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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Mammograms and Breast Cancer: the failure of Conventional Medical Testing

The usual focus of this blog are Big Pharma drugs - mostly dangerous for patients, often ineffective, and usually extraordinarily expensive. So what about the various medical tests that conventional medicine uses routinely to discover what is wrong with us? Are they safe? Are they effective? And are there better alternatives available?

Conventional medicine has been subjecting women routinely to mammograms (to check for breast cancer) for many years now, particularly women over 50 years. Listening to NHS doctors we believe them to be safe, effective, and life-saving. The mainstream media (of course) do not tell us differently. So by regularly subjecting women to these tests, what do they get, and how do they benefit? 

As usual, it is the WWW that paints quite another picture, a picture that most women know nothing about. This Natural Health article outlines most of the dangers of mammography, the main one's being:
          * exposure to harmful levels of radiation
          * inaccuracy (including many 'false positives')
          * expense

The exposure to large levels of radiation means that mammograms have been found to cause the very problem they are intended to prevent - breast cancer! We have noticed this in other blogs previously, when talking about Big Pharma drugs. This Dr Mercola article outlines research that has demonstrated this danger, and also provides some detail about how this dangerous screening technique was originally approved by drug regulatory authorities.

Yet it is the large number of 'false positives' produced by mammography that is probably equally as concerning, not least because women who are falsely diagnosed with breast cancer then receive treatment they do not need, and which may well be detrimental to their health. That is, they receive more conventional medical treatment!

False positives, over the years, has also increased both the estimates of the problem, and the concerns generated about breast cancer. Nowhere is this more so than with the diagnosis of 'ductal carcinoma in situ' or DCIS.

               "Because DCIS is almost invariably asymptomatic and has no palpable lesions, it would not be known as a clinically relevant entity were it not for the use of x-ray diagnostic technology".

In other words, DCIS was once unknown prior to the introduction of mammography. The article goes on to explain why the condition is not serious, and certainly does not require the drastic medical interventions it now receives. Instead, it recommends 'watchful waiting', and does so on the basis of research that has shown untreated tumours usually regress when left untreated.

The Conventional Medical Establishment, supported by the silence of the mainstream media, wants us to believe that Mammograms save lives, through early detection and treatment, regarding the condition as 'life-threatening'.  But what is becoming clear, at least in non-Conventional Medical circles, is despite what we have been told for many years, is that mammograms do not save lives - or not many anyway.

The question arises, then - are there better, safer alternatives to Mammograms available? Watchful waiting is one strategy, but Thermography is another, outlined here as a safer alternative to Mammography. Yet if this is a safer technique, why is it not being offered to women by ConMed doctors, and the NHS? Why is there no choice?

So how long have we known about the dangers of mammography? I made the following notes from an article written in 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' in July 2005!!

          "Growing evidence from the US suggests that half of all diagnoses of breast cancer might not be cancer at all. DCIS ... is commonly picked up by mammograms, and yet the plain fact is that most DCIS does not become cancerous and if left alone will cause no problem at all. So if mannography is responsible for over-diagnosing breast cancer, is there a safer, more reliable way to screen for breast cancer? Thermography - which measures skin temperature - has not only been shown to pick up cancers eight to ten years earlier than mammography, but also does not expose the patient to harmful radiation".

One recurring theme about the practice of conventional medicine is that the dangers of treatments are often known for many years before any action is taken. And this seems to be so quite regardless of whether there are safer, more effective and cheaper alternatives. During these years, when dangers are known, but patients are not informed, treatments are accepted based on the assurances they are given. Too often, as in the case of Mammograms, these assurances are untrue, and not based upon good science, or good clinical practice.