Is a Mammogram the Only Way? Are there other options?

By Barbara Cunnings-Versaevel
This is a very touchy subject, especially at this time of year – Cancer Month. Mammograms have been promoted as the first line of defense in early detection of cancer cells. Women are encouraged to start having mammograms as early as age 40 to create a baseline reading.

If you’ve been reviewing any of the literature and studies about mammograms, you might be thinking twice about whether they are your test of choice. Some questions come up about whether they –
a) Do in fact detect early signs of breast cancer – many women have dense breasts which are extremely difficult to read. My case in point. I could see and feel my lump, yet it didn’t show up on a mammogram. This was in 1990.
b) Give accurate readings. There is evidence to show that there are many cases of false positives causing women to go through unnecessary and painful biopsies and further procedures.
c) Are safe given the level of radiation to the breast tissue. Radiation is known to cause cancer.
d) Cause more harm by compressing the breast tissue. What happens if there is indeed a tumor in the breast? Does the compression cause more damage and lead to spread of the cancer cells.
This alerts me to the importance of being informed. Do the research. Check out the options and then decide if a mammogram is the way you want to go. Don’t be led by all the promotion from all the various cancer agencies, not to mention your doctor. You may still go ahead with a mammogram, but if you do, it will be your choice.

To get you thinking, here is a study that was published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute – http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/101/3/205.abstract.

There is so much conflicting information out there that it is difficult to determine the correct path, especially when you factor in fear. Fear of getting cancer. And who isn’t afraid of getting cancer. It is rampant in our society.

Are there other options? Yes!

There are two other options to research and consider – ultrasound and thermography.

Neither of these methods will squeeze your breast and expose it to radiation. They are also able to detect any abnormalities in your breast.

If you have been listening to The Truth About Cancer documentary series (www.thetruthaboutcancer.com) which I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, some very interesting facts are emerging from reputable sources. It’s hard to dispute these facts which throw a different light on some of the current practises for cancer treatment and screening.

1. Ultrasound – here is an explanation from WebMD

Breast ultrasound is a procedure that may be used to determine whether a lump is a cyst (sac containing fluid) or a solid mass which might be cancer. If the lump is found to be a cyst, fluid is typically withdrawn from it using a needle and syringe (a process called aspiration). If clear fluid is removed and the mass completely disappears, no further treatment or evaluation is needed.

Ultrasound can also be used to precisely locate the position of a known tumor to help guide the doctor during a biopsy or aspiration procedure. Ultrasound helps confirm correct needle placement.

Ultrasound testing works by transmitting high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, through the breast. The sound waves bounce off surfaces in the breast (tissue, air, fluid) and these “echoes” are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images.

Are There Side Effects From Breast Ultrasound?

Studies have shown that breast ultrasound is safe. There are no harmful side effects. Ultrasound does not use radiation, as X-rays do.

 

2. Thermography

In doing the research, I see a lot of conflicting information. It is hard to know whether this is information shared to ensure that women have mammograms thus following the traditional model of cancer care or not. As with all new – or old – technologies that fly outside the allopathic health model, what was once thought of as ‘outside of the box’ are eventually considered ‘inside the box’ down the road. I have seen these changes many times over the 24 years since my diagnosis and treatment.

How does thermography work?

Thermography uses infrared thermal imagining – much like the night vision goggles developed initially by the military to see movement inside buildings.  Used in screening for breast cancer, it can detect blood flow changes within breast tissue. It will detect hot spots or problem areas much earlier than can be detected with a mammogram. It is non-invasive, uses no radiation, and thankfully is pain free.

There is evidence that a cancer cell takes 8 – 10 years to develop before it shows up. I heard this from my surgeon when I was diagnosed. So detecting a hot spot in these years before a lump is evident can help an individual do something about it earlier. It can give that person the option to use less invasive and more natural ways of healing.

So now that I’ve stirred the pot, what will you do? We all have choices. We are all capable of doing our own research and making informed decisions on how we want our bodies to be treated. Some of us are happy with the system as it is. Some of us are not. We are all entitled to our opinions and choices.

As I’ve stated many times, it is my intent to provide you with information. You can take it from here. Please share your thoughts with us here. We all learn from each other and our experiences.

My biggest wish is that you will get well, that one day there will be no cancer, and that we can live long and healthy lives well into our senior years.

Maybe we can be an Olga. Who is Olga? You might be interested in reading ‘What Makes Olga Run?: The Mystery of the 90-something Track Star and What She Can Teach Us About Living Longer, Happier Lives’. It was recommended to me by one of my class participants. I’m almost finished reading it – totally fascinating. You can read about Olga here and then get the book. Lots of food for thought!

To being informed,
Barbara
 

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