Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
The Wise Woman Way

by Susun S. Weed
Paperback - 380 pages
Published by Ash Tree Publishing
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Chapter 5.

Mammograms -Who Needs Them?

Excerpt from Breast Cancer? Breast Health! By Susun S. Weed


Mammograms are inaccurate

Low-radiation mammograms are safer mammograms, but less radiation means a fuzzier picture. Standard x-rays-rarely used any more for breasts-create an easy-to-interpert high-radiation image. Xerograms use half that radiation, but are twice as hard to read. Film-screen mammography, the latest very-low-radiation exam, gives an image that's even more difficult to interpret. More than 10 percent of all screening mammograms done at one large center in 1992 couldn't be read and had to be redone.2

A 1994 study showed wide variation in the accuracy with which mammograms are interpreted. Understandably, those who read screening mammograms regularly are more accurate than those who rarely do; in some hospitals, however, work loads are so heavy that accuracy suffers from lack of time, not inexperience.

Roughly 8 out of 10 "positive" mammographic reports are "false positive," that is, a subsequent biopsy does not confirm the presence of cancer. And as many as half (10-15 percent at an excellent facility) of all "negative" mammographic reports are "false negative." 3

According to current data, if all American women 40-50 years old were screened yearly by mammogram, 40 out of every 100 breast cancers would be missed.4 If all women over 50 were screened, 13 out of every 100 breast cancers would be missed. Half of all breast cancers in women under 45 are invisible on a mammogram.5 Screening mammograms often miss the deadliest breast cancers: fast-growing tumors in premenopausal women.


Read the rest of Chapter 5 (click on any section below)

Mammograms - Who needs them?
All mammograms are x-rays.
Mammograms are inaccurate.
Mammograms can't tell if there's cancer.
Mammograms don't replace breast self-exams.
Mammographic screening increases risk of breast cancer mortality in premenopausal women.
Why I haven't had a baseline mammogram.
Mammograms aren't safe.
Screening mammograms lead to overtreatment.
Screening mammograms don't increase your chances of being cured . . . or of surviving longer.
Mammograms don't find cancer before it metastasizes.
Aren't mammograms life saving for women over 55?
Yearly screening mammograms aren't cost effective to society nor are they safe environmentally.
Is there a less risky way to participate in screening mam-mography?
Mammograms distract us from the need for societal commitment to true prevention.
Are there other ways to find early-stage breast cancers?
Mammograms don't promote breast health.
If You Decide to Have a Mammogram.

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