Mammograms increase breast cancer risk

Women who start getting mammograms early because they’re at higher risk for developing breast cancer may actually be adding fuel to the fire. New research confirms what Dr. Wright’s been saying for years—that mammography increases the risk of breast cancer.

More bad news on the mammography front. And with everyone up in arms about women’s access to this “life-saving” screening being cut, it might be easy to miss. So, consider forwarding this email to the women in your life.

The latest to come down the pike is pretty scary, and only confirms what Dr. Wright has known for ages.

Who are the women most encouraged to get their yearly mammograms? Women with higher risk of developing breast cancer, right? In fact, women at higher risk start getting screened at an earlier age, confident they’re being proactive.

Well, it turns out this early screening could just be making things worse. Because evidence is showing that the low-dose radiation from annual mammograms may increase breast cancer risk (again, this is something we at Nutrition & Healing have been saying for years).

A new study, presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, showed that high-risk women (women who have familial or genetic predisposition to breast cancer) had an average increased risk of breast cancer due to low-dose radiation 1.5 times higher than high-risk women not exposed to the radiation. Women exposed before age 20 with five or more exposures were—get this—2.5 times more likely to develop breast cancer.

And I can guess what the line thrown at these women was—I’d bet any amount of money on it, in fact—”Good thing we started screening you early, so we could catch this cancer in time to treat it.”

Cancer she may not have had if she hadn’t been subjecting herself to that radiation.

There is an upside to all of the bad news coming out about mammograms— people are finally starting to discuss alternatives. Dr. Wright has written about several viable options in the past, and attention is starting to turn to a few others.

In fact, at the very same meeting where the mammogram study was presented, another was discussed. This one showed the benefit of ultrasound and MRI as methods of breast cancer screening—in fact, MRI was described as highly sensitive in detecting early cancers.

There are some drawbacks, of course. Both increase the risk of false positives, and MRI screening is expensive, but at least we’re pulling back from the sacred mammogram and discussing how we can really start saving lives.

Sources:
“Mammography May Increase Breast Cancer Risk in Some High-Risk Women,” ScienceDaily (www.sciencedaily.com).
“Annual Screening With Breast Ultrasound or MRI Could Benefit Some Women,” ScienceDaily (www.sciencedaily.com).