Thursday, January 8, 2009

Are Mammograms A Good Idea?

Adapted from September 20, 2008 - Issue 1163 www.Mercola.com


The benefits of mammograms are controversial, while the risks are well established. Mammograms carry a first-time false positive rate of up to 6 percent. False positives can lead to expensive repeat screenings and can result in unnecessary invasive procedures including biopsies and surgeries. Just thinking you may have breast cancer, when you really don’t focuses your mind on fear and disease, and is actually enough to trigger an illness in your body. Also, women have unnecessarily undergone mastectomies, radiation and chemotherapy after receiving false positives on a mammogram.In 1974, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) was warned by Professor Malcolm C. Pike at the University of Southern California School of Medicine that a number of specialists had concluded "giving a women under age 50 a mammogram on a routine basis is close to unethical."Why? Mammograms expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray, which increases the risk of cancer. Mammography also compresses the breasts tightly and often painfully, which could lead to a lethal spread of cancerous cells, should they exist.


The breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade's screening,” points out Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the top cancer experts. Dr. Epstein, M.D., professor emeritus of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, and chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, has been speaking out about the risks of mammography since at least 1992. As for how these mammography guidelines came about, Epstein says: “They were conscious, chosen, politically expedient acts by a small group of people for the sake of their own power, prestige and financial gain, resulting in suffering and death for millions of women. They fit the classification of "crimes against humanity."”
Both the American Cancer Society and NCI called Dr. Epstein’s findings “unethical and invalid.” But this didn’t stop others from speaking out as well.


In July 1995, The Lancet again wrote about mammograms, saying "The benefit is marginal, the harm caused is substantial, and the costs incurred are enormous ..."


"The high sensitivity of the breast, especially in young women, to radiation-induced cancer was known by 1970. Nevertheless, the establishment then screened some 300,000 women with Xray dosages so high as to increase breast cancer risk by up to 20 percent in women aged 40 to 50 who were mammogramed annually,” wrote Dr. Epstein.


Dr. Charles B. Simone, a former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, said, "Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth.”


Most physicians continue to recommend mammograms for fear of being sued by a woman who develops breast cancer after which he did not advise her to get one. But I encourage you to think for yourself and consider safer, more effective alternatives to mammograms.

Part II: Surprising News on the Increase in Breast Cancer Among Women Who Get Frequent Mammograms

Part III: Thermography and Sonograms - alternative and safe diagnostic alternatives to mammograms.

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