The government is waffling about the need for women to have mammograms before age 50 or even how often this needs to happen.
Mammograms are dangerous. There is almost never a reason for a woman to have one.
The primary reason is that mammograms expose a women to a load of radiation equivalent to 1,000 chest X-rays. Since we know that radiation causes cancer, it stand to reason that the preventive test might actually cause the disease it is attempting to prevent. Over a period of years, that amount of radiation can certainly cause trouble.
In addition, the extreme breast compression that takes place during a mammogram might even rupture an existing tumor, spilling possible cancerous cells into the breast tissue and even spreading the cancer.
Doctors are fervent, even zealous about the idea that all women need annual mammograms form the time they are 40. Doctors cite “research” showing that early stage breast cancer detecting through mammogram screenings.
They say the mammograms will detect cancer that women cannot discern in their monthly breast self-exams.
But what doctors don’t tell you is that there is no evidence that screening for breast cancer with mammograms saves women’s lives. It is interesting to note that although mammography does lead to the discovery of smaller, earlier-stage cancerous tumors, that detection does not lead to improves breast cancer survival rates over tumors discovered by physical examination alone.
As far back as 2001, European experts who reviewed the health benefits of mammograms were unable to find any proof of their benefits. These finding undermined the initial study on which modern mammograms are justified.
The nation’s largest medical specialty group, the American College of Physicians, several years ago questioned the wisdom of mammograms, particularly for women between 40 and 50. The 120,000-member association that represents internists said the risks of mammography may outweigh its benefits.
Another study showed that a costly computerized system to help read mammograms is no better at finding cancer than traditional mammography. The new system used in 30% of all mammography centers resulted in many more false alarms, leading to additional mammograms and ultrasounds additional exposure to radiation and additional cost. Insurance companies have been urged to reconsider whether the systems are worth covering.
Finally, the National Cancer Institute admits that monthly breast self-examinations (BSEs) following a brief training, in conjunction with annual clinical breast examinations (CBEs) by a trained health care professional, are at least as effective as mammography.
Want more evidence? An article published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute nearly nine years ago said that the more mammograms a woman has had, the greater the chance she will get a result known in medical terms as a “false positive.” That means that the radiologist who reads the mammogram sees a suspicious change in the breast tissue.
False positives, which ultimately turn out to be benign or non-cancerous, usually end up with a woman having further testing, including biopsies and even needless lumpectomies and mastectomies.
The study of patients at Harvard hospitals in 2000 reported that if a woman has had 10 mammograms, there is a 50 percent chance she will get a false positive. Worse yet, women with high risk factors for breast cancer had a 100 percent false positive rate. That means every single one had at least one breast cancer scare that turned out to be baseless.
The American Cancer Society guidelines recommend all women over age 40 have a screening mammogram every year, so by the time a woman reaches age 50, she would have had nine mammograms and quite likely at least one false positive.
Mammograms are highly detrimental to your body, mind and spirit. Avoid them at all costs.
Fortunately thermograms offer a safe and effective alternative to mammograms that few of know about, let alone our doctors.