Mammograms Can Reduce Quality of Life

Despite the widespread use of mammography for breast cancer screening, the number of women who die from this disease has increased steadily over the past several decades. In the 1940's, only one out of every 22 women lost their lives to  breast cancer, yet today the number has skyrocketed to one in eight. Mammograms have a questionable level of effectiveness and have  been known to produce a significant  number of false positive results which cause  many women to pursue  additional testing and unnecessary  cancer  treatment. As a result, regular mammograms are associated with an overall reduction in  quality of life for women.  Even if mammography actually does  reduce the number of breast cancer related deaths, alternative technologies  exist and  provide  much  earlier detection with virtually no associated  risk.

Radiation From Mammograms is Associated With an Increased Breast Cancer Risk

Various studies and reviews  including those conducted at  The Institute of Medicine (a non-profit  subsector  of the  National Academy of Sciences) have clearly linked radiation received during mammography screening with an increase in the overall risk of developing breast cancer. Risk is cumulative and is especially prevalent in women who begin  screening at an early age. The review concluded that at least 2,800 cases of breast cancer per year are directly related to  radiation delivered to the breast during routine screening procedures. Some authorities also question the safety of  breast compression which occurs during a mammogram, suggesting that the potential rupture of  small blood vessels surrounding undetected tumors may facilitate the spread of malignant cancer cells.

A High Rate of False Positive Results

Mammograms have been shown to produce up to  six percent  of false positive results. False positives generally result in women being exposed to additional screening/radiation followed by a biopsy, another  method fraught with false positives. Surgery,  chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments may be the end result; as many as 30 percent of women who undergo routine breast cancer screenings have  been shown to be  victims of  overdiagnosis  and  overtreatment. This  overtreatment  is the basis for  studies which have linked routine mammography  with unnecessary stress and  an overall reduction in  quality of life. The impact of stress alone  has long been associated  with an increased disease risk and a shortened life span.

Thermography  Coupled With Ultrasound as a Superior Screening Method

Medical Infrared Imaging, also known as  thermography, uses infrared technology to detect extremely early changes in breast tissue which signal the development of cancerous growth. This type of  screening shows  a 90 percent sensitivity rating (compared to 80 percent for mammography) and is unaffected by hormone use, breast size,  density or  a woman's age (unlike mammography). With no radiation or compression involved, the associated risks are essentially zero.  Thermograms  which reveal a suspicious area can be followed up with an ultrasound screening (another radiation free screening tool)  to further evaluate  areas of concern.  Because  thermography  identifies extremely subtle vascular changes, many women will have the option of making diet and lifestyle modifications to encourage the spontaneous remission of  early cancerous growth.

Nearly One Third of  Breast Tumors Disappear Without Treatment

Despite the perception that all cancerous tumors require aggressive  treatment methods to encourage their regression, numerous researchers have verified that nearly one-third of all cancerous growths within breast tissue  disappear  over time, even without treatment. A growing body of evidence suggests that the level of immune function exhibited by each  individual woman plays a critical role in whether or not her particular cancer will spontaneously disappear. Rather than resorting to the traditional use of radiation and chemotherapy, both of which  are  associated with a  decline in immune function,  should medical professionals  focus on  stimulation of the immune system as an alternative to more aggressive  cancer treatments? This, coupled with safe methods of early detection (thermography  and ultrasound) could serve to be a far superior method of breast cancer treatment.

Why Are Mammograms Still Highly Promoted?

Unfortunately, medical professionals rarely keep up with the science behind new and improved treatment methods for various diseases. Physicians have a tendency to remain set in older mindsets which can negatively impact countless numbers of individuals. In some areas, for example, women who choose to undergo  thermography  screening as an alternative to mammography are still forced to submit to a mammogram should they require the use of ultrasound technology  after receiving a suspicious result from their original  thermogram. This illogical treatment of patients may also be associated with  high payouts received from insurance providers for  traditional screening methods which are often followed by biopsy, surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation.

Where is the Line Between Informed Patient Care and Medical Malpractice?

The reality is that most women have no idea that a safe, superior screening method to the traditional mammogram exists. Those that are aware are forced to pay for the procedure out of pocket, as insurance providers do not yet recognize  thermography  as a valid breast cancer screening method. Ultimately, there is a fine line between informed patient care  and medical malpractice. If a medical professional is aware of a superior  alternative therapy but chooses  not to share this information due to the belief that it will negatively impact their bottom line, most people would agree that this is a form of medical negligence. Unfortunately,  such instances happen  every day to countless women seeking an alterative to the traditional mammogram.

Can Litigation Help Shift the Balance of Care  Towards the Patient?

There is much to be said about the amount of revenue generated from  traditional cancer patients  versus  those who catch cancer at an extremely early stage and arrest its development with diet and lifestyle changes alone. Today more than ever, consumers must take the time to independently research the risks and benefits of any medical procedure under consideration. Whenever medical malpractice is suspected, prompt action including obtaining the legal advice of a qualified professional  can make  the difference between receiving financial compensation and being left with a stack of medical bills. Personal injury and/or wrongful death lawsuits may also  encourage the long-term improvement in patient care and lead to better outcomes for all involved.

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