Breast cancer screening with mammography is used in conventional oncology to identify breast cancer in women who have no physical symptoms. It is hoped that finding breast cancer early will enable women to undergo less invasive treatments, with better outcomes.
However, there is currently heated debate about which methods should be used for screening, and how often women should be screened. A recent report showed that over 2 million women were misdiagnosed with breast cancer, leading to invasive chemo and surgery. Breast malignancy was diagnosed in lieu of benign breast tumors that are called “indolent” and that get resorbed. (Cf Source) Prudence is thus called for.
At present, the most commonly recommended screening method in conventional oncology is mammography. In integrative oncology, it is thermography. And in holistic oncology, it is self examination and lifestyle prevention. à
What is mammography?
Mammograms are images captured with X-ray technology to look for tumors or abnormalities in the breasts.During a mammogram, the breast is compressed between two plates and an X-ray is transmitted through the breast tissue. The images that are captured are called mammograms.
Some breasts have dense tissue that appears white on the image film. This can mask the presence of tumors, which also appear white on film.
Other breasts are made up of low density fatty tissue, which appears grey on the image film. It is much easier to see white tumors or calcium buildups on these mammograms.
However, different groups interpret the data in different ways. Some experts say that screening provides no benefit while others say that it does.
Those who say it does estimate that over the next 10 years, for every 10,000 women who get regular mammograms, the number of women whose lives would be saved thanks to the mammogram is approximately: 5 out of 10,000 women aged 40 to 49 years 10 out of 10,000 women aged 50 to 59 years 42 out of 10,000 women aged 60 to 69 years
The benefit of a mammogram is greater for women in high-risk groups, such as older women, or women with a history of breast cancer in the family.
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommend that only women aged 50 to 74 years undergo a screening mammogram every 2 years. Other organizations have different recommendations, as mentioned below.
There are some potential risks that are considered to be associated with mammography and mammograms. They include the following: They require repeated exposure to radiation, which may cause cancer if used over a lifetime. They can lead to non-invasive cancers being diagnosed and treated when treatment is not necessarily required. They are not as effective for women with dense breast tissue or breast implants. They can lead to women choosing double mastectomies as a preventive measure.
They have a high rate of false-positive results, which can result in unnecessary biopsies and additional screening. False-positive results are those that suggest that cancer is present when it is not.
In 2009, the USPSTF revised their 2002 suggestion of a mammogram every 1-2 years for women of 40 years and over. One of the reasons for this change was a number of studies that showed an increased risk of false-positive results when screening starts at a younger age or takes place every year.
The USPSTF now recommend that only women aged 50 to 74 years undergo a screening mammogram every 2 years. Although this advice is in line with that offered in many European countries, it differs with the recommendations of some other U.S. organizations.
The American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging both continue to recommend annual mammograms for women starting at age 40. The current guidelines issued by the American Cancer Society advise a mammogram every year for women of 45 to 54 years, and every 2 years for women of 55 years and older.
As has been shown, the heated debate concerning safe mammography policy and practice continues. In light of the debate, various emerging technologies are now being suggested as alternative options for breast cancer screening.
Thermography, also called thermal imaging, uses a special camera to measure the temperature of the skin on the breast’s surface. It is non-invasive test that involves no radiation. Thermography is based on two ideas: Because cancer cells are growing and multiplying very fast, blood flow and metabolism are higher in a cancer tumor. As blood flow and metabolism increase, skin temperature goes up.
Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI), a type of thermography used in the screening of breast cancer, uses an infrared thermal camera to take a picture of the areas of different temperature in the breasts. The camera displays these patterns as a sort of heat map.
The presence of a cancerous growth is associated with the excessive formation of blood vessels and inflammation in the breast tissue. These show up on the infrared image as areas with a higher skin temperature.
It is a non-invasive, non-contact procedure, which does not compress the breast. It does not involve exposure to radiation, and so it can be used safely over time.
It can detect vascular changes in breast tissue associated with breast cancer many years in advance of other methods of screening. It can be used for all women, including those with dense breast tissue and breast implants. Hormonal changes do not affect results.
It has a high false-negative rate, which can lead to avoidance of the standard mammogram as a woman may feel she has been adequately screened. It is rarely covered by medical insurance.
A false-negative result is one that suggests that cancer is not present when it is. It is important to stress the high levels of false-positive and false-negative rates, as there are other screening options available.
Ultrasonography and MRI are the recommended follow-up procedures when a woman has a positive mammogram. Ultrasonography is particularly effective for telling apart a solid mass from a fluid-filled cyst.
Small buildups of calcium are hard to see with just an ultrasound, so it is often combined with mammography for a more thorough evaluation of breast tissue.
A breast MRI uses magnetic fields to create an image of the breast. It is used to look at the size of the cancer, and look for other tumors.
Both mammography and thermography tests can suggest the presence of cancer, but only a biopsy can make a definite diagnosis. A biopsy removes a tissue sample for examination under a microscope.
To date there seems to be insufficient evidence to recommend the use of thermography alone for breast cancer screening. The American College of Radiology state that it “does not endorse thermography for detecting clinically occult breast cancer.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also warn that “thermography is not a replacement for screening mammography” and continue to recommend getting a regular mammogram according to the national guidelines or as advised by a health care professional.
However, the risks of mammography should not be taken lightly, and the search for new alternative methods of screening should continue. Whatever the screening options available, women should be supported in making informed decisions about how often they want to be screened, and which screening method is right for them.
Discussion and Tentative Conclusion
The FDA has cleared thermography as an adjunct method of screening. “Thermography devices have been cleared by the FDA for use as an adjunct, or additional, tool for detecting breast cancer.” However, they stop short of recommending it as a stand alone, citing the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The FDA also has warned that thermography should not replace mammograms. (2) The FDA has even pressured physicians like Mercola and others to stop promoting thermography. (3,4)
However, the FDA is a highly dubious organization with structural ties to the pharmaceutical and radiation industies, both of which have been involved in corruption and really bad science. (Source)
Thus, until there’s more evidence that the FDA is a responsible, competent and honest organization, the ACR institute recommends that women focus on a 100 percent holistic lifestyle, as this behavior system is the best prevention tool since it necessitates no testing at all. If the woman has compromised herself with the Government’s allowed polluting industries, then other tools than the mammogram to detect breast cancer, like ultrasound, self-care, thermography, CRP, CTC and genomic tests should be preferred. And when mammograms are used, to make sure the mammogram user uses as many holistic protection techniques as possible.
This is just the Institute’s evidence-based opinion. No one has to share it. All future cancer patients should consult with a medical team as varied and diverse as possible, if only because of conventional oncology’s dismal results and harm.
The very existence of hundreds of thousands of jobs (including mammography) and billions of dollars in the Cancer Industry is based on women getting breast cancer, including from over-diagnosis. In the last 30 years, two million American women were falsely diagnosed with mammograms, that which led to chemo, radiation and surgery. (Source) So now many of these women got cancer from the radiation and chemo treatment that was legally justified thanks to the false readings of the mammogram.
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- Commissioner, Office of the. “Consumer Updates – Thermogram No Substitute for Mammogram”.
- FDA Safety Communication: Breast Cancer Screening – Thermography is Not an Alternative to Mammography, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration June 2, 2011
- Commissioner, Office of the. “Press Announcements – FDA issues warning letter to clinic illegally marketing unapproved thermography device, warns consumers to avoid using thermography devices to detect breast cancer”. www.fda.gov. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
- Tsouderos, Trine (25 April 2012). “FDA warns doctor: Stop touting camera as disease screening tool”. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 8 January 2013.