New study highlights dangers of mammograms
Cancer screening too
often harmful or terribly missleading Popular Science PDF
"I recently saw a bumper sticker that said, "Save the Ta- tas."
Believe me... I'm all about "saving the ta-tas" – which is exactly
why I've been telling women for years to STAY AWAY from those
breast-squashing cancer machines called mammograms.
I've given you plenty of reasons why – and here's another to add to
After just five mammograms, women who are at high risk for breast
cancer are 2.5 times more likely to get the disease than those who
skipped out on the tests. Women who get mammograms before they turn
20 are also at a higher risk.
I shake my head at the irony. These "high-risk" women, of course,
are the same patients who've been told they need MORE screenings
because of their supposed risk. And when they DO develop breast
cancer, no one thinks to blame the "solution." In fact, they sing
the mammogram's praises for catching it early!
The researchers who presented this analysis at a recent meeting of
the Radiological Society of North America say more study is needed
to confirm the link. At least they're predictable.
Truth is, we don't need to waste another minute – or another
research dollar – on this.
This is just the latest in a series of reports and studies to
confirm the obvious: Mammograms have harmed far more women than
they've ever saved. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently
advised against mammograms for most women under 50, a huge leap in
the right direction.
But already plenty of "experts" are trying to water down the facts
with the medical equivalent of gibberish. These doctors are doing
everything they can to keep women in fear – not because they're
interested in saving lives, but because they're worried about what
will happen to their bank accounts when women realize that they've
Don't listen to a word they're saying. They don't have a scientific
leg to stand on.
Ladies, the bottom line on this is to stay far from mammograms, no
matter what you hear on TV." William Campbell
Douglass II, M.D
Adding an annual mammogram to a careful physical
examination of the breasts does not improve breast cancer survival rates
over getting the examination alone.
does lead to the discovery of smaller, earlier stage tumors, but still
does not improve breast cancer survival rates over examination alone.
One possible reason for a lack of
survival benefit from mammograms "is that treatment of breast cancer
has improved to such an extent that there is no longer any benefit from
screening," the study's authors report. In addition, the results
"suggest another option for screening women over the age of 50 years:
annual physical examination and the teaching of breast self-examination by
skilled health professionals."
The Canadian National Breast Screening
Study-2 (CNBSS-2) has been following more than 39,000 women assigned
either to annual physical examination or examination plus mammography
since the mid-1980s.
The authors report the results 11 to 16 years after the start
of the study.
Mammography continues to offer earlier
detection, however. According to the report, mammography plus physical
examination provides a 3.6-year advantage in detection-time over no
screening, whereas physical examination provides only a 1.5 year
Consistent with this 2.1-year lead-time
advantage, tumors detected by mammography plus physical examination tend
to be smaller and are less likely to have spread to the lymph nodes, the
These apparent advantages do not translate into an
increased survival rate for women screened with mammography plus physical
Journal of the
National Cancer Institute September 20, 2000;92:1490-1499
How to Perform a
- Lie down with a pillow under your right
shoulder, and place your right arm behind your head.
- Use the finger pads of the three middle fingers
on your left hand to feel for lumps in the right breast.
- Press firmly enough to know how your breast
feels. A firm ridge in the lower curve of each breast is normal.
- Move around the breast in a circular, up and
down line, or wedge pattern (see photo below). Be sure to do it the same
way every time, check the entire breast area, and remember how your
breast feels from month to month.
- Repeat the exam on your left breast, using the
finger pads of the right hand. (Move the pillow to under your left
- Repeat the examination of both breasts while
standing, with your one arm behind your head. The upright position makes
it easier to check the upper and outer part of the breasts (toward your
armpit). This is where about half of breast cancers are found. You may
want to do the standing part of the exam while you are in the shower.
Some breast changes can be felt more easily when your skin is wet and
- You can check your breasts for dimpling of the
skin, changes in the nipple, redness, or swelling while standing in
front of a mirror each month. You should gently squeeze the nipple and
check for any unusual discharge.
- If you find any changes, see a licensed health
professional right away.
What to Watch for During
a Breast Self-Exam
If you detect any of the following changes, be sure to see a licensed
health professional right away:
- A new lump or hard knot found in the breast or
- Dimpling, puckering or indention in the breast
- Change in the size, shape or symmetry of your
- Swelling or thickening of the breast
- Redness or scaliness of the nipple or breast
- Nipple discharge, especially any that is
bloody, clear and sticky, dark or occurs without squeezing your nipple
- Changes in the nipple such as tenderness, pain,
turning or drawing inward, or pointing in a new direction.
- Any suspicious changes in the breasts
Forgive me if you think the below is challenging your opinion of my
judgment and taste but I believe that mammograms are mostly overused and
due to the damage they inflict, actually obscene.
