It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Dec 28, 2012

Mammography for Early Detection of Breast Cancer: One More Medical Hoax?

Doctors conclude mammograms offer no health benefits, whatsoever.
The Lancet

Mammography's so-called low-dose radiation may increase the risk of breast cancer.
International Journal of Cancer

Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the United States, accounting for 1 of every 3 cancers diagnosed. A woman's chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in her life is approximately 1 in 8 (12%). It is one of the leading causes of cancer mortality among women in the United States.

Because of early detection, intervention, and postoperative treatment, breast cancer mortality has been decreasing. For more than 30-years women in the US and their doctors have been conditioned to accept annual mammography screenings as a woman's best option for early detection of breast cancer. Until recently, the official science viewpoint was quite clear: the use of mammography for screening has been largely contributed to early cancer detection. However, modern studies question this statement validity.

Official USPSTF Recommendations

In November 2009, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) updated their recommendations for routine mammography screening for woman aged 40-49 years. The USPSTF examined the evidence on the efficacy of 5 screening modalities in reducing mortality from breast cancer:
  • Film mammography
  • Clinical breast examination
  • Breast self-examination
  • Digital mammography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
The USPSTF recommendations include the following:
  • The USPSTF recommends against routine screening mammography in women aged 40 to 49 years. The decision to start regular, biennial screening mammography before the age of 50 years should be an individual one and take into account patient context, including the patient's values regarding specific benefits and harms.
  • The USPSTF recommends biennial screening mammography for women between the ages of 50 and 74 years.
  • The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional benefits and harms of screening mammography in women 75 years or older.
  • The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the additional benefits and harms of clinical breast examination beyond screening mammography in women 40 years or older.
  • The USPSTF recommends against clinicians teaching women how to perform breast self-examination.
  • The USPSTF concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess additional benefits and harms of either digital mammography or magnetic resonance imaging instead of film mammography as screening modalities for breast cancer.
Screening Mammography

Mammography is the process of using X-rays to examine the human breast for different types of tumors and cysts. Like all X-rays, mammography uses ionizing radiation to create a film or digital image. The special wavelength of the X-rays enables mammography to create images of the internal structures of the breasts. As they pass through the breast the X-rays are partially absorbed by the different tissue densities they encounter. Dense tissue (fat) absorbs much of the X-radiation. Connective tissue is less dense and absorbs less of the X-ray energy. These absorption differences for different tissue types generate the images. Radiologists analyze the images for abnormal growths.

A Diagnostic Mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast of a woman who exhibits signs of possible cancer, e.g., a palpable mass (lump), discharge, positive breast thermography evaluation, etc. Abnormalities such as cancerous tumors, tissue masses, cysts, and tiny calcium deposits (microcalcifications) are usually visible. Diagnostic mammography is a valuable tool for locating suspected cancerous tissue, so that a biopsy may be performed.

A Screening Mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breast(s) of a woman without overt symptoms of breast cancer. The goal of the mammography screening is to discover cancer before it is felt by the woman or her doctor as a lump. The premise that screening mammography is a useful tool for the early detection of breast cancer makes no sense. Breast cancer takes years to develop, and a tumor that's big enough to be visible on a mammogram has been growing for years. It probably has already spread to other organs, and the 5-year survival rate at this point is only 26%. When mammography was first embraced by the medical community as a screening tool for breast cancer, its use was predicted to improve mortality by 25% - 30%. Unfortunately it has miserably failed to meet these expectations.

A 2000 study of 600,000 women aged 50 to 70 screened using mammography every two years showed the reduction in breast cancer death rate was only 1%. This discouraging result evidences that mammography screenings discover tumors when they are in the advanced stages of development, probably eight-years old, or older, and have likely spread beyond the breast. Screening mammography can also detect the presence of a tumor through inference by identifying clusters of microcalcifications, specks of calcium found in the area of a growing tumor. About half the cancers detected appear as clusters of these microcalcifications. Sadly, by the time the clusters are big enough to be considered serious, the cancer may have spread beyond the breast.

False Positives

A new groundbreaking study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) claims that 93% of "early detection" due to the mammography has no benefit to the patients. Study co-author Dr. Gilbert Welch reports: "We found that the introduction of screening has been associated with about 1.5 million additional women receiving a diagnosis of early stage breast cancer”.

