It’s that time of year again. Everything turns a bright shade of pink and women are urged to get their annual mammogram.
Mainstream doctors will tell you a mammogram is the best way to save yourself from breast cancer.
The sad truth is that mammograms are a billion-dollar industry that does much more harm than good. Here’s what I mean.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at 32 years of breast cancer data. Its true mammograms increased early detection. But they didn’t reduce the rates of advanced breast cancer.1
In other words, doctors were finding more cases of “early cancers” that never progressed to advanced cancer.
But they found something else very shocking. Thanks to mammograms, 1.3 million women were over-diagnosed. In just one year, 31% of all so-called breast cancer cases weren’t cancer at all.
So the test turned 1.3 million healthy women into patients. And the cancer industry has to love that.
Another study found that for every 2,000 women who get screened for 10 years, one will live longer. But 10 healthy women will get surgery, chemotherapy or radiation for no reason. 2
But it gets worse. Radiation from the yearly mammogram ritual can actually cause breast cancer.
X-rays used in medical tests are strongly linked to breast cancer.3 In fact, some estimate that as many as 75% of breast cancer cases may be induced by radiation – including medical tests.4
You won’t hear that from the medical industry. They claim the risk of cancer from mammograms is very low. But in 2009, British researchers found the industry was low-balling the risk numbers. They said breast cancers caused by mammograms may be too low by a factor of four to six.5
In other words, the cancer risk from mammograms may be 400% to 600% higher than we’ve been told.
How can that be?
The industry calculates cancer risk as if it were caused by atomic radiation. But mammograms use “low-energy” radiation. That’s much more damaging to human DNA than the fallout from an atomic bomb.6
I’ve been saying for 20 years that it makes no sense to look for breast cancer with a test that causes breast cancer.
Fortunately, you do have safe alternatives. One of them is thermography.
This simple 15-minute scan is pain-free. It measures infrared heat in different parts of your body. Results are displayed as an image called a thermogram. The heat reflects signs of inflammation or blood flow. The patterns can predict where cancer has the potential to develop.
Mammograms are different. They can only tell if you already have cancer. Thermography can reveal a problem 8 to10 years before that or before you can feel a lump. Studies show it’s 10 times better at predicting breast cancer than your family history.7
Thermograms are also more effective for the 40–50% of women who have dense breasts. These women have more connective tissue that appears white on a mammogram – just like cancer. Tumors can hide behind this tissue and be missed on a mammogram.
They also reduce the number of false positives – reports of breast cancer where there is none. A 2008 study from Cornell found that these scans accurately identified 97% of breast cancers.8
I recommend thermography to my patients as an early-warning system. It can give you notice well in advance of a cancer diagnosis. It gives you time to change your diet, stress levels, exercise regimen, and environment. That’s the kind of prevention that really saves lives.
Your doctor probably never heard of this scan. To find out where you can get tested in your area, visit the International Academy of Clinical Thermology (IACT) or the American College of Clinical Thermology.
Thermography may not be covered by your health insurance. So if cost is a concern, check with your insurer first.
And you can call me old-fashioned. But I still recommend that women get a breast exam from their doctor once a year. A recent study of 40,000 women found that a yearly breast exam from a doctor was just as effective as a mammogram for saving lives.9
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1 Bleyer A, et. al. “Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence.” N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1998-2005
2 Peter C Gøtzsche, Margrethe Nielsen. “Screening for breast cancer with mammography.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009(4):CD001877.
3 National Toxicology Program. 13th Annual Report On Carcinogens. http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/roc/content/profiles/ionizingradiation.pdf#search=ionizing radiation. Accessed September 11, 2015.
4 John Gofman, MD, PhD. Radiation and Health. Berkeley Citizen.org https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wf4G0NRBfqY Accessed September 15, 2015.
5 G J Heyes, A J Mill, M W Charles. “Mammography-oncogenecity at low doses.” J Radiol Prot. 2009;29(2A):A123-32.
7 M. Gautherie and C. M. Gros, “Breast Thermography and Cancer Risk Prediction.” Cancer, vol. 45, no. 1 (January 1, 1980), pp. 51-56.
8 Arora N, et al. “Effectiveness of a noninvasive digital infrared thermal imaging system in the detection of breast cancer.” Am J Surg. 2008;196(4):523-6.
9 Anthony B. Miller et al. “Twenty five year follow-up for breast cancer incidence and mortality of the Canadian National Breast Screening Study: randomised screening trial.” BMJ 2014;348:g366