Mammograms are the standard tool to diagnose breast cancer, which the reason why women are advised to get mammogram testing annually or biannually as they enter later adulthood.
However, contrary to popular belief, mammogram testing is not harmless! As a matter of fact, some in the medical community consider mammograms detrimental to women health, promoting the development of cancer due to the heavy amounts of ionizing radiation. Only one mammogram testing exposes you to the same amount of radiation as 1,000 chest X-rays, which equals three chest X-rays per day for a year.
“The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening,” according to top cancer expert Dr. Samuel Epstein.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, mammograms have almost negligible ability to prevent cancer deaths. As found by a 2010 study, mammograms reduced cancer death rates by only 4 deaths for every 1,000 women who underwent the annual testing for 10 years.
The good news is that there is much safer and more accurate alternative. It is called thermography and unlike mammograms, it doesn’t rely on radiation, but on heat levels in the body. It is safe to use for everyone, including pregnant and nursing women. Cancerous cells are characterized with inflammation long before they become visible on mammograms, so thermograms have the ability to detect them earlier than any other method.
According to a study done on women who received regular thermograms screenings over the course of 10 years, abnormal thermogram scan was ten times more accurate and safer. Additionally, thermogram testing was the first detector of cancer for 60 percent of the women who were later diagnosed with it.
“Since thermal imaging detects changes at the cellular level, studies suggest that this test can detect activity 8 to 10 years before any other test. This makes it unique in that it affords us the opportunity to view changes before the actual formation of the tumor. Studies have shown that by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has in fact been growing for about seven years achieving more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony. At 90 days there are two cells, at one year there are 16 cells, and at five years there are 1,048,576 cells—an amount that is still undetectable by a mammogram,” according to Dr. Phlip Getson, who has used medical thermography since 1982.
In a nutshell, thermograms are better early predictors as well as less likely to produce false positives. On the other hand, the false positive rate for mammograms is 6 percent, meaning that majority of women who undergo regular screenings may become a victim of false positive rate.