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It’s hard to imagine a more backward, outdated, and damaging approach to detecting breast cancer than the annual mammogram. Place breasts between two plates, compress them hard (to the point of pain for some women), and douse with more radiation than 1000 chest x-rays combined (1 rad). All this … on an annual basis!
If you don’t have breast cancer already when you walk in the door, the chances are very real of developing it from repeated, annual exposure to this insanely high level of ionizing radiation! Worse, the vigorous breast compression actually encourages the spread of an existing malignancy.
According to Dr. Samuel Epstein MD, one of the world’s top cancer experts:
“The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure [per mammogram] increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.” (1)
Dr. Charles B. Simone MD, a former clinical associate in immunology and pharmacology at the National Cancer Institute, says:
Mammograms increase the risk for developing breast cancer and raise the risk of spreading or metastasizing an existing growth. (2)
The pure lunacy of mammogram screening is why I’ve never had one and never will, even though at my age, I am “supposed” to already have had more than ten!
So what does a well-researched woman who understands the dangers of mammograms do instead?
Thermography Not a Perfect Choice
Many women who have turned away from dangerous mammography are getting breast thermography instead. While this is a safe screening test, it is unfortunately not the perfect substitute for mammograms in all situations.
For example, if a suspicious area is noted during thermography screening, a woman still is forced to go get a mammogram to check it out further. This happened to me a number of years ago (story here).
At the time, I was bound and determined to avoid a mammogram no matter what. The only way I could manage this was to circumvent the system and have my (MD) Dad write me a script for a breast ultrasound only. Inexplicably, the vast majority of doctors won’t do this. Labs won’t do a breast ultrasound without a mammogram either – it’s such a racket!
The hospital radiologist who conducted my breast ultrasound discovered that the lump was just a clogged duct. But … she bullied me the entire time for skipping the mammogram even though there was absolutely no downside in doing so! In fact, skipping the mammogram and getting only a breast ultrasound on a yearly basis is the smartest way to go! It is also far less expensive than thermography.
HUGE Breast Ultrasound Benefits Over a Mammogram
It was astonishing to me the gigantic hoops I had to jump through and the doctor bullying I had to endure to get a safe breast ultrasound instead of a carcinogenic mammogram. The questions that swirled around in my head were:
Why are doctors and labs so aggressively blocking breast ultrasound as an alternative to mammogram as a first line diagnosis option?
Why are women forced to get a dangerous annual mammogram BEFORE they are permitted to get a safe breast ultrasound, which is far more effective at detecting breast cancer anyway particularly for the 50% of women with dense breasts?
You know the sad answer. Ultimately, it is a money thing. Mammograms make gynecologists and labs far more money than breast ultrasound alone. The fix is in when it comes to gynecologists, labs and mammogram madness.
Mammogram Monopoly is Starting to Crumble
The mammogram monopoly is starting to crash, however! Now any woman can choose to skip out on a dangerous annual mammogram and get a safe breast ultrasound instead.
Bonus: a breast ultrasound is far more effective at detecting breast cancer. So, the huge problems of false positives, misdiagnosis and overtreatment decline substantially too!
Best of all, you can NOW get a breast ultrasound without a prescription, which means you don’t have to beg your doctor to write you a script for one instead of a mammogram. Given my experience in the years since my Dad retired from medicine, you can do all the begging and cite all the research you want. THEY WON’T DO IT.
Mammograms are big business! If you want to avoid them, you are going to have to go a completely different route.
Here’s what I did. I discovered the company Herscan from a recommendation from an alternative physician. This company is FINALLY providing this long overdue service of breast ultrasound only without a prerequisite screening mammogram.
7 Benefits of Breast Ultrasound over Mammogram
Here are the 7 benefits of getting a breast ultrasound from Herscan and TOTALLY SKIPPING your annual mammogram – FOREVER.
- Breast ultrasound is painless with no breast compression. There is no radiation exposure, and it is implant safe.
- Your results are read by a Board-Certified Radiologist. HerScan Sonographers are Registered RDMS, and are highly experienced breast specialists.
- No Prescription Required!
- Breast ultrasound takes 15 – 20 minutes on average.
- Breast ultrasound is BETTER for ALL women, but most especially critical for the 50% of women with dense breast tissue. On a mammogram, dense tissue appears white and cancerous tumors also appear white making it nearly impossible to “see” the tumor. It’s like trying to finding a snowball in a snowstorm. Studies confirm that Mammography misses every other cancer in women with dense breasts.
- Powerful ultrasound technology can see breast abnormalities that cannot be seen by mammography or by physical exam. Ultrasound sees all the way to the chest wall!
- Breast ultrasound is about half the cost of thermography. No surprise that most insurance won’t cover it, but no worries! Herscan has a program to help women who cannot afford the test.
It’s time to break the back of the mammogram mafia in the United States. Women IN DROVES need to start opting out of these dangerous annual exams and take their power back by getting annual breast ultrasound instead.
Thank you to Herscan for this tremendously important, lifesaving service to all women! You can book your appointment today by clicking here.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist