Tag Archives: mammograms

British Medical Journal Article: Preventing Overdiagnosis International Conference

sb10063567ai-001On May 29, 2012 the esteemed British Medical Journal published an article titled “Preventing Overdiagnosis: How To Stop Harming The Healthy“.

The opening paragraph of the article reads: Evidence is mounting that medicine is harming healthy people through ever earlier detection and ever wider definition of disease.

I wanted to share this with you because it’s my observation that a lot of women are going through a lot of disfiguring surgeries and treatments for things that may or may not turn into a problem later on.

Overdosed, Over-Treated, Over-Diagnosed

The BMJ article tells us that there is mounting evidence that too many people are being overdosed, over-treated and over-diagnosed. The article goes on to identify the phenomenon of over-medicalization, saying healthy people are increasingly harmed by a barrage of unnecessary tests, procedures and drugs.

The article was timed to promote a new international conference called Preventing Overdiagnosis, that will aim to better assess the problem and begin working on solutions.  Not a moment too soon, I say.

Research Claims Over Half of Breast Cancers Would Amount To Nothing If Left Untreated

What concerns me the most is that academics from Australia and Canada have claimed that up to 54% of breast cancers detected in women in their 50s by breast cancer screening would never have manifested clinically.  See this article published July 10, 2009 in the BMJ: Overdiagnosis in publicly organised mammography screening programmes: systematic review of incidence trends.

I don’t know about you, but if I were one of those 54%, I’d be pissed.  Especially considering the long-term effects of some of the treatments.

Action You Can Take

So what can we do about this?  The International Conference is set to take place on 10-12 September 2013, exactly one year from now.  Here’s a link to their website.  You can submit papers, sign up for updates and find out about attending the conference (to be held at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice in Hanover, New Hampshire).  You can also email any concerns to info@preventingoverdiagnosis.net.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey… and beyond.

 

Helpful Breast Examination Video & The Problem With Mammograms

nude with hands on breastsHelpful Breast Examination Video

I found a very well done video on You Tube today explaining the proper way to do a self breast examination.

I liked this video because it described what you should be looking for, things to be concerned about and things not to worry about.

Watch the video.

The Problem With Mammograms

The only thing that concerns me in the video is the advice to start getting screening mammograms at the age of 40.  There are many problems associated with mammograms and Dr Joseph Mercola (among others) has written an excellent article about that.

One of the main problems with mammograms is that they employ ionizing radiation at a relatively high dose, which in and of itself can contribute to the development of breast cancer.  Mammograms expose your body to radiation that can be 1,000 times greater than that from a chest x-ray.  This is not acceptable!

A second problem with mammogram screening is that it also compresses your breasts tightly, and if there are any cancer cells present, could also lead to a dangerous spread of those cells.

The third problem with mammography is its unacceptably high rate of false positives.  Read Dr Mercola’s article for more information on this – really important for you to know.

Thermal Imaging – A Much Better Solution

Dr Mercola and I agree that thermal imaging is a much better screening device.  When I lived in Australia, I went yearly to a Thermal Imaging Center and really loved the experience.  No squish!  No pain!  No radiation!

Thermography measures the infrared heat radiating from your body.  It can detect signs of breast cancer without the use of dangerous radiation or mechanical pressure.  Thermography can provide a picture of the early stages of angiogenesis — the formation of the blood vessels that feed a tumor.

See my page titled What is Thermography for more information.  I highly recommend you do an Internet search – put in your city name and “thermal breast imaging” to find a center near you.  Sometimes insurance pays for this – contact the thermal imaging center for more information.

The bottom line is this.  The medical establishment is going to continue to push mammography on us – despite its obvious safety issues – unless we, the empowered patients, insist on doing something different.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.

Do I Get a Mammogram This Year?

mammogramI’m really on the fence about getting a mammogram this year.

I’ve done so much research for this blog and the more I read, the more I question whether it’s really an advantage to me.

8 years ago when I first found the lump that later tests would reveal was breast cancer, I’d had a mammogram a scant 5 months prior and it didn’t show a thing.  How did it get from not showing up on a mammogram screening to a 2.5 cm lump in 5 months?  Why didn’t the mammogram pick it up?  Or did it really just “blow up” during those intervening (and stressful) months?

I really believe we need a test that detects the early signs of malignancy, ie what makes the cancer grow and become lethal.  THAT’S what we really need.

Mammography leaves a lot to be desired, I think, especially when you consider the dose of radiation you get when having one.  Plus there’s the problem of false positive tests needlessly traumatizing millions of women who are sent for unnecessary biopsies and other follow-up testing.

Fran Visco of the National Breast Cancer Coalition doesn’t think that pink ribbons and mammograms are the answer to ending breast cancer and I agree.  She recently stated, “Mammography, or any imaging modality, will never be the answer to breast cancer. It has inherent limitations that cannot be overcome. It simply finds some cancers that already exist.” Which of course, we do want – early detection seems to be an important factor in surviving this disease.  But they don’t necessarily save you.

The problem is that research shows that while the number of mammograms has dramatically increased in America, death rates have not dramatically decreased. The percentage of women aged 40 and older who reported having a mammogram rose from 29% in 1987 to 65% in 2008, according to the National Health Interview Survey.  The mortality rate from breast cancer has decreased by an average of 2.2% per year from 1990 to 2008, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s just not good enough!

There’s a very interesting article over at weeksmd.com entitled “Mammogram’s Role as Savior Is Tested“.  Check it out.

For myself, I much prefer thermal imaging (see my page “What is Thermography” on the subject).

I don’t have health insurance though, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be covered.  I believe thermal imaging is a much better diagnostic tool, but it’s not cheap, costing around $300.  The reason I like it is that it is much safer (no radiation) and it can indicate where a problem area could be occurring long before a tumor develops due to the heat signature of developing blood vessels (called angiogenesis).

Still haven’t decided what to do.  Your comments are invited.

If you’d like to stay connected, sign up for my free e-newsletters on the right, or “like” me on Facebook (MarnieClark.com) and I’ll do my utmost to keep you informed and empowered on your healing journey.