As Dr. Welch's team discovered, there was virtually no reduction in late-stage breast cancer from all this "early" diagnosis, meaning that most women who were told they had breast cancer after a mammogram were being mislead. As he explains:

We found that there were only around 0.1 million fewer women with a diagnosis of late-stage breast cancer. This discrepancy means there was a lot of over-diagnosis: more than a million women who were told they had early stage cancer -- most of whom underwent surgery, chemotherapy or radiation -- for a "cancer" that was never going to make them sick. Although it's impossible to know which women these are, that's some pretty serious harm.

Who Benefits from Chemo, Radiation, and Cancer Surgeries?

According to these scientists, more than 1.3 million women who were told by their oncologists: "If you don't agree to treatment, you'll be dead in six months", were totally healthy. Under the threat of this fear, most women cave in and agree to start "treatment" -- often on the very same day they are falsely diagnosed. This so-called "treatment" consists of a highly toxic injection of deadly chemicals that the oncologist makes a small fortune selling to the very same patients he falsely diagnosed. Yes, that is sad truth. Cancer clinics and oncology treatment centers make huge profits on the chemotherapy drugs they sell to patients -- the very same patients they scared into treatment through a false positive mammogram.

Despite the near-total failure of mammography from a scientific point of view, the propaganda push for mammography is steady and growing. As Dr. Welch explains in his New York Times article: “...No other medical test has been as aggressively promoted as mammograms -- efforts that have gone beyond persuasion to guilt and even coercion ("I can't be your doctor if you don't get one"). And proponents have used the most misleading screening statistic there is: survival rates. A recent Komen foundation campaign typifies the approach: In short, tell everyone they have cancer, and survival will [statistically] skyrocket”.

By the way, did you know that Komen for the Cure is funded by mammography companies (DuPont, Monsanto and GE) and some drug companies? Go to the website and just take a look at who their sponsors are you may change who you are doing business with. Huge amounts of money is raised through Run For the Cure races that are in turn used for free mammography screenings that in turn bring in more money to be made in the form of over diagnosis and the mammography machines themselves cause breast cancer by the large amount of ionizing radiation it produces during the scan.

Good and Bad

The statistical data is quite clear: The risk of dying from breast cancer by receiving a mammogram is only .07%, that’s seven out of 10,000 women. Not that these seven women out of 10,000 are not important, but it’s not compelling proof that mammography is useful, since Mammography companies are plainly ignoring the damage done by screening.
  • Between 20-50% of women tested over a decade of their life will have at least one false biopsy.
  • Screening results in over diagnosis. For every life saved 2 to 10 women are over diagnosed.
  • Women who are over diagnosed cannot benefit from chemo, radiation or surgery. All they experience is concluded in health damaging, unnecessary toxic poisoning from chemotherapy. Yes, chemotherapy causes, heart, lung, liver, and kidney damage.
  • Mammograms cause harm to 10 women for every 1 they help.
Radiation Risks Using Mammography

The X-rays used for mammography are longer wavelength than the X-rays used for other examinations, e.g., chest X-rays. Mammography's special X-rays are absorbed by tissue much more readily than traditional X-rays. The more radiation that's absorbed, the more potential there is for tissue damage. The "Mammogram Industry" promotes the procedure as low-dosage mammography, but the reality is that mammography's special X-rays are the equivalent of 1000 standard X-rays.

According to one former director of The National Cancer Institute (NCI), in women between the ages of 35 and 50, each exposure to today's "low-dosage" X-radiation from mammography increased the risk of breast cancer by 1%. Other experts claim 2%. So, the 40-year old woman who has a mammogram each year for ten years increases her risk of developing breast cancer by 10% to 20%. The risk of radiation is apparently higher among younger women. The NCI released evidence that, among women under 35, mammography could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 it identifies. A Canadian study found a 52% increase in breast cancer mortality in young women given annual mammograms.

Since mammography screening was introduced in the early 1970's, the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ, a form of breast cancer, has increased by 328%. Of this increase 200% is alleged to be due to mammography screenings. Cancer research has also found that a high percentage of women in the United States have a gene, oncogene AC, that is extremely sensitive to even small doses of radiation. Researchers estimate that 10,000 of these gene carriers will die of breast cancer this year due to the radiation from screening mammography.


The conclusion from the study authors is simple and straightforward: “Despite substantial increases in the number of cases of early-stage breast cancer detected, screening mammography has only marginally reduced the rate at which women present with advanced cancer. Although it is not certain which women have been affected, the imbalance suggests that there is substantial over-diagnosis, accounting for nearly a third of all newly diagnosed breast cancers, and that screening is having, at best, only a small effect on the rate of death from breast cancer”.

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