It’s Pink Ribbon time when we are all urged do our best to walk and talk for a “Cure”. That’s right; it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month again. Never mind that the last thing the “cancer cure industry” wants is a cure for cancer. After all, cancer is the single most economically productive disease in the history of mankind. Never mind that valid, successful and inexpensive cures for cancer are ruthlessly suppressed by the cancer industry, including the shameful performance of my profession, organized medicine. Pink Ribbon Season means well crafted messages to maneuver women all over America to have mammograms and undergo dangerous and often unnecessary treatment for it in the common event that the diagnosis of breast cancer is wrong.
Breast Cancer is a largely preventable disease on an epidemic rise and is now the leading killer of woman between 45 and 55, according to Preventing Breast Cancer. The Story of a Major, Proven, Preventable Cause of This Disease. by Dr. John Gofinan. There is no doubt that finding and treating a malignant breast tumor early increases survival by at least 17 % according to the [highly suspect, Big Pharma dominated] American Cancer Society.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is, simply put, a corporate strategy , sponsored by, among others, Astra Zeneca, which makes Tamoxifen. Every word, walk and wink associated with the ubiquitous pink ribbon must pass their approval process. Perhaps you have noticed that, under their guidance, “prevention” has become “early detection” and early detection means, pure and simple, mammograms.
But do mammograms detect cancer? Well, no, not particularly well. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of all positive mammograms do not, upon pathology examination, show any presence of cancer.. How’s that? After an invasive technique like mastectomy (removal of a breast), lumpectomy (removal of a lump) or biopsy (sample material removed from the area for study), the false positive rate is between 70 and 80%? Right. But the cost is anywhere between $250-$500 per woman per year. You do the math. Industry can well afford to support those “Walk for the Cure” Events. Except they should be renamed “Walk for the Profit”.
Well, when a mammogram says there is no cancer, that’s correct, isn’t it? Actually mammograms are shockingly bad at finding cancers that really are there. Dr. Samuel Epstein in his book, The Politics of Cancer, notes that the false negative rate is, according to the National Cancer Institute, about 40 percent among women ages 40-49. The National Institutes of Health says that mammograms also miss 20 percent of malignant tumors in women.
But at least they can’t do any harm, right? Wrong. Mammograms currently deliver about 1 rad per breast per screening for a glandular dose of 0.1 rad per breast or a total glandular dose of 0.2 rad.. The National Cancer Institute estimates that each rad in a woman between the ages of 35 and 50 increases the risk of breast cancer by 1% so a bilateral mammogram each year increases a woman’s rate of breast cancer by 20% over each decade of screening! This is not a negligible risk.
But wait! There’s more.
Since mammography was introduced, Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS), the most common form of breast cancer has increased by 328% and 200% of this increase may be largely caused by mammography! Radiation, like that delivered by mammography equipment, is associated with sharp increases in breast cancer. In fact, Dr. John W. Gofman, an expert on the health impact of ionizing radiation, believes that 75% of breast cancer can be prevented by avoiding ionizing radiation altogether! Now, that’s good for us, but it’s not good for the people who make mammography equipment. Prevention is, unfortunately, very bad business if you make detection equipment or treatment options for a preventable condition like breast cancer. And there are a host of studies showing that mammography is, at best, a major question and, at worst, a serious problem.
Mammography also may spread existing cancer because, during the procedure, massive, and painful, pressure is applied to the breast. This may cause existing cancer cells to spread before immune processes can kill them (which a healthy immune system does routinely).
And, if you are unlucky enough to carry predisposing genes (Oncolgene A-T, BRCA1 and BRCA2), you are particularly susceptible to even small amounts of radiation and will perhaps be among the estimated 10,000 women who will succumb this year to breast cancer directly caused by mammography.
These are not unknown, controversial facts touted by obscure researcher. Dr. Gofman analyses NCI data showing that among women under 35, mammography can induce 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 it identifies. Canadian National Breast Cancer Study Canadian study tracking outcome showed that woman40-50 who had mammograms had a 52 percent increase in breast cancer mortality (that is, death) compared to similar woman who did not and that they were more likely to die of breast cancer if they were screened regularly than if they were not!
So what do I, as a woman, as a physician and as a health advocate suggest? First of all, I recommend finding, and using regularly, another screening technology called “thermography” which detects cancer sooner, far more accurately and with no harm at all to the body since it relies on heat emitted by your body and takes a sensitive heat picture of your body. Because malignancies grow extra blood vessels, they emit more heat so they are detectible early and without danger. So, from where I sit,
1. Women under 35 are not well served by mammograms as a screening tool and should not allow mammograms to be performed
2. Although the American Cancer Society advocates mammogram screening for woman 40-49 every two years, I suggest thermography, not mammography, for all women of all ages along with any one of several high sensitivity biochemical tests for cancer. Please note that many experts, especially those whose incomes depend, directly or indirectly, on mammography and treatment for cancers –even false positive cancers — do not agree with my conclusions. Although many experts feel that the risk of breast cancer for women under 35 is not high enough to warrant the risk of radiation exposure, many feel that for women over 55 the risk is high enough to warrant the significant risk of mammograms.
In 1997, NIH appointed a consensus panel to evaluate the risk of mammography. They found no evidence that mammograms for this age group save lives and may do more harm than good. Rather than coming to a conclusion, the panel advised women to weigh the risks with their doctors and decide for themselves.
I do not have mammograms. I also do not have the approval of the Pink Ribbon people to tell you this. (Tamoxifen is another, sad, deadly story. We’ll talk about it another time.) In the mean time, walk for a cure because exercise reduces the risk of breast cancer. Eat for a cure because sensible, natural diets reduce the risk of breast cancer. Laugh for a cure because stress and loneliness reduce immune competence. Pray for a cure because people with sincere religious convictions live longer and healthier than those without them.
Yours in radiation-free health and freedom,
Rima E. Laibow, MD