy Pap smear, a common practice a generation ago.
This leaves us with a provocative question. If cancer doesn't proceed in a tidy straight line - from precancer to the full-blown real thing - then what exactly is cancer?
Dr Waltraut Fryda is a 76-year-old German doctor who regularly and successfully treats cancer patients. She has made an extraordinary discovery.
Although it is commonly assumed that too much adrenaline (epinephrine) leads to cancer, she also finds that the reverse is true. People with cancer possess virtually no adrenaline in their cells. Instead, as Fryda has discovered, the cells of cancer victims are overloaded with insulin and too much sugar.
When bombarded by stress, which requires a constant pumping out of adrenaline, the body ultimately becomes exhausted and is unable to process adrenaline. This causes the cells to fill up with sugar which, in turn, results in two outcomes: fermentation, and very rapid cell division. These two processes are virtually descriptive of cancer, an anaerobic (without oxygen) process that relies on fermentation, not oxidation.
Another factor is a diet laden with high-sugar foods.
Her treatment is remarkably simple: a very good diet, the injection of some living cells to stimulate the immune system and an absolute ban on stress of any variety, so that the amount of adrenaline in the body can return to former levels.
Fryda's theory has stunning implications not only regarding the role of stress in the onset of cancer, but also the part played by a high glycaemic, processed diet. The high GI diet is turning out to be the major culprit in much modern-day degenerative illness. As French doctor Michel Montignac found, a diet laden with foods that transform quickly into sugar overwhelms the body with insulin, and leads to diabetes, heart problems and all manner of other degenerative disease. Removing high glycaemic-index foods from the diet often normalises cholesterol levels.
Having cancer is to be overwhelmed by 21st-century convenience: processed products and easy-livin' chemicals, supposedly to 'enhance' our food, to quicken the pace of our lives.
If Fryda is correct, it means that the answer to cancer isn't a giant secret, nor is cancer a virtually invincible intruder which can only be vanquished by the most heroic and disfiguring of measures. Getting better may be simply a matter of removing the deadly byproducts of modern-day conveniences: detoxing from the terrible chemicals that surround you, cleaning up your diet and removing the central stresses on your body.
Cancer is a battle you need never fear - a battle that all of us could win.