With all the awareness campaigns, races and donations, we have learned far more about breast cancer screening than we have about breast cancer prevention. Why?
We need to know more about how to prevent breast cancer rather than about screening for breast cancer through the use of mammograms. Mammograms only detect a breast tumor only after the tumor has been growing for approximately 8 years (American Cancer Society, 2001). In my opinion, a tumor growing for 8 years in my body before it is detected does not represent early detection. It is important that we educate ourselves in the area of health and wellness and focus on preventing diseases rather than simply detecting.
Research Studies show that mammograms do not reduce mortality rate of breast cancer
My opinion is supported by one of the largest study on the benefit of mammograms. In February 12, 2014, the British Medical Journal published the results of the 25 year old Canadian National Breast Screening Study where researchers followed 90,000 Canadian women from the ages of 40 to 59. The conclusion of the study: “Annual mammography in women aged 40-59 does NOT reduce mortality from breast cancer beyond that of physical examination…”
In addition, The American Cancer Society states, “… Mammograms do not work as well in women with dense breasts, since dense breasts can hide a tumor.” Yet, the United States, the only nation in the world, continues to encourage routine mammogram screenings for premenopausal women.
There has been an ongoing debate on the effectiveness of mammograms for years now. In 2009, the updated guideline established by the U.S. Preventative Services Task force, stated that women in their 40’s should not get routine mammograms for early detection of breast cancer. According to the task force, women ages 40 to 49 should talk to their doctors before having a mammogram about the risks and benefits of the test, and then decide if they want to be screened. Today the American Cancer Society has issued new guidelines, saying less screening for breast cancer is better than more. According to the society’s chief medical officer, “The chance that you are going to find a cancer and save a life is actually very small”.
Now the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Cancer Society and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Forces (the “Group”) all recommend different ages for starting mammograms: 40, 45 and 50, respectively.
I am sure this new guideline will certainly anger and confuse many. We have always been told that mammograms are life-saving and should begin at the age of 40. But now the American Cancer Society is saying that the chance of a mammogram finding cancer and saving a life is slim.
So what is a girl to do? Seek information on breast cancer prevention while the Group continues to debate the purpose of mammograms.
Why Thermographic Imaging Should be Embraced
I believe that in the near future, the U.S. will wake up and once again embrace digital infrared thermographic imaging, also known as a thermograph. Thermography is widely used in Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia as a first line screening procedure, while here in the U.S. it is still considered alternative healthcare.
Thermography is a painless, non invasive, state of the art clinical test of physiology that is used as part of an early detection program. It gives women of all ages the opportunity to increase their chances of detecting breast disease at an early stage. It is particularly useful for women under 50 where mammography is less effective.
According to Cornell University’s Program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors, “Female breast tissue is highly susceptible to radiation effects.” Since “Mammograms do not work as well in women with dense breasts, since dense breasts can hide a tumor,” thermography would be more effective. Thermography can detect changes on a cellular level, before it can be seen on an MRI scan or X-ray. More importantly thermography can detect abnormal breast patterns 5-8 years before it is visible on a mammogram.
This is how it works:
- Thermography uses a camera that reads the Infrared heat coming off the body.
- A certified technician takes the appropriate images of the breasts or region of concern.
- These images are then uploaded and sent to a qualified medical doctor who is a thermographist (much like a radiologist who is trained to read x-rays, thermographists are trained to read and study thermographic images).
- The physician carefully monitors the images for any subtle changes such as variations in the temperature and function of the tissue. These changes may indicate signs of possible cancer or pre-cancerous cell growth even before a tumor has time to evolve.
- By mapping your unique ‘thermal fingerprint’, developing disease, pathology, or functional changes may be detected at its earliest stages. Earlier detection provides for resolution of issues before they become a full blown problem.
Thermography, with its non-radiation, non-contact and low-cost basis has been clearly demonstrated to be a valuable and safe early risk marker of breast pathology. Breast Thermography has been researched for over 30 years and over 800 peer reviewed breast Thermography studies exist in the index-medicus.
For more information on thermography please visit: http://thermologyonline.org
Resources: Breast Cancer Conqueror American Cancer Society CNN, November 16, 2009