Mammograms – Screening Risks
excerpt from Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way
by Susun Weed
Available at www.wisewomanbookshop.com
Mammographic screening increases risk of breast cancer mortality in premenopausal women.A Canadian study of 90,000 women (published in Lancet, November 1992) showed a 36-52 percent increase in mortality from breast cancer in women 40-49 who had annual mammograms.
The Swedish Malmo Screening Trial (as reported in The British Medical Journal, 1988) which also included tens of thousands of women, showed 29 percent greater mortality from breast cancer in women under 55 who were regularly screened with mammograms. (Studies of women 50-59 showed no difference in breast cancer mortality between women who did and women who didn't have regular screening mammograms.)
Critics of these studies claim that newer mammographic equipment uses less radiation. This belies the point that mammograms are inherently dangerous. Orthodox medicine tells me again and again to overlook the harm that it has done to women and promises a future where the machines will be better calibrated and safer. But what of the harm that's been, and is now, done?
Mammographic screening is not and never will be a safe way to find breast cancer. Although safer after menopause than before, mammography is never without risk entirely.
Why I haven't had a baseline mammogram: The idea behind having a baseline mammogram-that there will be a norm to refer back to-is erroneous. Breast tissues are constantly changing as menstrual, ovulatory, pregnancy, lactational, and menopausal hormones change. Science, the constant straight line, meets woman, the ever-changing spiral. And younger breast tissue is especially sensitive to radiation. According to J. W. Gofman (M.D., Ph.D., authority on dangers of radiation exposure), a 35-year-old woman whose normal risk of developing breast cancer is 1 in 1500 increases it to 1 in 660 by exposing herself to the radiation of a baseline mammogram. The National Women's Health Network says baseline mammograms should be abolished.
If you've already had a baseline mammogram and now feel worried, make yourself a soup of lentils (to restore damaged DNA to normalcy), seaweed (to remove radioactive isotopes), and carrots (to support your immune system). Season with miso and tamari (to stop the promotion of cancer cells), and thyme, rosemary, and garlic (to further strengthen the immune system). Breathe in, relax, don't worry.
Cancer? Breast Health!
The Wise Woman Way
by Susun S. Weed
Foreword by Christiane Northrup, MD
380 pages, index, profusely illustrated.
Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy.
Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of
surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen.
Retails for $21.95
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What a gift to women of all ages! This
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