How safe are mammograms?
From the News in Caduceus 97:
October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today the emphasis is on early detection and treatment but the latest science indicates that your annual mammogram may do you more harm than good, contrary to what women are constantly told by their GPs and the media.
…. The mainstream would have you believe that mammograms are the be all and end all of breast screening and that without regular, annual mammograms from the age of 50, you are at serious risk. Yet the science from even the likes of the Cochrane Collaboration does not concur, and what about women under 50?
The current science shows that the risk of getting a false positive from a mammogram is high and if you get a false positive, you will be sent for a biopsy. Apart from it being invasive, if you do have cancer, the biopsy may rupture your tumour and spread cancer cells. There is very clear evidence that this happens and it is not just a possible risk: it is a genuine risk of over-diagnosis and subsequent over-treatment. Study after study shows this, yet women are not being given sufficient information to make an informed choice about their screening method or what actions to take after a positive diagnosis.
It is very understandable why women feel that early screening is important. But mammograms become a form of invasive screening because of the sheer amount of pressure the breast tissue is subject to and the resulting risk of rupture to an undetected tumour. Plus, they are extremely painful.
Given clear scientific evidence that mammograms do more harm than good, why is there a cover-up about thermography as a safe alternative?
For the full report, see the current issue.
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