The most commonly used tool for detecting breast cancer nowadays is the mammogram. This tool provides the women around the world with the opportunity to get tested every one or two years as they enter later adulthood and thus detect breast cancer as early as possible.
However, even though the use of mammograms is encouraged by doctors, everyone should know that mammogram testing is not harmless. Actually, some medical experts think that mammograms are so dangerous as to even promote the development of cancer, because of the heavy amounts of ionizing radiation these devices use. By exposing yourself to a single mammogram testing you expose your body to the same quantity of radiation as 1,000 chest X-rays, which equals about three chest X-rays a day for an entire year, a quantity which surely gives one a pause if seen from that perspective.
Really, the top expert on cancer, Dr. Samuel Epstein says that the premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, and that each 1 rad exposure to radiation raises the risk of developing breast cancer by nearly one percent, with a cumulative ten percent raised risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.
What is even more important, as the New England Journal of Medicine explains, mammograms have an almost insignificant ability to prevent cancer deaths. A study from September 2010 has discovered that mammograms only reduced cancer death rates by four deaths in every 1,000 women who were tested on an annual basis for ten years, meaning that only one breast cancer death was averted per 2,500 women.
Nevertheless, the majority of the doctors won’t tell you that there is a safer and far more accurate alternative, known as thermography. This technique does not rely on radiation, but scans for heat levels in the body in order to detect inflammation instead. Actually, this technique is so safe that it does not represent any risk even to pregnant and nursing women. Usually, the cancerous and the pre-cancerous cells are characterized with inflammation before they grow visible on mammography. This is why we say that thermograms can detect cancer years before any other method.
Scientists have conducted a study on women who received regular thermogram screening over a ten-year period, and it was shown that an abnormal thermogram scan was ten times more reliable as a risk measure for breast cancer than the medical history of the family. Moreover, it was shown that thermography was the first detector of possible cancer for about sixty percent of the women who developed this disease.
Dr. Philip Getson, who has used the method of medical thermography since 1982, says that the thermal imaging detects alterations at cellular level. Numerous other studies have confirmed that this test can detect activity eight to ten years before any other test, which makes the thermography a unique method as it provides people the opportunity to see changes before the actual formation of the tumor. As studies have shown, by the time a tumor has grown to sufficient size to be detectable by physical examination or mammography, it has actually been growing for nearly seven years, achieving more than 25 doublings of the malignant cell colony. When it is 90-days old, there are two cells; when it is one year old, there are sixteen cells; and when it gets five years old, there are 1,048,576 cells – a quantity that is still undetectable by a mammogram.
Thermograms are way better when it comes to predicting the disease, but they are also much more accurate, as they are less likely to produce false positives. This is not the case with the mammograms. Mammograms are known for their false positive rate of six percent, meaning that it is a fairly regular occurrence, and this is likely to occur at least once for the greatest part of women who undergo annual or biannual screenings. This leads to additional mammogram screenings, which, on the other hand, leads to even heavier exposure to radiation, and what is even worse, to unnecessary surgeries.
To sum up, thermography is accurate and safe, non-invasive method. This method is normally used in the thermography testing centers in most of the major cities. Even though insurance does not typically cover this type of examination, it is relatively cheap – it costs approximately $250. Every person, regardless of their age, should take an annual thermography screening with this ultimate check-up tool.
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