Mammograms -Who Needs Them?
Excerpt from Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
By Susun S. Weed
Mammograms don't replace breast self-exams
Women find their own breast cancers most of the time. (Ninety percent
of the time according to one English study.7)
Monthly breast self-exam (or breast self-massage) provides early detection
at lower cost, with no danger-and more pleasure-than yearly screening
Most breast cancers (80 percent) are slow growing, taking between 42
and 300 days to double in size. A yearly mammogram could find these
cancers 8-16 months before they could be felt, but this "early
detection" does little to improve the already excellent longevity
of women with slow-growing, non-metastasized breast cancers.
The 20 percent of breast cancers that are fast growing are the trouble-makers.
They can double in size in 21 days. Monthly breast self-exams are much
more likely to find these aggressive cancers than are yearly mammograms.
(A 21-day doubling cancer will be visible on a mammogram only 6 weeks
before it can be felt.) If you massage or examine your breasts even
six times a year, you can take action on fast-growing lumps. If you
rely on mammograms exclusively, the cancer could grow undetected for
In a recent look at 60,000 breast cancer diagnoses in the United States,
67 percent were found by the woman or her doctor -and over half of these
were not visible on a mammogram-while 33 percent were discovered by
mammogram. (This may seem like a substantial number of cancers found
by mammography, but the majority of them were in situ cancers, a controversial
type of cancer that may-but often does not-progress to invasive cancer.)
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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