Medicine Mum on Mammography: Do The
Math -- Think Thermography
October 23, 2000 from AlternativeMedicine.com
In September, a large-sample, long-term Canadian study
proved that an annual mammogram was no more effective
in preventing deaths from breast cancer than periodic
physical examinations for women in their 50s.
The study was co-authored by Cornelia Baines, a professor
of public health sciences at the University of Toronto
and appeared in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
In the study of almost 40,000 women ages 50 to 59, half
received periodic breast examinations alone and half
received breast examinations plus mammograms. All learned
to examine their own breasts as well.
By 1993, 13 years after the study began, there were
610 cases of invasive breast cancer and 105 deaths in
the women who received only breast examinations, compared
with 622 invasive breast cancers and 107 deaths in those
who received breast examinations and mammograms. "They
found smaller cancers, but ultimately the mortality
rate was the same,¹¹ said Suzanne Fletcher,
a professor of preventive medicine at Harvard Medical
School. She added that cancer screening programs are
built on the assumption that "finding it earlier
is finding it better. . . . This study questions that
In fact, truly early detection would be better, but
by the time a tumor has grown to a sufficient size to
be detectable by either a mammogram or a physical examination,
it has been growing for several years, and achieved
more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony.
As Alternative Medicine has maintained for years, mammograms
do far more harm than good. Their ionizing radiation
mutates cells, and the mechanical pressure can spread
cells that are already malignant (as can biopsies).
In 1995 the British medical journal The Lancet reported
that, since mammographic screening was introduced in
1983, the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS),
which represents 12% of all breast cancer cases, has
increased by 328%, and 200% of this increase is due
to the use of mammography. This increase is for all
women: Since the inception of widespread mammographic
screening, the increase for women under the age of 40
has gone up over 3000%.
Mammogram interpretation is often wrong. In 1996, the
journal Archives of Internal Medicine published results
of a test of 108 radiologists throughout the United
States. The test used a set of 79 mammograms where the
diagnosis had been verified by subsequent biopsies,
surgeries or other follow-up. The radiologists missed
cancer in 21% of the films, thought 10% of the women
with no breast disease had cancer and thought 42% of
benign lesions were cancerous.
Further, mammograms are not diagnostic and too frequently
lead to unnecessary breast biopsies, which are an expensive,
invasive surgical procedure that causes extreme anxiety,
some pain and often physical harm to many women who
do not have cancer.
According to the 1998 edition of the Merck Manual,
for every case of breast cancer diagnosed each year,
from 5 to 10 women will needlessly undergo a painful
breast biopsy. Statistically, this means that any woman
who has annual mammograms for 10 years has at least
a 50% chance of having at least one biopsy -- even if
she never develops breast cancer.
Why, then, does mainstream medicine keep recommending
mammograms? Do the math: a $100 mammogram for all 62
million U.S. women over 40, and a $1,000+ biopsy for
1-to 2-million women, is an $8 billion per year industry.
There is a superior alternative: advanced thermography,
which does not use mechanical pressure or ionizing radiation,
and which can detect signs of breast cancer years earlier
than either mammography or a physical exam.
Mammography cannot detect a tumor until after it has
been growing for years and reaches a certain size. Thermography
is able to detect the possibility of breast cancer much
earlier, because it can image the early stages of angiogenesis.
Angiogenesis is the formation of a direct supply of
blood to cancer cells, which is a necessary step before
they can grow into tumors of size.
Thermographic breast screening is brilliantly simple.
Thermography measures the radiation of infrared heat
from our body and translates this information into anatomical
images. Our normal blood circulation is under the control
of our autonomic nervous system, which governs our body
functions without our conscious will.
To screen for breast cancer, a thermographer blows
cool air over a woman¹s breasts. In response, our
autonomic nervous system reduces the amount of blood
going to the breast, as a temperature-regulating measure.
However, the pool of blood and primitive blood vessels
that cancer cells create is not under autonomic control
and is unaffected by the cool air. It will therefore
stand out clearly on the thermographic image as a "hot