BREAST CANCER AND MAMMOGRAPHY
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by Steven Ransom
“Women who are concerned about breast
cancer need facts, not myths, to make their
own decisions.” — Irwin D Bross
A report from the American College of Preventative Medicine estimates that 185,000 women a year are diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.1And the Royal Marsden Hospital 2002 webpage on breast cancer reported that 28,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with this disease annually.
Before looking at the practice of mammography in more detail, let’s look at the practice of qualifying those statistics presented to us. There are more than enough doubts surrounding conventional cancer practice and especially diagnosis for us to pause a while and examine this area more carefully.
While it may be correct that 185,000 women in the United States and 28,000 women per annum in the UK are diagnosed as having breast cancer, how many of those breast cancer diagnoses are correct? And how dangerous is breast cancer anyway? Before coming to any premature conclusions as to the irresponsible-sounding nature of such a question, the following information on breast cancer is presented for the reader.
In a paper entitled “Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography; Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective and Practical Alternative”,the authors state that the widespread and virtually unchallenged acceptance of screening has resulted in a dramatic increase in the diagnosis of ductal carcinoma-in-situ (DCIS), a pre-invasive cancer, with a current, estimated incidence of about 40,000 US citizens annually. DCIS is generally treated by lumpectomy plus radiation or even mastectomy and chemotherapy. However, some 80 percent of all DCIS cancers never become invasive, even if left untreated.2
A report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, entitled “Over-diagnosis:an under-recognised cause of confusion and harm in cancer screening”, stated that mammography can detect cancers that often don’t progress.3