That mammograms are still recommended at all speaks volumes about the state of modern medicine.Decades ago in 1974, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was warned by professor Malcolm C. Pike at the University of Southern California School of Medicine that a number of specialists had concluded "giving a women under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical."
Why is Routine Mammography “Unethical”?
For starters mammograms expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray, which poses risks of cancer. Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, and often painfully, which could lead to a lethal spread of cancerous cells, should they exist.Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the top cancer experts, stated:“The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade's screening.”Dr. Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, has been speaking out about the risks of mammography since at least 1992. As for how these misguided mammography guidelines came about, Epstein says:“They were conscious, chosen, politically expedient acts by a small group of people for the sake of their own power, prestige and financial gain, resulting in suffering and death for millions of women. They fit the classification of "crimes against humanity."”Not surprisingly, as often happens when anyone dares speak out against those in power, both the American Cancer Society and NCI called Dr. Epstein’s findings “unethical and invalid.”But this didn’t stop others from speaking out as well.
- In July 1995, The Lancet again wrote about mammograms, saying "The benefit is marginal, the harm caused is substantial, and the costs incurred are enormous ..."
- Dr. Charles B. Simone, a former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, said, "Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth.”
- "The high sensitivity of the breast, especially in young women, to radiation-induced cancer was known by 1970. Nevertheless, the establishment then screened some 300,000 women with Xray dosages so high as to increase breast cancer risk by up to 20 percent in women aged 40 to 50 who were mammogramed annually,” wrote Dr. Epstein.
Mammograms Often Give False Positives
Aside from the radiation risks, mammograms carry a first-time false positive rate of up to 6 percent. False positives can lead to expensive repeat screenings and can sometimes result in unnecessary invasive procedures including biopsies and surgeries.Just thinking you may have breast cancer, when you really do not, focuses your mind on fear and disease, and is actually enough totrigger an illness in your body. So a false positive on a mammogram, or an unnecessary biopsy, can really be damaging.Not to mention that women have unnecessarily undergone mastectomies, radiation and chemotherapy after receiving false positives on a mammogram.
What about Breast Self-Exams?
The revised U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations also discourage doctors from teaching breast self-examination (BSE).BSEs have long been recommended as a simple way for women to keep track of anything unusual in their breasts. However, studies have found that such exams do not reduce breast cancer death rates, and actually increase the rate of unnecessary biopsies.So the problem with breast self-exams is that it typically forces women into a conventional, and potentially dangerous, diagnostic model, as if you do find something unusual, you will typically be brought in for a mammogram.
A Safer Breast Screening Option
Top Breast Cancer Prevention TipsMost physicians continue to recommend mammograms for fear of being sued by a woman who develops breast cancer after he did not advise her to get one. But I encourage you to think for yourself and consider safer, more effective alternatives to mammograms.The option for breast screening that I most highly recommend is called thermographic breast screening.Thermographic screening is brilliantly simple. It measures the radiation of infrared heat from your body and translates this information into anatomical images. Your normal blood circulation is under the control of your autonomic nervous system, which governs your body functions.Thermography uses no mechanical pressure or ionizing radiation, and can detect signs of breast cancer as much as 10 years earlier than either mammography or a physical exam!Whereas mammography cannot detect a tumor until after it has been growing for years and reaches a certain size, thermography is able to detect the possibility of breast cancer much earlier.It can even detect the potential for cancer before any tumors have formed because it can image the early stages of angiogenesis -- the formation of a direct supply of blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before they can grow into tumors of size.More men’s lives could also be spared from the disease as mammography is not frequently used on men, which leads to most men with breast cancer being diagnosed at a very late stage
Women have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer during their lifetime. In fact, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women -- except for skin cancers -- and the second leading cause of cancer death in women, exceeded only by lung cancer.The American Cancer Society estimates that over 192,000 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in women in 2009, and over 40,000 will die from it.While screening tools can help you to detect breast cancer, they obviously do nothing to help prevent the disease, and this latter strategy is the best one for avoiding cancer.Researchers estimate that about 40 percent of U.S. breast cancer cases, or about 70,000 cases every year, could be prevented by making lifestyle changes.A healthy diet, physical exercise, optimized vitamin D levels and an effective way to manage your emotional health are the cornerstones of just about any cancer prevention program.It’s also important to make sure you’re getting sufficient amounts of animal-based omega-3 fats such as krill oil.Two studies from 2002 offer explanations for how omega-3 fats can protect against breast cancer. BRCA1 (breast cancer gene 1) and BRCA2 (breast cancer gene 2) are two tumor suppressor genes that, when functioning normally, help repair DNA damage (a process that also prevents tumor development).Earlier research had discovered that women who carry mutated versions of these two genes are at higher risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancer than women who do not have these genetic mutations. Currently, women with BRCA1 mutations account for about 5 percent of all breast cancer cases. Omega-3 and omega-6 fats have been found to influence these two genes.Omega-3 fats tend to reduce cancer cell growth while highly processed and toxic omega-6 fats have been found to cause cancer growth.Three additional steps that can lower your breast cancer risk as well include:
- Not drinking alcohol, or limiting your drinks to one a day for women
- Breastfeeding exclusively for up to six months
- Watching out for excessive iron levels. This is actually very common once women stop menstruating. The extra iron actually works as a powerful oxidant, increasing free radicals and raising your risk of cancer.All you need to do is measure your ferritin level and if it is above 80, donate blood, which will reduce the amount of iron that you have and thereby lower your cancer risk.
