You probably saw the headlines. On November 16, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government agency, recommended that women have fewer mammograms. It’s about time! I suggested this more than seven years ago! Unfortunately, these guidelines don’t go far enough.
This report concluded that women under the age of 50 who were asymptomatic and at normal risk for breast cancer needed no mammograms until they reached 50. Then they could have mammograms every other year instead of yearly.
Why the sudden change?
The agency based its report entirely on statistics. The task force found that early screenings don’t save as many lives as once thought. The breasts of younger women look white on a mammogram — just like tumors. While older breasts “read” grey, giving more contrast to tumors. Getting screened for breast cancer in their 40s leads to false alarms. False alarms lead to unnecessary biopsies. And those 10 extra years of mammograms beginning at age 40 bombards women’s bodies with harmful radiation that can actually contribute to breast cancer. Even getting a mammogram every other year exposes you to too much radiation.
So what should you do? Give yourself regular self-exams? Surprisingly, the task force says they have no value. Even the benefits from breast exams given by doctors and health care professionals are unknown and may not save lives. In fact, this report is filled with advice on what not to do. It says nothing about what you can do to lower your risk of breast cancer.
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I will be writing an in-depth article on this subject for a future newsletter, so make sure you don’t miss it by subscribing to it now by following this link. Meanwhile, there’s a more accurate way to diagnose breast cancer than mammograms. It can detect cancer before it forms — and it’s far safer than mammograms.
That diagnostic tool is breast thermography, or infrared imaging. It identifies and measures heat changes in the body. Before pre-cancerous cells become malignant, the tissues around them produce more blood vessels. They do this to get ready to feed hungry cancer cells. These additional blood vessels appear on thermograms as heat long before anything can be seen on a mammogram. You can get more information on thermography and find a thermography center near you by contacting www.breastthermography.com or www.breastthermography.org.
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Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand