The Dangers of Mammograms: What You Need To Know (Part 1)
Most women and the men who love them are concerned about breast cancer, and for very good reason. Of all cancers, only lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer each year. Not only will breast cancer strike 1 out of every 8 women during the course of their lives, today breast cancer is striking more and more women much earlier than before. Although it remains true that the risks of developing breast cancer increases with age, being young is no longer a protection against this terrible scourge. In fact, the research shows that 15% of all cases of breast cancer in the United States occur in women who are 45 or younger. More alarmingly, when breast cancer strikes earlier in life it is usually more aggressive, and more fatal than when it strikes older women.
In years past, such a high incidence of breast cancer among young women would have been unthinkable, but no longer. The reason, as I constantly point out, is that we are poisoning ourselves to death with all of the toxins that are so rampant, not only in our environment, but even in our food supply!
But environmental toxicity and poor diet are not the only things you need to be aware of. When it comes to breast cancer, there are other important risk factors to be aware of, as well. One of the most important breast cancer risks is a family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then your risk of developing cancer of any kind is higher. However, 75% of all women who develop breast cancer have no family history of cancer.
Women who are childless or who have their first child after age 30 also tend to have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, as to women who have undergone synthetic hormone therapy, including the use of birth control pills, due to the hormonal imbalances that such therapy can cause. Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, lack of exercise, and poor sleep habits, also increase cancer risks, as does alcohol consumption, including wine. (According to cancer researcher Charles B. Simone, MD, drinking as little as two glasses of wine per week can increase the risk of cancer in women by as much as 50%.) Being overweight is another important risk factor.
Sadly, one of the biggest threats comes from the conventional medical establishment and is routinely used by doctors to detect breast cancer. In reality, as I will explain, the use of this diagnostic technique actually significantly increases the risk of cancer. But the medical establishment refuses to admit it.
I’m talking about mammograms.
Why Mammograms Aren’t Your Best Option
Mammograms, along with breast self-examinations, are recommended by most conventional doctors as the best way for women to detect breast cancer. They involved the use of X-rays that allow doctors to look for dense structures within the breast that can be an indication of a tumor. This form of detecting is known as structural imaging. Research shows that mammograms are useful for detecting breast cancer in 80 percent of all women over the age of 50. However, that means that 20% of women age 50 or older can have breast cancer and not have it detected by mammograms! And the problem is even worse when it comes to women under age 50. Among younger women, a shocking 40% of all cases of breast cancer will fail to be detected by mammograms. As I mentioned above, breast cancer in this age group is usually more aggressive (meaning fast-growing) and more likely to prove fatal.
On top of that, mammograms are largely ineffective for detecting cancer located in the upper area of the breast and within the peripheral areas next to the chest wall. They are also likely to miss signs of breast cancer among women who have large or dense breasts, and women who have had breast augmentation. Fibrocystic breast disease can often also prevent breast cancer from being detected by mammograms.
Based on these facts, along with the reliance on mammograms by the medical establishment, it’s no wonder that so many cases of breast cancer fail to be detected until the cancer has metastasized.
The ineffectiveness of mammograms was highlighted by a study conducted by researchers in Norway that was published last year in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study showed only a 10% decrease in breast cancer death among women who regularly screened for breast cancer using mammography. Based on these findings, Dr. H. Gilbert Welch of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and author of the book Overdiagnosed, stated that “2,500 [women] would need to be screened for 10 years to avoid one death from breast cancer.” In other words, those same 2,500 women, over the course of 10 years, would receive a total of 25,000 mammograms (once every year) and only one life would be saved! Dr. Welsh also pointed out that such widespread used of mammograms among the women would result in about 1,000 false-positive findings (meaning women would be told they had breast cancer when they didn’t, and would invariably then undergo painful and unnecessary biopsies).
Despite these shocking limitations of mammography, both the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology continue to recommend that all women 40 and over receive annual mammograms. Fortunately, other organizations, including the American College of Physicians and the U.S. Preventative Task Force, are wising up and no longer recommend mammograms for women under 50.
But that’s not enough. That’s because mammograms can actually cause breast and other types of cancer. This startling fact is something all doctors should be telling their women patients, but they’re not. Not because they are bad people. But because even they don’t realize how dangerous and ineffective mammograms are.
I’ll explain why next time.
Get Your Kids Off Drugs: Better Ways of Dealing with ADHD
School is a particularly difficult time for children suffering from attention deficit disorder and other related problems. In America, thousands of our children come to school drugged into passivity on Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs. “Pop a pill” has too long been the cry of conventional medicine and frustrated parents. Alternative medicine offers options to help your child without exposing him to powerful psychiatric drugs.