Monday, April 16, 2007

No More Mammograms

I’ve made a decision. I’m no longer going to allow myself to be screened for breast cancer by mammography. I have an appointment with my gynecologist next month and I am going to break the news to him then. Until he finds a local alternative for me, I will be relying on self-examination and, of course, his clinical examination.

This is not a decision I’ve made lightly. My mom had a mastectomy almost 28 years ago and I am considered high risk for breast cancer. In fact, I had my first mammogram before I was age 40. I’ve had about 4 or 5 mammograms total and the last two resulted in false positives. I can’t tell you the duress that caused me. And then to be told after re-testing that I have very dense breast tissue which caused shadows on the x-ray film. I’m not subjecting myself to that again!

Here are some things I’ve learned after reading extensively on the topic of mammography:

  • That there is no safe dose of radiation. Breast cancer is more easily caused by radiation than are other kinds of cancers. A mammogram delivers about 1,000 times more radiation than a chest x-ray, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular damage.
  • By the time a mammogram can detect breast cancer, it has been present in your body for 8-10 years. If a tumor is large enough to be detected by a mammogram, it's already in an advanced stage, so very few cancers are caught in the earliest and most treatable stages.
  • The compression required for mammograms can actually break down cancer tissue and rupture small blood vessels that support the cancer, causing it to spread. How is it that medical students are taught to examine breasts gently to keep any possible cancer from spreading, yet radiologists are allowed to manhandle them for a mammogram?
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55. These statistics have not changed since the introduction of the mammogram over 30 years ago. Studies have shown that women who have mammograms suffer about the same rates of death due to breast cancer as women who do not have mammograms.
  • Mammography has nothing to do with prevention -- it detects cancers that have already occurred (if you are lucky as there is a common occurrence of false negatives).
  • Cancer is not a disease. Cancer is just a name given to a pattern of symptoms appearing as a natural result of certain metabolic functions caused by lifestyle decisions. Cancer can't be cured with chemicals. It's no germ.
The next time your doctor says you're due for a mammogram, tell him you're interested in an alternative technique. If every women does this every time the word "mammogram" comes up, sooner or later the medical community will get the message: The day of the mammogram is almost done.


Aranka said...

Thank you for this very informative post. I have begun to research alternative medicine recently and this information fits right in with everything I've learned so far. Thanks for the links too. It's a good starting point for further reading on this subject.

vacpacker said...

I totally agree with your point of view. I had to go through the false positive routine once (8 years ago) and almost died from the stress. Turned out it was a cyst and they didn't even do the core biopsy they started (which I've heard from others who went through it is like being tortured at Abu Ghraib (no anesthesia). I think the stress destroyed my thyroid gland and I'm on thyroid replacement for the rest of my life.

I know of at least 6 women who were diagnosed with aggressive breast cancers within 6 weeks to 3 months of having a completely "clean" mammogram. My conclusion: the mammogram caused the cancer or caused it to become more aggressive or spread. Mammograms are a false hope and a bad idea.

Why don't they have a blood test to detect breast cancer yet,and to determine how aggressive the tumor is? Why? Because there's too much money to be made in the old way of doing things.


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