The rising fear among women is breast cancer. Decades ago the diagnosis of breast cancer was not common and often unheard of. Yet do to the overwhelming exposure to toxins and xenoestrogens women are becoming increasingly at risk to breast cancer. Prevention then is the key to decreasing the statistics and saving lives.
According to the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Society or Susan Komen Foundation frequent mammograms will save lives and they produce huge media blitzes to encourage women to do mammograms starting at an early age. Hundreds of organizations, medical facilities and doctors agree, joining forces with the top three organizations to promote mammograms. So does that make them good? And should we believe the advertising? When doctors are known to get kickbacks from prescribing mammograms and most of these organizations own stock in corporations that make the machines or make the film, should we trust them to tell us mammograms are harmful?
Mammograms put the breasts between two plates and compress the breast then at least two films are taken of each breast. Does it hurt? Of course it hurts. Worse yet is this extreme compression of the breast tissue can rupture cells; meaning if there is a lump, this pressure could break off cells. Should those cells be cancer stems cells metastases will occur. Furthermore the mammogram films are not as accurate as the spokepersons are telling us. The British Medical Journal in 2011 confirmed breast cancer screening using mammography can cause harm due to surgeries that are unnecessary causing losses in quality of life from false positives resulting in unnecessary treatment. In a study in Norway and reviewed by Harvard University the study of approximately 2474 women screened only one had cancer; one woman was saved through mammogram screening. However, of that group 6-10 were overdiagnosed, meaning they were falsely told they had a abnormal lump and subsequently treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy causing loss of quality of life, breasts, and health. Such over diagnosis goes on routinely and while we may be saving one life out of near 2500 we are also harming 10 out of 2500; not good statistics.
Mammograms are not wise due to false positives as well as false negatives; so is there another answer? Although, Susan Komen Foundation encourages mammograms and the newest nuclear imaging, scintimammography, known as Breast Specific Gamma Imaging [BSGI] both of which are using a form of radiation to detect abnormal tissue there are safe and very reliable methods of breast cancer screening. Thermography according the FDA is not a good and useful breast screen tool, going so far as to issue a warning in 2011 to the public about thermography claims regarding breast cancer screening. This warning coming from an agency known to support and approve screening procedures and cancer treatments that cause harm and death while giving out warnings for such procedures and treatments that effectively work without harm.
Thermography was tested on a group of 58,000 women; of these 58,000 1245 women received abnormal thermograms; indicating something was not normal. These 1245 women were then followed over a course of 12 years. At the time of the thermograms, 784 were examined and said to have normal breasts; 461 were examined and said to have benign mastopathy. Subsequently over the course of reviewing these patients; 38% of the normal range participants developed breast cancer and 44% of the benign group developed breast cancer. These statistics show a high rate of cancer found in those with abnormal thermograms.
Sonograms is another method of breast cancer screening. Like thermograms a sonogram is safe and non-invasive. According the American Journal of Roentgenology in 2003 it was found ultrasound or sonogram was better than mammography at detecting breast cancer in young women who tend to have denser breast tissue. A study done in Australia studying 240 women with breast cancer; given both mammography and ultrasound found that of those that were older both tests statistically detected the same amount of the breast cancer; of those in women under 45 the ultrasound detected 84.9 percent of the breast cancers and the mammography detected only 71.7 percent. There was a significant amount of women positive for cancer that went undetected by the mammogram.
Mammograms as we are finding not only lacking in proper detection but also in false detection, whereas women are undergoing cancer surgery and treatments when they don’t have cancer. In both cases the risk of dying due to a misdiagnosis during a mammography is significant and not acceptable. But is this our only concern?
Although misdiagnosis during a mammogram is dangerous, and the chance of causing metastases through extreme compression of a cancerous lump is dangerous; the exposure to high doses of radiation further harms and puts women at risk for cancer. When there are other safe methods of breast cancer screen why expose women to high doses of radiation? The answer perhaps is found on financial spreadsheets and investment portfolios.
Radiation in a human is cumulative; over a lifetime this culmination of radiation can adversely affect the body, cancer being one. In the United States a large percentage of women carry a gene called oncogene AC that is extremely sensitive to even small doses of radiation which could increase their risk of mammography induced cancer, in one year as many as 10000 could die of this cancer. The National Cancer Institute released evidence that of those women under the age of 35, mammography could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 cases it would identify. Another study in Canada found a near 52 percent increase in breast cancer deaths in young women due to annual mammograms.
So what causes radiation induced cancer? Most cells exposed to radiation repair themselves and no damage is done; the cells die off and new normal cells replace them. However in some the cells change, their reproductive structure changes or there is a mutation that occurs; precancerous cells begin and can become cancer. Radiobiologists have discovered the damage and subsequent change to the genes in the nucleus of the cell is the main cause for radiation induced cancer. During the ionizing radiation the cell is directly damaged or it could be damaged indirectly through a chemical products produced by the radiation interacting within the cells. Either way although most should be repaired within hours, some are misrepaired and do not die off; this according to the radiobiologists may be the start of radiation induced cancer.
How much radiation is considered dangerous? Radition is measured in rads or reims or mSv [millisiverts] 1 rem = 1 rad and 1 rad = 10 mSv This helps you to understand the amount of radiation we are exposed to that could cause cancer or if one has cancer could cause a second cancer. Mammography, scintimammography, CT scans, x-rays and MRIs all expose us to high amounts of radiation that could potentially give us radiation induced cancer. Why expose yourself to such radiation when other methods of screening or diagnostic testing are available?
When an employee is exposed to 10 rems [rads] during a lifetime their chance of occupational radiation induced cancer increases to about 20 percent. In the bombings in Japan in 1945 it is thought most were exposed to about 35 rads; and many developed cancer. So what about our medical tests?
Do the benefits outweigh the risks of cancer as we have been told? One single CT scan exposes the body to between 150 to 1,100 times the radiation of a conventional x-ray. That is equivalent to about 1- 5 rads per CT scan depending on the area scanned. Multiple CT scans add up the radiation exposure quickly. PET scans are equivalent to CT scans. A mammogram that takes about 2 films per breast [sometimes more] will give you 1- 2 rads; those women that are advised to repeat mammograms quickly accumulate rads. The Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment investigating radiation emissions from the Sellafield nuclear plant said 1 in 2000 adults that receive an abdominal CT/PET scan will be subjected to the highest amount of radiation will subsequently get a new cancer as a result.
Our fear of breast cancer may find us running to the mammography center in order to be proactive. Are we running from our fear of cancer right into the hands of cancer causing mammography? Will be falsely diagnosed? Should we forego the fears perhaps subliminally given us through profiteering media hype and use prudent safe screening with wise choices of the elimination of toxins from our lifestyle know to cause cancer? I rather believe a healthy lifestyle and safe screening is by far the best prevention for breast cancer.
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