Mammograms vs. Thermography Breast Cancer Detection and Safe Alternatives for Diagnosis, Prevention, and Recovery.
In this article you will:
- Learn the difference between mammograms and thermography the risks and benefits of both tools
- Realize that the only way to confirm cancer is with a biopsy of tissue done in a laboratory
- Discover preventative measures that address the root cause of illness
- Lifestyle and dietary changes to prevent and support those with breast cancer
Mammograms vs. Thermography
A mammogram is an x-ray image, typical of investigatory procedures to reveal changes that can be indicative of diseases of the breast, usually those that are cancerous.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.:
Screening - used to detect and determine the presence of breast cancer in those with no apparent symptoms
Diagnostic - used after results from screening mammograms showing anything suspicious, or after an examination may show something suspicious that would warrant a mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms provide a "more detailed" picture of breast pathology, using "specialized" techniques. As compared to a Screening mammogram, a Diagnostic mammogram involves capturing additional breast images, from more angles
Signs or symptoms that could warrant a mammogram may include: 1
- Thickening of breast tissue
- Size or shape change of breast
- Breast pain
- Discharge from nipple
Mammograms usually are accompanied by an ultrasound procedure, a painless procedure used with a "reading" device applied directly to the skin, which uses sound waves to produce an image of the breast on a computer screen.
False-positive and false-negative results with mammography
Diagnosis with false-positive data can lead to over-diagnosis of breast cancer in individuals that result in unwarranted treatment of those representing low or no risk pathologies.
From the U.S. Preventative Services Taskforce (2016):
Rates of false-positive results:
(121.2 per 1000 women [95% CI, 105.6 to 138.7]) and recommendations for additional imaging (124.9 per 1000 women [CI, 109.3 to 142.3]) were highest among women aged 40 to 49 years and decreased with increasing age.
Rates of false-negative results:
(1.0 to 1.5 per 1000 women) and recommendations for biopsy (15.6 to 17.5 per 1000 women) did not differ greatly by age. Results did not differ by time since the last screening.
False-positive rates were higher for women with risk factors, particularly family history of breast cancer; previous benign breast biopsy result; high breast density; and, for younger women, low body mass index.
False-positive mammography results and additional imaging are common, particularly for younger women and those with risk factors, whereas biopsies occur less often.
False-negative rate results are low. 2
What are the risks involved in mammography?
Mammograms involve the use of ionizing radiation, which increase the risk of developing cancer.
In 1.8 million Norwegian women diagnosed with breast cancer between the years of 1987 - 2010. This study, published in The European Journal of Public Health in 2014 showed the following:
"The annual incidence of localized breast cancer among women aged 50–69 years rose from 63.9 per 100,000 before the introduction of screening to 141.2 afterwards, corresponding to a ratio of 2.21 (95% confidence interval: 2.10; 2.32). The incidence of more advanced cancers increased from 86.9 to 117.3 per 100,000 afterwards, corresponding to a 1.35 (1.29; 1.42) - fold increase. Advanced cancers also increased among younger women not eligible for screening, whereas their incidence of localized cancers remained nearly constant."
The data reveals that participation in Norway's breast screening program not only increased risk of diagnosis with early-stage breast 'cancer' by 221%, but also increases the possibility of diagnosis with advanced breast cancer by 35%.
This is a seeming contradiction to what would be anticipated if mammography detected malignant tumors earlier than without mammography, and would indicate that the appearance of more fatal and later stage cancerous findings would be less, not more.
The study's conclusion: "Incidence of localized breast cancer increased significantly among women aged 50 - 69 years old after introduction of screening, while the incidence of more advanced cancers was not reduced in the same period when compared to the younger unscreened age group." 3
From Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, Professor Emeritus of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the University of Illinois School of Public Health, an advocate and educator on natural cancer treatment approaches:
"The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each rad of exposure increasing breast cancer risk by 1 percent, resulting in a cumulative 10 percent increased risk over ten years of premenopausal screening, usually from ages 40 to 50 ... Furthermore, breast cancer risks from mammography are up to fourfold higher for the 1 to 2 percent of women who are silent carriers of the A-T (ataxia-telangiectasia) gene and thus highly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation; by some estimates this accounts for up to 20 percent of all breast cancers annually in the United States."4
John W. Gofman, M.D., PhD believes there exists no "safe threshold" for exposure to low-level ionizing radiation. The article "How Mammography Causes Cancer" published in Alternative Medicine, 1999 provides his data representing 40 years of investigation on the damaging effects that even low-dose radiation has on our bodies: 75 percent of breast cancer is preventable or avoidable by staying away from ionizing radiation in mammograms, x-rays and other medical and procedures. He also emphasizes that past exposure to ionizing radiation creates a susceptibility to breast cancer. 5 The Estrogen Alternative: A Guide to Natural Hormone Balance by Raquel Martin and Judy Gerstung
Because radiation exposure in the body is cumulative, repeated mammography poses an increased risk of the development of breast cancer.
Although current mammography recommendations now advise beginning mammography screenings at age 50, prior recommendations advised a younger age for screening. For more than five years, the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute advised mammogram screening every one to two years for women ages 40 to 49.
