I’ve seen news reports in recent weeks saying the science on mammograms is “confusing,” “mixed,” and “muddled.”
You have to wonder what science they’re looking at — because the studies I’ve seen are clear as day: Mammograms can hurt women, and not just some of the time.More than 1.3 million women have gone through the torture of toxic drugs, poisonous radiation, and disfiguring surgeries to treat harmless tumors that would have remained harmless if they had just been left alone, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Now, you might be wondering how they can know these cancers would have remained harmless. And the answer — the clear answer — is in the numbers themselves.
Between 1976 and 2010, widespread use of mammograms more than doubled the rate of detection and treatment for breast cancer, from 112 cases per 100,000 women to 234 cases per 100,000 women.
But the death rate didn’t drop by half. In fact, it barely fell it all — and the researchers say even that modest dip is more the result of better treatment than any increase in detection.
So there’s no confusion when it comes to the science.
The only thing “mixed” or “muddled” here is the message — because despite the clear evidence against mammograms, despite the 1.3 million unnecessary treatments, women are still being told to get screened regularly.
And that mixed message means at least 70,000 women can expect to undergo unnecessary treatments for breast cancer just this year alone, according to the study.
Mainstream doctors will shrug at these numbers and say they don’t have a choice. They’ll tell you they don’t know which tumors will turn out to be deadly and which ones won’t, so they have to treat all of them like potential killers.
They’ll even admit that mammograms aren’t great — but they’ll claim it’s the best screening we have, so we have to keep using them.
But I think that’s a cop out.
There are other ways to screen for breast cancer — including radiation-free procedures such as ultrasound and MRI. And when tumors are found, there are often better ways to treat them than drugs or surgery, including the very real option of no treatment at all.
A holistic physician can help you through the process and work with you to decide the best options for you.
And for more on a breast cancer risk factor that could come from your own doctor’s office, keep reading.