PREPARING FOR A MAMMOGRAM
"And How Are We Feeling Today?" by Kathryn Hammer
(copyright 1993, Contemporary Books). A great book. Hope this inspires you
to get it.
Many women are afraid of their first mammogram but there is no need to worry. By taking a
few minutes each day for the week preceding the exam and doing the following practice
exercises, you will be totally prepared.
Best of all, you can do these simple practice exercises right in the privacy of your
Exercise #1: Freeze two metal bookends overnight. Strip to the waist. Invite a stranger
into the room. Press the bookends against one of your breasts. Smash the bookends together
as hard as you can. Set an appointment with the stranger to meet next year and do it
More "exercises" but
you will now have to buy the book as I had permission then the
permission was taken away. Go figure.
POWER OUTAGE DURING A MAMMOGRAM
I actually kept my mammogram appointment.
I was met with, "Hi! I'm Belinda!" This perky clipboard carrier
from ear to ear, tilted her head to one side and crooned,
"All I need you to do
is step into this room right hereee, strip to the waist,
thennnn slip on this gown.
I'm thinking, "Belinda, try decaf. This ain't rocket science."
Belinda skipped away to prepare the chamber of horrors. Call me
but I suspect a man invented this machine. It takes a perfectly
cup size of 36-B to a size 38-LONG in less than 60 seconds. Also,
aren't made of sugar and spice and everything nice.. it's Spandex.
can be stretched, pulled and twisted over a cold 4-inch piece of
glass and still pop back into shape.
With the right side finished, Belinda flipped me (lite rally) to the
left and said, "Hmmmm. Can you stand on your tippy toes and lean in
tad so we can get everything?"
Fine, I answered. I was freezing, bruised, and out of air, so why
use the remaining circulation in my legs and neck and finish me off?
My body was in a holding pattern that defied gravity (with my other
boob wedged between those two 4" pieces of square glass) when we
heard, then felt a zap!
Complete darkness and the power went off!
"What?" I yelled.
"Oh, maintenance is working. Bet they hit a snag." Belinda headed
"Excuse me! You're not leaving me in this vise alone, are you?" I
Belinda kept going and said, "Oh, you fussy puppy . the door's wide
open so you'll have the emergency hall lights. I'll be righttttt
Before I could shout "NOOOO!" she disappeared. And that's exactly
Bubba and Earl, maintenance men extraordinaire, found me, half-naked
and part of me dangling from the Jaws of Life and the other part
After exchanging polite "Hi, how's it going" type greetings, Bubba
possibly Earl) asked, to my utter disbelief, if I knew the power was
Trying to disguise my hysteria, I replied with as much calmness as
possible "Uh, yes, yes I did thanks"
"You bet, take care" Bubba replied and waved good-bye as though I'd
been standing in the line at the grocery store.
Two hours later, Belinda breezes in wearing a sheepish grin and
no attempt to suppress her amusement, she said. "Oh I am soooo
The power came back on and I totally forgot about you! And silly me,
went to lunch. Are we upset?"
And that, Your Honor, is exactly how her head ended up between the
I recently learned that a dear friend's daughter felt a lump and was
going to get a mammogram when I suggested she get a thermogram instead.
She did and the MD who gave the thermogram then expressed concern about
the size and referred her to a mammogram facility saying the lump was
large enough to justify that. After the mammogram they took a biopsy. I
have to wonder about all that. I then recommended that in any event she
get to a local Bastyr ND asap.
From one of my newsletter readers. My response in BOLD
I have not had a mammogram in 15 years, I rely on Thermography for
my breast screening. I was doing thermo in 1977 in San Francisco.
Just curious at age 36.
Studies have shown that mammograms are actually dangerous for women on
many levels. Thermography is FDA approved. So why are women still
being told to use a less effective way for screening? Too much money
has been invested in free standing mammography clinics. My motto if
something doesn't make sense, "follow the money." Great insight.
P.S. Love your work and hope in the near future to come to your lovely
state (I am from Maine) to partake in your week long training program.
I am an RN and the hospital I work at said I could do my "clinical" to
achive the 100 hours of hands on practicum needed to be fully certified
through your program. So it is really nice that I have ready made
clients through the pulmonary program at my hospital. Now , I need to
get to you so you can teach me. I see such a need when I work with my
patients and I am frustrated that I currently do not have the skills to
offer my patients relief. Well said. Look forward to working with
Another customer reader writes:
I have read lots about mammograms and it is a
belief of naturopaths and holistic doctors that 50% of
breast cancer is CAUSED by the radiation in mammograms.
There is 1,000 times more radiation in one mammogram than
one chest x-ray. Thermagrams are much better at detecting
cancer cells in the breast.
On a more grounded and constructive note:
When you develop your breathing you learn how to better feel-fit your brassieres
so that they will not constrict your breast circulation. See
brassieres and breast cancer.
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