The impact of additional exposure to ionizing radiation is not without consequences. As well, those who have the BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility) gene are vulnerable to adverse impact of ionizing radiation from mammogram screening. 6 7 8
Compression of breast tissue and increased risk of cancer
During mammogram imaging, breast tissue is compressed between two plates to distribute tissue evenly and flatly. Modern imaging devices exert 42 pounds of pressure on breast tissue. The health risk associated with this compression is not insignificant; cancerous tumor tissue only needs 22 pounds of force to create rupture. Therefore, this procedure always carries the risk of spreading malignant cells into the blood stream due to rupture of existing tumors. 9 10
Prevention for breast cancer is overlooked
Preventative measures that would address the root cause of illness - in other words, what is causing the cancer to occur in the first place - tend to be overlooked or dismissed by conventional treatment paradigms. As such, conventional health authorities may view cancer as an "inevitable" disease caused by genetics and congenital defects that we have no control over.
However, preventing disease before it starts is not only preferable, but possible. Rather than diagnosis and treatment of the disease after it has already started developing, the opposite approach of prevention of and resolving and healing from cancer naturally is also possible. And this is true even if the patient is in intermediate to advanced stages of cancer. As we've seen in our own practice and clinic, addressing diet, lifestyle and environmental factors are effective means to prevent or recover from cancer.
Thermography: An Alternative to Mammograms
Thermography is an important risk assessment tool for diagnosis of cancer that uses no mechanical pressure nor non-ionizing radiation. The procedure detects heat changes in the body which can indicate lymphatic congestion and cancerous development. Thermography, also known as thermal imaging, uses a camera and digital imaging technology to convert heat readings from the body into an image.
Watch this interview with Dr. Ann Huycke and Dr. Karlfeldt for more information on Thermography
Note: Thermograms nor mammograms alone can confirm a cancerous diagnosis. The only way to confirm cancer is with a biopsy of tissue done in a laboratory.
Lifestyle and dietary changes to prevent and support those with breast cancer
Eliminate processed and packaged foods and prepare a majority of food and meals from scratch.
Include more plant foods that are sourced from sustainable and/or organically-produced farming practices.
Consume naturally-raised meats and animal products including grass-fed and finished meats, pasture-raised poultry and eggs, raw and cultured dairy foods (if consuming dairy) without antibiotics, hormones, the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and genetically-modified organisms (GMO). These foods are naturally high in Omega 3 essential fatty acids, an important nutrient for cancer-prevention, and one that the Standard American Diet is inadequate to provide.
Consider eliminating grains, especially refined grains. Grains that are not traditionally prepared as our ancestors did through soaking, sprouting and fermentation can cause or at the very least contribute to chronic and degenerative health issues.
Eliminate refined sugar and carbohydrates - sugar feeds cancer cells and is therefore an element to remove from the diet
Eliminate processed food products which contain harmful ingredients, additives, fillers, colorings / flavorings, chemicals and genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) that contribute to chronic and degenerative disease. Read labels on all food products. If you cannot pronounce something or don't know what it is, don't buy it!
Discontinue use of products containing toxins and chemicals including commercial cleaning, personal care and beauty products (clothing and dish detergent, air fresheners, dryer sheets, bathroom and kitchen cleaners, shampoos, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, perfume/cologne.
Obtain adequate sleep, relaxation, and stress-relief. Some of the most likely ways disease can take over in our bodies is when we are chronically over-stressed and receive less than optimal sleep. Retiring to bed before 10 p.m. most nights is recommended.
Make sure your sleep environment is clean and dark. Turn off and eliminate all possible source of lights and close blinds / curtains. Unplug and / or remove electrical, electronic and wireless devices from your sleep environment. Turn off cell phones, tablets, modems, routers and other equipment in your home. Our bodies repair and replenish during night-time sleep hours, and these devices have been observed to interfere with sleep patterns and cellular repair and maintenance in our bodies.
Obtain regular sun exposure to allow natural Vitamin D3 production in the body, essential for optimal health and disease prevention. Start with 15 minutes a day and work your way gradually to more (1/2 hour to 45 minutes daily).
Purchase or prepare your own fermented foods and beverages for consumption daily or at least several times weekly including sauerkraut, pickles, beet kvass, kombucha, dairy and/or water kefir, sour cream, yogurt and cream cheese from healthy animals raised on pasture (sourced from raw milk is optimal). Fermented foods have more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and probiotics and for optimal health for healthy digestive function and cell production, immune system support, and limiting of free-radical production which leads to chronic disease and inflammatory processes. In the store, look for organic products that use only salt for fermentation (vegetables) rather than vinegar, which is not true fermentation.
Focus on eating cruciferous vegetables due to their high content of nutrients including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin); vitamins C, E, and K; folate; and minerals and fiber. Some of their potential benefits include: protecting cells from DNA damage, inactivation of carcinogens, antiviral and antibacterial effects, anti-inflammatory, induction of cell death (apoptosis), inhibition of tumor blood vessel formation (angiogenesis) and tumor cell migration (needed for metastasis).
Eating a fiber rich diet can reduce the high levels of estrogen in the blood and can lower the risk of breast cancer by 24%.
- Supplement with iodine or eat food natural containing iodine can inhibit breast tumor development. There is a strong link between thyroid disorders and development of breast cancer. Both breast tissue and thyroid contain receptors for iodine. Intracellularly it acts as an antioxidant, prodifferentiating, anti-inflammatory, and proapoptotic agent necessary for health and cellular renewal.
- Consider camisoles or stretchy tank tops and similar support in lieu of a bra.
Some medical experts have suggested a connection between cancerous development in breasts and bra wearing, especially underwires. Bras can contribute to cancer by constricting and restricting delicate lymphatic vessels in breast tissue, which enable detoxification of those tissue areas.