The American Cancer Society (ACS) is finally changing its tune when it comes to mammograms. As of last week, the organization is recommending that women with an average risk for Breast Cancer start getting annual exams at age 45 instead of 40. They are also recommending that at age 55, women cut back to a mammogram every two years.
What prompted this surprising change from an institution that had been actively and aggressively promoting mammogram despite the documented dangers for years?
The US Preventative Task Force Recommendations
The U.S. Preventative Task Force is a well-established panel of conventional health professionals and experts that provides evidence-based recommendations on major health issues. In 2009, they produced a report which promoted the delaying of mammograms until later in life. This report became the basis for the American Cancer Society’s recently-released recommendations. According to the task force recommendations’ Clinical Considerations:
“The evidence reviewed by the USPSTF indicates that a large proportion of the benefit of screening mammography is maintained by biennial screening, and changing from annual to biennial screening is likely to reduce the harms of mammography screening by nearly half.”
In news outlets this past week, the mainstream media has focused on the prevalence of “false positives,” which can account for upwards of 20% of all detections, as the primary risk associated with mammogram. Indeed, a wrong diagnosis is one of many dangers associated with the procedure.
False positive often prompts doctors to jump the gun and call for more mammograms, biopsies and full-on cancer treatment, including radiation, chemo and mastectomy.
Unfortunately, there are much larger issues when it comes to mammogram that no one in the mainstream media is discussing. In reality, mammograms do more harm than good to thousands of women each year. Mammograms do not prevent cancer any more than a physical examination can. What’s more, a mammogram itself can stimulate cancer cells to grow and spread.
First of all, the procedure exposes sensitive breast tissue to low-level radiation, which accumulates with each mammography. A study in the British Journal of Radiology found that the X-rays used in a typical mammogram could be up to 6 times more effective in “causing mutational damage than higher-energy X-rays.”
In addition, all that poking and prodding that women must go through during a mammogram may aggravate a tumor if one does exist. According to Dr. Johnnie Ham, OBGYN and Chief Medical Director at Coastal Prestige Medical Center, Inc.:
“At medical school one of the first things we’re taught when it comes to finding a tumor is, don’t touch it…yet with a mammogram you take that breast and.., smash! [With mammography], we’re looking [to see] if something is there─ and if something is there, there’s the chance of smashing that tumor and spreading it to the vasculature and lymphatic system.”
Alternatives to Mammography: Still the Best Strategy for Prevention
No test can be 100% accurate all the time when it comes to discovering Breast Cancer. However, there ARE reliable, safe and non-invasive alternatives to mammogram that have also proven to be more liable for very early detection.
There is increasing evidence that inflammation is directly related to tumor growth. Thermography (or DITI) can sometimes spot inflamed areas in the breast up to six years before significant tumors develop. In addition, certain blood tests can detect the protein and hormones that cancer cells secrete. The best tests I recommend for determining if you have cancer-related hormones and proteins in your system is the Oncoblot test or the Greece Test which can measure Circulating Tumor Cells and Stem Cells, years before a tumor is detected.
The recommendations presented by the US Preventative Task Force as well as the ACS’s recent change in guidelines are steps in the right direction. Hopefully, they will cause intelligent women who are concerned about their health to begin to question the safety and legitimacy of mammography in general. Choose safe, non-invasive protocols as part of your very early Breast Cancer prevention strategy.