Last year, we delivered a two-part series that explored the dangers of mammograms, alternative methods for cancer detection and the potential of breast thermography. Though the nation's top health institutes continue to recommend annual mammograms as the best prevention method against breast cancer, a number of leading natural doctors continue to argue the opposite.
As our Hallelujah Diet experts reported at the time, the majority of abnormalities found on the breast are non-cancerous and of those that are, the majority are discovered through self exams. Mammograms are often ineffective and moreover, have a false positive rate of 6 percent, which can lead to unnecessary additional screening and even treatment. Radiation that comes from the screening is also cause for concern. Just last month, new data confirmed the dangers of mammograms.
An Update on the Ineffectiveness of Mammography
Researchers in the Netherlands spent 24 years studying the impact of screening mammography on women between the ages of 50 and 74, reported Medscape Medical News. The study found that in women over the age of 50, mammograms would result in only a zero to 5 percent decrease in breast cancer mortality and have little impacting on bringing down the number of advanced breast cancer incidences.
"Screening mammography increased overdiagnosis of breast cancer by 32%."
Published in BMJ on Dec. 5, the study concluded that mammograms intended for screening increased the rate of overdiagnosis by 32 percent. The authors did note that there were two reasons for this: the advance of digital mammography and the decision to extend the nationally-recommended screening age to 75. Overdiagnosis was especially prevalent in the 70 to 74 age group.
Lead author Dr. Philippe Autier of the University of Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health, Lyon, France, explained how cancer screening is intended to catch the disease in the initial stages, so that it does not have the chance to metastasize.
"If screening works, then you must observe a decreased incidence in the burden of advanced, poor-prognosis cancer in the population. While we have seen decreases in the incidence rate of advanced cervical and colorectal cancer, the same thing has not been true for breast cancer," he told the source. "Everybody was expecting, myself included, that the same would be true for mammography screening, but unfortunately, after years and years of screening, we are realizing that we are not seeing reductions in advanced breast cancer. This is something that is being observed not just in the Netherlands but in all countries where there is a lot of screening, including the United States."
The Problem With Mammograms
Following the release of the study of Dutch women, Dr. Mark Sircus published an article titled, "Avoid Mammograms Like the Plague." According to Sircus, the researchers confirmed what those within our Hallelujah Diet circle have been trying to say for a long time: mammograms are not the answer. He explained that rather than detecting tumors in the breast tissue, this screening method only picks up changes within the breast tissue and because many cancers are advancing without changing that tissue, mammograms are not even picking up these late stage cancers.
Moreover, radiation from each mammogram merely increases the risk of developing breast cancer in the first place, according to Sircus. Reporting on estimated figures, nearly one in five breast cancers diagnosed among U.S. women are a result of "cumulative radiation effects of mammograms." Thus, he presents the question, "Why look for breast cancer with a test that can actually cause breast cancer?"
Alternatives to Mammograms
One alternative to screening mammography is an MRI scan which is both accurate and safe, explained our experts at Hallelujah Diet. However, it will be quite expensive so this is not the top recommendation for those who don't have a family history of the cancer. Today, the best alternative to mammograms is thermography. Not only is this method non-invasive, but it has the capability to find even the first stages of breast cancer, as we reported in our two-part series.
Currently, this is believed to be the safest and most effective method for accurately detecting breast cancer.
As Dr. Michael Donaldson, Hallelujah Diet's Research Director, has explained before, there is a trusted way to reduce one's chance of getting breast cancer in the first place. Women can decrease their risk of breast cancer from 13 percent to 1.3 percent just through diet and lifestyle.