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  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • October 2017
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Facts about mammograms

1. Increased cancer risk

As early as 1928 Dr. D.T. Quigley warned physicians about the dangers of spreading cancer cells through the compression of the mammogram. It is only logical that if there are any small, undetected tumors already developing in the breast, that painful compression could easily spread malignant cells through the circulatory and lymphatic system.

2. When is radiation safe?

A mammogram is X-ray radiation delivered to very sensitive tissue. The National Academy of Sciences explains that a typical mammogram delivers 1,000 times more radiation than a chest X-ray! Premenopausal women receiving annual screenings for 10 years are exposed to 1 rad of radiation per year. Each rad increases the breast cancer risk by 1 percent. So after 10 years, the exposure results in a cumulative 10 percent increase in breast cancer risk.

According to BreastCancerFund.org, X-rays provided by mammograms result in substantially greater damage to DNA than would be predicted, and suggest that the risk of breast cancer caused by exposure to mammography radiation may be greatly underestimated. So the answer is: never!

3. Don’t rely on computer aided detection (CAD)

Many radiologists have relied on specialized computer software to locate suspicious areas in routine mammograms. In a new study, computer aided detection (CAD) failed to improve breast cancer detection and also increased a woman’s risk given a false positive result, which usually means another mammogram. The study analyzed 1.6 million mammograms taken between 1998 and 2006. Some experts say that in light of the new evidence, radiologists should use more discretion in interpreting CAD results.

4. Increased cancer risk for high risk women

A 2011 study by Pubmed.gov highlighted the existence of breakage of DNA strands induced by mammography. The low dose and a low and repeated dose of mammograms exacerbated the DNA strand breakage in patients who were considered at high risk. High risk patients would be those who had a family history of cancer.

5. False positives

According to Medscape, mammograms miss up to 1/3rd or more of all breast cancers. And false positive results cost women time, pain, emotional trauma, energy and money. Women are more susceptible for a false positive result if they have dense, also called fibrocystic, breast tissue.

6. Inconclusive results

Routine mammography has been conclusively shown to be useless for women under the age of 50. In November 2009 the U.S. Preventive Task Force (a federal advisory board) changed their recommendations from annual to screenings every 2 years, starting at age 50 — not 40 as previously recommended. This is a benefit, especially for the sensitive premenopausal breast tissue to radiation and external stressors.

7. Invalid scientific evidence for mammograms

Terry Matlen reported in a 2009 article posted on HealthCentral.com that 9 FDA scientists had raised the red flag and shared their concerns about mammograms in a letter to the president-elect Obama, alleging that “gross mishandling by FDA managers were putting the country at risk.” Matlen writes, “The scientists cited a breakdown of the independent scientific review process at the FDA as far back as 1998, when Tom Daschle, Mr. Obama’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services, wrote about the issue in his book, ‘Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.’” In that book, Daschle described how mammography computer aided detection devices were not appropriately approved, thus setting into motion a chronic breakdown of the FDA’s system. Daschle noted that these devices were not backed by clinical evidence showing they were effective in detecting breast cancer thus causing undue biopsies for thousands of women.

By the time a lump is visible on an X-ray (ultrasound) it has been developing for 5-8 years. According to an article in the Journal of National Cancer Institute, “the overwhelming majority of breast cancers are unaffected by early detection, either because they are aggressive or slow growing.” 


Reference: “Shocking Truth About the Big Squeeze That Will Have You Thinking Twice.” Dr. Veronique Desaulniers.

Christine Haase

Christine Haase has been a certified clinical thermographer (CCT), level I and level II, with the American College of Clinical Thermography (ACCT) since September 2012. She owns Valley Thermography, LLC, located at 1111 N. Lynndale Drive, Suite 202 in Appleton. Learn more about DITI and Valley Thermography by calling 920-380-1365 or visiting valleythermography.com.

Website: www.valleythermography.com
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