Posted On Dec 05, 2009
I work in the Alternative healthfield. We recently obtained a "Breast Light" and have discovered that it works very well in detecting masses in the breast. However, the Breast Light is only available in Canada on this side of the pond. It was developed in the UK and is sold in pharmacies in Europe and Canada. Too bad it is not available here in the US. It enables a woman to do a self exam o a higher degree than just a manual exam. We use EDS (Electrodermal Screening) in our office and it does have the ability to detect out of balance conditions in breast tissue as well as the rest of the body. Dr Mercola has written about EDS before so you can look up that article in the archives. It does work despite what some web sites tout. With the EDS dis-ease can be found many times before allopathic medicine finds them. Look up the "Breast Light" on Google. I think you too, will wonder why it is not available in the US.
Posted On Dec 06, 2009
I read these testimonies like the mom with an organic lifestyle whose 30 year old just got "diagnosed" and it breaks my heart, truly. I've lost family members to disease and it stinks. We have found the answers now though and it started with the hard truth.
When would any screening test discover cancer? They discover it after it has been developing for years. Depending on the research you find, breast cancer will be growing the better part of a decade before you can detect it by any means. Detecting and removing a "mass" does nothing for the process of cancer unfortunately.
The TRUTH of cancer is that it exists in ALL OF US. I have cancer cells in me. So do you. So do the little babies being born right now. Look this up if you doubt that. The GREAT news and I do mean GREAT is that you have the ability to get rid of cancer cells via your IMMUNE SYSTEM. When a cell is oxidized or turns into a free radical your BRAIN recognizes this as something that is bad and it needs to be removed. Your nerve system goes to work with your immune cells and organs and works to remove the damaged cell(s) from your body. This process is ongoing in all of us. I pulled off a great power point from the National Cancer Institute that outlines this process.
When a "cancerous" cell is not removed quickly it will replicate similar to the way a healthy cell does. If your NERVOUS system and or IMMUNE system are not functioning at 100%, you will not remove cancer cells efficiently. Thus, the cancer is allowed to grow. This my brothers and sisters is a PRINCIPLE. Whether or not you agree with me, the truth is the truth. Get your nerve and immune systems in order if you want to live.
What most people miss is their nerve system. If the nerves to your chest area are blocked, do you think it would make that area weaker and more susceptible? Nutrition/exercise/toxins are important...but none of them come close to the power that animates your entire body.
Posted On Dec 05, 2009
While this information about thermography is promising, for those who do not have access to it I would be hesitant to advise not to have mamograms...two friends this year, both in their early 40's are dealing with breast cancer and I would hate to think how their situations might be worse if they did not detect a problem early through their mamograms. Having said that, people come to taking care of their bodies in different ways and in different times in their lives. For those of us who are aware of the benefits of eating correctly we can feel more confident that our bodies are able to live in a state of health, however, for those who are not there yet, these exams can still be beneficial if it helps to uncover problems. And we can hope and pray that if and when they are detected, the patients have a yearning to find ways to live with healthier lifestyles....
Posted On Dec 07, 2009
"A new system of taking X-rays, called digital radiography, reduces radiation by as much as 80 percent." Unfortunately most offices do not yet have this equipment as it is expensive and fairly new.
