Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mammograms? Are they really safe?

I know this will be quite a controversial subject for some of you out there and especially those who either believe in conventional treatment of cancer and/or have been treated with chemotherapy and radiation and have recovered. Mammograms are not safe.  This procedure exposes you to unnecessary radiation.  This is an evil in itself.  The radiation one is exposed to during a mammogram is approximately 150 times the amount of radiation used for a single chest xray.  Any amount of radiation is capable of contributing to cancer and heart disease, the very thing one tries to avoid by having a screening mammogram done every year or two. Think about how much radiation you are going to be exposed to over the years by having a mammogram annually or even biennial. Breast cancer has usually been present for about 8 years by the time it is detected on a mammogram.  Imagine having a tumor that you're not aware of it and making it even worse by exposing it to radiation regularly?  The compression of your breasts can also spread malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in or around small undetected breast cancers.  

False Positive Mammograms

Mistakenly diagnosed cancers are common in premenopausal and post-menopausal women who are on estrogen replacement therapy resulting in other unnecessary procedures such as needle or surgical biopsies.  The anxiety associated with a mistaken diagnosis is very stressful.  About 20 years ago I underwent a surgical biopsy because I had an irregular lump in my breast (I was only in my early thirties).  Thank God it wasn't cancer but the stress I had to deal with while waiting for the surgery and the surgery itself was very difficult.  

There are also false negative results associated with mammograms.  Missed cancers are particularly common in premenopausal women  due to the dense and highly glandular structure of the breast. Missed cancers are also common in post-menopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy.  

Interval cancers are cancers arising in between mammograms that were either not there or too small to detect.  This false positive mammogram result lulls a woman into a false sense of security for another year.  These are sometimes aggressive cancers which aren't caught until possibly the next mammogram.   

Breast self examination is a much better alternative.  Monthly exam with no radiation.  Better detection.  

Breast Self Examination (BSE) is a Safe Alternative

We know our own breast tissue better than anyone else.  Examining your own breasts regularly will help in the early detection of breast cancer and will also avoid the harmful radiation from mammograms.  90% of women who develop breast carcinoma have found the tumors themselves.  

Self breast exams should be done about 3 - 5 days after your period starts. Your breasts are not as tender or lumpy during this time of month.  If you have gone through menopause, do your exam on the same day every month.

First, lie on your back. It is easier to examine all breast tissue if you are lying down.

Place your right hand behind your head. With the middle fingers of your left hand, gently yet firmly press down using small motions to examine the entire right breast.

Next, sit or stand. Feel your armpit, because breast tissue goes into that area.

Gently squeeze the nipple, checking for discharge. Repeat the process on the left breast.

Next, stand in front of a mirror with your arms by your side.

Look at your breasts directly and in the mirror. Look for changes in skin texture, such as dimpling, puckering, indentations, or skin that looks like an orange peel. Also note the shape and contour of each breast. Check to see if the nipple turns inward.

Do the same with your arms raised above your head.

Most women have some lumps. Your goal is to find anything new or different. 

In Closing

I know my opinion regarding mammograms is wildly unpopular in the majority of the medical profession but I have found that conventional medicine is not always the best route.  My bohemian attitude comes from my experiences.  The best way to deal with health issues is to prevent them in the first place.  A proper diet that includes plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, less white in your diet (white bread, white sugar, white flour, etc.) and zero processed foods is the key to promoting good health.  

Disclaimer:  I am not a physician.  This is my opinion only (of course I feel like this is good information).  Please do your own research and draw your own conclusions from the research you conduct.  If you want to read more in-depth material, click on the links below.  The above information is just a summary.

Dangers & Unreliability of Mammography
A Study on Effectiveness of Screening Mammograms
Mammograms: What for, exactly?


  1. I think it just stinks that they only way the medical profession has found to test for breast cancer is using a tool that emits radiation. I can't believe no one has been able to develop a machine that can test for it in a less toxic manner!

    I do want to stress on thing that you said - when doing self exams, do them both standing up AND laying down. I'm very large-busted and I never found a lump just standing. But when I was laying down I felt it because the fatty tissue in your breasts spread differently than it does standing up. Very important for bustier women!

    1. Hi Jill, I agree with you, I wish there was a better way without all the radiation. With so much knowledge increasing daily you would think there would be a better way.

  2. Thank you for this information. It was very helpful. I've always wondered about that...