Breast Cancer-The Risks of Mammography

by , under Breast Cancer, Contemporary Cancer Topics, Conventional Treatments, The Cancer Industry

There have been reports and articles that discuss the practice of mammography.  It is alleged that there has been overscreening for breast cancer and conflicts of interests on major boards.  Five radiologists have served as presidents of the American Cancer Society (ACS).  The ACS has a great tendency to promote the interests of the manufacturers of mammogram devices and films, which included Siemens, Piker, General Electric, DuPont and Eastman Kodak.

Dr. Samuel S. Epstein and Rosalie Bertell, Ph.D report that the mammography industry conducts research for the ACS and its grantees, serves on advisory boards, and makes large donations to it.  They do all sorts of promotional things for ACS.  In short, ACS is very strongly linked with the mammography industry, while attacking and ignoring breast self examination, procedures that don’t produce profits for the cancer industry.

While ACS promotes mammography as a valuable diagnostic procedure that is the best way to fight breast cancer, the truth is that mammography actually exposes to high doses of radiation, and may be a source of cancer.  Drs. Epstein and Bertell report that if a woman follows the current mammography recommendations, over a 10 year period she would receive a total of 5 rads, which is about the same level of radiation exposure that Japanese women one mile from the center of the atom bomb drops on Hiroshima or Nagasaki.

We must remember that the mammography screening industry is a multibillion dollar business.  It attracts the attention of legislators and women’s product corporations so that they can appear to be socially conscious while they avoid discussing truly effective ways to minimize the risks of breast cancer.  Screening mammography should probably be phased out in favor of annual clinical breast examinations by trained nurses.  This would be a cheaper, more effective, more safe alternative to mammography screening, according to Epstein and Bertell.

This is just another example of how financial considerations are more important to the leaders of institutions than the realities.  If there is a choice between maximizing profits and status, and maximizing the health of patients, the preference is always to maximize the profits for corporate interests.  This is a common pattern that I have observed in my study of the medical industry.  They then work to adjust the data to support the profitable action.  This could be termed “financial expediency.”

  1. Suzanne Arena

    I was glad to read this exposure to the conflicted information, which as you point out has those that are the manufacturers benefit and take very good care of the health industry to ensure they continue using Mammograms. Unfortunately, the Health Coverage Industry do not cover Thermography and MRI’s for the alternative. Mammograms are NOT recommended when you do the research. I am not having them done anymore, but choosing the alternatives. American College of Physicians, however, made recommendations similar to the USPS a couple of years ago and the National Breast Cancer Coalition has routinely warned women of the limitations and potential for harm that mammograms hold. AND United States Preventive Services (USPS) Task Force recently released a recommendation that women in their 40’s should NOT have yearly mammograms. This recommendation obviously conflicts with those of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other groups. Mammograms expose your body to radiation 1,000 times greater than a chest x-ray. Alternative Medicine magazine says, “Their ionizing radiation mutates cells, and the mechanical pressure can spread cells that are already malignant (as can biopsies).”

    OPTIONS: Thermography is a safe alternative to Mammography and MRI

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