Posted On Mar 27, 2010
Here's the flip-side - I am one example of when they work. Age 42 - This year, no lump, nothing I could feel the DIGITAL Mammogram showed an area of clacifications which were "moderately suspicious" - Ultrasound couldn't see them, but a biopsy was obtained. CANCER. Not just cancer but aggressive HER2+ cancer. While the old mammograms may not have been reliable, I'm sorry, the digital ones sure as business were for me... and while I usually agree with Dr. Mercola's assessment, I'm going to stand against this one... because if I'd waited until 50 or abstained completely because of the potential of a false positive, I would have likely died before 50. Better to be worried about a false positive than to be dead...
Posted On Dec 05, 2009
Typically I am in agreement with Dr. Mercola's views. But not this time. I don't think male practitioners can truly understand that the words "breast cancer" carry an enormous amount of fear for women. Telling us to simply forgo the only routinely available screening test, flawed as it is, and simply "change our lifestyle" to "avoid" breast cancer is infuriating.
My 30-year-old daughter has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She has never been immunized, has never smoked, drank alcohol, or done illegal drugs. We have rarely used allopathic practitioners, favoring alternative healing since before she was born. She is slim, very physically fit, and eats a healthy diet -- not perfect, of course, but I would say much better than the vast majority of the population. She's a sun-worshipper and, at least during the majority of the year, is outdoors a great deal of the time. None of her aunts, grandmothers, nor her mother have ever had breast cancer. We were eating organic long before it was "in." This is NOT someone who "should" have gotten breast cancer.
What we have learned so far as we begin this painful journey is that our environment, our world is LOADED with toxic carcinogens, and NONE of us can avoid them. Babies are now routinely born with estrogenic carcinogens in their cord blood. Electromagnetic waves surround us nearly everywhere we go. Our air is polluted. Carcinogenic substances are found in our canned goods. On and on it goes -- so much that at times it seems to me a miracle that we ALL don't have cancer.
Given this harsh reality -- and given that the nearest medical center offering thermographic screening is HUNDREDS of miles from here -- it is absurd to expect us, or any other women, to simply throw up our hands in the air, keep our fingers crossed, and eat more veggies. Yes, I know I'm being simplistic, but I am not a happy mama. As for me, now that I have a first-degree relative with BC, I am "high risk" myself. Yes, I've scheduled my mammogram.
Posted On Dec 05, 2009
In the articles I've read about these "new" recommendations (actually, I've seen all of this stuff in a variety of articles over the years), I wonder why more explanation is not given to the allegation that mammograms result in OVERtreatment. I've read that some of the diagnosed breast cancers are conditions which "they" are not sure will ever kill anyone (similar to the prostate cancer situation). When breast cancer is referred to as such a common cancer, I'm assuming these statistics include the cases which were diagnosed and treated with surgery, chemo and radiation, even though it is not known if they would have ever caused a problem. Also, there is a great dishonesty in the breast cancer debate; despite the fact that mainstream medical organizations and the World Health Organization have linked oral contraception to numerous cancers (breast, liver, melanoma) and quite a number of studies have linked breast cancer to abortion of first pregnancy, this is vehemently denied by places like Planned Parenthood and other so-called women's reproductive health advocates. Just because someone has something to sell and a lot of money and power to market it, doesn't mean we can't make our own decisions with the facts.
Posted On Dec 05, 2009
He's not stating to forgo the screening, he's saying thermography is much less dangerous to use in screening and possibly more effective in detecting the presence of cancer cells.
Misdiagnosis is pretty common and a significant factor resulting in unnecessary treatments.
Posted On Dec 06, 2009
Samoyad- I am glad that everything is working out for your wife and the protocol you recommend was beneficial to her.
However, thermography is CHEAP compared to mammograms, ultrasounds, and of course MRIs in cost. It's the least expensive screening tool and does not give false positives..
What you say about biopsies is not usually true. They are VERY invasive and the advanced protocol for biopsies is that now they "TAG" microcalcifications with metal tags that remain in the body forever for "future reference". This is done when NO cancer is detected on a mammogram or ultrasound but a biopsy is recommended because of "suspicious spots". Painful? You bet it is and hardly healthy to have your breasts shot full of metal for the rest of your life.