A recent study shows mammograms are not the be all and end all. That in fact, they cause over diagnosis in 22% of woman. What does this mean? Read on.
The actual Medical Jargon version of the study is here: Twenty Five year Follow Up for Breast Cancer
And the Time article here: do-mammograms-save-lives-hardly-a-new-study-finds
My sister recently went for a mammogram at Mercy Hospital in Auckland and ask the radiologist attending her their opinion on this latest information. It was "it has been totally discredited". How is this possible? has another rigorous, large, thorough 25 year study in 89,000 women also just been completed that disagrees? Probably not. This is just the kind of thing people inside the hospital system say to keep you calm and compliant. They don't wish to deviate from the corporation's current by line.
My opinion is that medical staff are only people and they are just doing their job and trying to make it simple. They are not paid to say "actually, manual checks by a doctor are just as effective as mammograms". Or "reducing your alcohol to one drink a week, or better still, none" will massively reduce your chances of recurrence.
Don't believe everything you hear. DO your own research and reading, especially the technical doctor stuff, like actual studies as above. Be armed with knowledge and don't be bull-dozed. They gave it a pretty shot at bull-dozing me.
In New Zealand within the last two weeks it has been announced that discovery of breast cancer is at an all time high. Are we getting sicker? are our bodies being poisoned by insecticides? Is it our drinking culture? Maybe all of the above, but also the use of mammograms is adding that 22% in over diagnosis, as per the above articles.
The actual DISADVANTAGE of mammograms is large. Of the two groups far more women had surgery, tamoxifen, radiotherapy and chemotherapy that were in the mammogram group, for tiny difference in long term outcome in lives lost. But yes, that may be your life, or my life.
You see, manual checks may find a cancer slightly later than a mammogram, but those are the ones that are "doing something", they have gotten to the stage where they need removal if you can feel them. Mammograms find pre-cancers and cancers that may never threaten the life of the woman, and may even disappear by themselves, as well as dangerous cancers. This is a known fact but not well publicized that many cancers go away by themselves. Look it up. Manual checks also find less dangerous cancers, but its the earlier stage found by mammograms that is increasing the amount of treatment.
An interesting thing about breast cancer is "environment". You can read about this in the Susan Love books on breast cancer. "Environment" is the surrounding tissue. Its like a bad kid in a good area (I have covered this before). The "bad kid" can be influenced by the "neighbourhood" and may simply improve and become part of the good neighborhood. Cancer is something the surrounding cells can often fix. There has to be many failures in the body's mechanisms before cancer can become serious and take hold. I think ethylaldehyde, the toxic product of alcohol, for example, would contribute to a degraded neighborhood.
Every single case of cancer is different to another though. Just read up, don't believe everything doctors say. Online medical articles are an excellent source of information, so freely available on this wonderful thing called the internet.
So a lot of cancers are being found and treated, so the breast cancer rates look great. Just remember the price is an awful lot of unnecessary surgery, radiotherapy etc., Those that have problems caused by the treatments wind up in other departments, therefore not messing with the breast cancer stats. Many women do feel the additional treatment is worth it though. There is no harm in awareness and being able to look at both sides though.
Please see my previous blogs for more detail on the above. This is just a small update.