Better Than Mammograms: Thermographyby Dr. Nancy on August 1st, 2012 in Health
Dedicated to a strong and amazing, young mother of two, Michelle Mills. After being diagnosed with breast cancer and having a double mastectomy, she continues on her mission to dedicating her time to spreading the word of cancer prevention and living a healthy life.
What is about 1,000 times the radiation of a Chest X-ray? If you said Mammograms, you are correct! Touted by health care professionals in white coats across most countries, these (what many would consider unnecessary) often painful procedures aimed to detect cancer or abnormalities in the breasts create big bucks for hospitals and companies that manufacture them. (Photo Credit: SciencedBasedMedicine.org)
In recent years, hospitals have begun a huge push toward mammograms, in efforts to rally behind the code-pink breast cancer awareness movement. They are even encouraging young women under 30 years of age to have annual mammograms, especially if breast cancer runs in the family. Though the message they send may sound concerning and preventative, what doctors and these health care professionals fail to mention are the risks of such an invasive procedure.
In a nutshell, a mammogram is a structural test. It looks at basically the anatomy of the breasts and looks for density changes and lumps, masses, and calcifications. Here are the dangers: routine mammography exposes the individual to an exceptionally high amount of ionizing radiation. According to research and clear cut science, ionizing radiation is something we are all exposed to in nature and the body can handle a small amount each year without it becoming risky.
Due to this enormous blast of radiation from mammograms, however, many experts warn that mammography actually increases the risk of breast cancer! Natural News reports that annual mammography increases the risk of breast cancer by 2% each year. The National Cancer Institute has stated that mammography is especially dangerous for younger women. In fact, they have stated that it could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 it identifies. Other studies have shown up to a 52% increase in breast cancer mortality in young women given annual testing.
Many women report mammograms to be painful. This may result from mammography’s compressing of the breasts tightly, which could lead to a lethal spread of cancerous cells, should they exist.
Still, the western medicine intelligence will give mixed opinions on mammograms and their validity. “Many doctors have trouble trusting mammograms due to their enormous rate of false positive diagnosis. In one large study looking at 60,000 women, the researchers found that 70% of the detected tumors were not tumors at all. These false positive results create a great amount of emotional stress on patients and family members involved. Even worse, these results lead to many unnecessary and invasive biopsies. Research has shown that 70-80% of all positive mammograms do not show the presence of cancer upon further biopsy testing” (Natural News).
The emotional toll placed on the patient and family when believing someone has cancer can further stress the body physically. Not just that, many women actually proceed to have unnecessary chemotherapy, radiation and mastectomies after receiving false positive results on a mammogram. Even when women have history of breast cancer in the family, some doctors encourage women to seriously contemplate preventative mastectomies . . . just in case! This has happened to me and not only threw me for a whirlwind, I was distraught and overtaken by the conversation my doctor had with me. No alternatives or choices were discussed with me (and I didn’t even have cancer. I simply COULD HAVE HAD IT due to my family history). I decided to educate myself and spoke to many other women who have actually had mastectomies in case breast cancer did eventually decide to appear. These women were all under 30 years of age.
Better Than Mammograms?
Though self exams are most women’s first line of detection (done in privacy at any time by you and your fingers), thermography is growing rapidly in the “natural” and “holistic” approach to breast cancer prevention and detection. Did I mention that it is pain free, non-invasive, implant safe, accurate, and radiation free?
Not just for women and for breast exams, anyone can benefit from infrared thermography, especially the health conscious person who is looking for an important tool to add to their regular preventive health care routine. Thermography is a functional test; how active is the tissue. So, for an example, a woman may have a lump but the question is whether that lump is very active like cancer is or if it is very inactive like a benign lump is. The mammogram could show the lump and the thermogram could show the activity level, so progressive physicians would say these two tests go hand in hand. When combined together, the detection rates for breast cancer soar to an impressive 97%! But remember to always weigh the risks. A woman who is over the age of 50 years old would have a smaller risk from the dangers of having a mammogram compared to a woman under 30 years old.
Unlike other forms of imaging that detect structural changes, such as a tumor, infrared imaging looks at the body’s subtle chemical and nervous system signals. These neurochemical signals may be sent far in advance of significant damage to the body’s soft tissue. Images are saved and may allow health care professionals to seek any change along a linear length of time. A great benefit to choosing infrared thermography breast exam is that it uses no radiation & shows abnormalities 8 years before mammograms do.
Another benefit of this technology is its role in primary breast tissue health. Breast thermography has the added ability to observe the influence of hormones on the breasts. When hormone activity in the breast tissue is dominated by estrogen, a specific type of infrared image is produced; thus, warning the individual of this condition.
Health care providers may use infrared imaging to investigate a problem you may be experiencing, look for potential problems (ex: sports injury management), or as an additional tool in the process of determining the cause of a condition. Infrared imaging cannot be used as a “body scan” to search for metastasis (the spread of cancer).
Why Isn’t Thermography Used By More Hospitals/Clinics?
With a more than 90% effective rate, why aren’t more hospitals recommending thermography? Many would argue that thermography is not a standard of care for the western world because of the billions of dollars in profits machine manufactures, hospitals and insurance companies make.
Another reason may be understood after reading this blurb from the California Pacific Medical Center.
“Thermography is not an alternative to mammography and is unreliable. Many people may believe that it is a safe alternative because it does not release radiation. However we do not have any large scale studies that have been done to show the efficacy of thermography for breast cancer detection. Interestingly, many of my patients will choose to do a thermography instead of a mammography, but the results of their thermography will find an atypical finding and the first recommendation by the thermography providers is to then get a mammogram! Recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning statement informing the public that thermography is not an alternative to mammography. I think this is important information for you all to know. Here is the link:
It is always good to hear and understand where the other point of views stand when looking into refuting common practice, especially in the western world of medicine.
Ladies and gentlemen (fellows get breast cancer, too): keep educating yourselves on the risks and the benefits of suggested procedures and detection methods when it comes to breast cancer. Of course, prevention of breast cancer (by eating well, exercising, keeping stress low and staying mentally active) and self-examinations should be done routinely monthly, or as often as possible. There are always alternatives.
Resources: Mercola.com, MyInnerImage.com, I-Act.org, ReliablePlant.com, FDA
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