Radiation combined with Radiation
Breast cancer is the leading cause of death among American women between the ages of 44 and 55. Dr. Gofinan, in his book, Preventing Breast Cancer, cites this startling statistic along with an in-depth look at mammographic screening, an early-detection practice that agencies like the American Cancer Society recommend to women of all age groups. According to most health experts, catching a tumor in its early stages increases a woman's chances of survival by at least 17 percent.
The most common method for early detection is mammography. A mammogram is an X-ray picture of your breast that can reveal tumor growths otherwise undetectable in a physical exam. Like all x-rays, mammograms use doses of ionizing radiation to create this image. Radiologists then analyze the image for any abnormal growths. Despite continuous improvements and innovations, mammography has garnered a sizable opposition in the medical community because of an error rate that is still high and the amount of harmful radiation used in the procedure.
Effectiveness of Mammography
Is mammography an effective tool for detecting tumors? Some critics say no. In a Swedish study of 60,000 women, 70 percent of the mammographically detected tumors weren't tumors at all. These "false positives" aren't just financial and emotional strains, they may also lead to many unnecessary and invasive biopsies. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of all positive mammograms do not, upon biopsy, show any presence of cancer.
At the same time, mammograms also have a high rate of missed tumors, or "false negatives." Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, in his book, The Politics Of Cancer, claims that in women ages 40 to 49, one in four instances of cancer is missed at each mammography. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) puts the false negative rate even higher at 40 percent among women ages 40-49. National Institutes of Health spokespeople also admit that mammograms miss 10 percent of malignant tumors in women over 50. Researchers have found that breast tissue is denser among younger women, making it difficult to detect tumors. For this reason, false negatives are twice as likely to occur in premenopausal mammograms.
Many critics of mammography cite the hazardous health effects of radiation. In 1976, the controversy over radiation and mammography reached......
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Danger and Unreliability of Mammography Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective, and Practical Alternative
by Samuel S. Epstein , Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D., GNSH and Barbara Seaman
Published in International Journal of Health Services, Volume 31, Number 3, Pages 605-615, 2001
2001, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.
Mammography screening is a profit-driven technology posing risks compounded by unreliability. In striking contrast, annual clinical breast examination (CBE) by a trained health professional, together with monthly breast self-examination (BSE), is safe, at least as effective, and low in cost. International programs for training nurses how to perform CBE and teach BSE are critical and overdue.
Contrary to popular belief and assurances by the U.S. media and the cancer establishment--the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and American Cancer Society (ACS)--mammography is not a technique for early diagnosis. In fact, a breast cancer has usually been present for about eight years before it can finally be detected. Furthermore, screening should be recognized as damage control, rather than misleadingly as «secondary prevention.
DANGERS OF SCREENING MAMMOGRAPHY
Mammography poses a wide range of risks of which women worldwide still remain uninformed.
Docs Tell Younger Women: Avoid Mammograms
Posted Apr 3, 07 8:16 AM CDT in US, Science & HealthPost
(Newser) – Forty-something women should consider skipping their annual mammograms, the American College of Physicians is suggesting after a new review of research. Docs point to danger from radiation and unnecessary biopsies, surgery and chemotherapy, thanks in part to a high rate of false positives. "We don't think the evidence supports a blanket recommendation," one of the authors told the Washington Post.
The guidelines contradict the advice of the American Cancer Society, which encourages women over 40 to get yearly mammograms. But the ACP's study, which reviewed the past four decades of scientific literature on mammograms, found that screenings might not reduce that population's breast cancer rate at all.