Mammograms -Who Needs Them?
Excerpt from Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
By Susun S. Weed
Mammograms don't find cancer before it metastasizes
Breast cancers generally don't begin to metastasize until they contain
at least one million cells. It takes an ordinary breast cancer-one that
doubles every 100 days-about six years to grow that large.17
(Some very slow breast cancers take 20 years to accumulate a million
cells. A very fast breast cancer can get there in a year.) But a million
cells is still only as big as the dot at the end of this sentence. And
that's undetectable by either touch or mammogram. (But not by intuition.
I've met several women who "felt" their cancers at this tiny
size but couldn't convince anyone they had cancer because the medical
diagnostic equipment, though technologically advanced, wasn't as perceptive
as their inner wisdom.)
By the time a cancer is big enough to be seen on a mammogram, it's
usually 8 years old, has 500 million cells, and is approximately one-quarter
inch (half a centimeter) long.18 It has
been large enough to metastasize, if it is going to, for a year or more.
(Some breast cancers never metastasize, no matter how large they get.)
Read the rest of Chapter 5 (click on any
Mammograms - Who needs
can't tell if there's cancer.
don't replace breast self-exams.
screening increases risk of breast cancer mortality in premenopausal
Why I haven't
had a baseline mammogram.
mammograms lead to overtreatment.
mammograms don't increase your chances of being cured . . . or of surviving
don't find cancer before it metastasizes.
mammograms life saving for women over 55?
screening mammograms aren't cost effective to society nor are they safe
a less risky way to participate in screening mam-mography?
distract us from the need for societal commitment to true prevention.
other ways to find early-stage breast cancers?
don't promote breast health.
Decide to Have a Mammogram.
more Excerpts from Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
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