I have been very concerned about what seems to be a renewed effort by the radiation industry to promote mammograms to women. Recall that in 2009 the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urged women to wait until age 50 to get a baseline mammogram screening, and then to update every two years after that. The reason for this update is that science just plain does not back up the routine use of mammograms as a means to prevent breast cancer death.
Now women are being asked to get a “new and improved” tomosynthesis mammogram, which is a 3D image of the breast. Keep in mind that the primary hazard of conventional 2D imaging is ionizing radiation. The journal Radiology reported in August of 2010 that annual screening using 2D mammography in women aged 40-80 years is associated with an induced cancer incidence and fatal breast cancer rate of 20-25 cases per 100,000. This means that annual 2D mammograms CAUSE 20-25 cases of fatal cancer for every 100,000women getting the test. And we know that 3D tomosynthesis results in at least twice as much radiation as a standard 2D mammogram. In addition, it is being advised by mainstream medicine that a 2D mammogram be done in conjunction with tomosynthesis.
On February 6, 2013 the Los Angeles Times reported that if all American women ages 66-89 received annual mammograms instead of biannual testing, there would be a staggering 3.86 million more false-positives and 1.15 million more biopsies. This carries a steep price for these women financially, emotionally, and physically.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported in November of 2012 (367:2012 and 368:2012) that from 1979 through 2008 there was an over diagnosis of breast cancer in women of 878,000 and in 2008 alone there was an over diagnosis of 34,000 due to the use of mammograms. And the Nordic Cochrane Center states that “only one out of 2,000 women screened regularly for 10 years will actually benefit from screening due to early detection of breast cancer. Meanwhile, 10 healthy women (out of those 2,000 screened for a decade) will be misdiagnosed, turned into cancer patients, and treated unnecessarily.”
So, just to recap: in order for mammographic breast screening to save even one woman’s life:
2,000 women must be screened for 10 years
200 women will get false positives
10 will receive surgery and/or chemotherapy and do not have cancer
And the statistics for “cancer survivor” identify those women who did not have cancer and who “survived” the treatment as “cancer survivors.” My feeling is that, if you didn’t even have cancer to begin with, it is disingenuous for the cancer industry to label you as a survivor!!
I would rather see women get a Thermogram since it is, in the opinion of many doctors and scientists, more accurate and is also done with no dangerous radiation. What a Thermogram does is measure the heat areas in the breast. Cancer is a “hot” inflammatory disease. Because of this, it is filled with cells which are warmer than the “normal” areas around the cancer. This shows up as a red area on the Thermogram. The trained Thermographer will note this and inform your doctor for follow-up. Because this heat shows up at the very beginning of a tumorous growth’s development this testing technique shows the cancer long before it gets large enough to show up on a mammogram. There is also no radiation at all in a Thermogram.
And how about prevention? Do the following at the very least:
Avoid sugar, including soft drinks (diet drinks are even worse). Cancer cells absolutely need sugar to exist and grow!
Optimize your Vitamin D (get sunshine on your unprotected skin for at least 30 minutes a day and take a quality supplement when you can’t). Get your blood tested a keep a level between 70 and 100 ng/ml.
Get your Vitamin A from organic egg yolks, raw butter and grass-fed meats.
Take a high-quality Omega-3 supplement like Krill or Fish Oil.
Massage your breasts daily (gets the lymph moving).
Avoid soy products.
Maintain a healthy weight because fat produces estrogen.
Avoid wearing underwire bras made of metal.
Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy. Always use bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
Avoid BPA, BPS, phthalates and other estrogen mimicking compounds.
Have your iodine tested.