This year, the biggest and longest studies of mammography of all times, which followed 90,000 women for 25 years, showed that the procedure has no effect on breast cancer mortality.
During the study, researchers found that the death rate was identical in all women, the ones who received mammography, and the ones that did not, and even 22% of screen-detected invasive breast cancers were over-diagnosed, leading to unnecessary treatment. Therefore, their conclusion was that “the data suggest that the value of mammography screening should be reassessed.”
The same conclusion, that mammography screening does not affect overall mortality was brought by the researchers in the Cochrane Collaboration review. Therefore, there is a serious concern that this screening does not actually benefit women.
The recommendations by public health agencies are slowly updated as well. The American Cancer Society suggests annual mammograms for average-risk women beginning at the age of 40, and the US Preventive Services Task Force advises annual mammograms after the 50th year.
Due to all this, women are confused whether mammography is harmful or not, so this year, the Swiss Medical Board made a clear-cut recommendation: no more systematic mammography.
Namely, they examined available evidence for a year, and findings made this independent health technology assessment initiative “increasingly concerned”, as they found that no evidence showed that mammograms were safe or that they saved lives.
On the other hand, this screening was able to prevent only one death for every 1,000 women screened, and caused harm in the rest. Hence, they recommended that women avoid mammograms and existing programs should be significantly altered.
Their report was published in February 2014, they stated that women should be well informed about the benefits and harm of this procedure.
Yet, numerous women are not aware of the fact that there is a lack of scientific studies which support the health benefits of mammograms. Furthermore, they are even led into thinking that skipping their annual mammogram is extremely irresponsible.
On the other hand, numerous doctors are thus manipulated about the cancer prevention as well, as media propaganda and the cancer industry think about the financial profits, and ignore research findings.
Therefore, you should know before your next or fist mammogram:
- Mammograms offer fewer benefits that you may think
One survey showed that women believe that it lowered the risk of breast cancer death by at least half, and prevented over 80 deaths per 1,000 women screened. Actually, mammography at best offers a reduction of the risk of 20% and prevent in absolute terms only one breast-cancer death per 10,000 women.
- Mammography may raise the risk of breast cancer in women with a BRCA 1/2 Mutation:
The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published findings which state that in the case of a specific gene mutation called BRCA1/2 (related to breast cancer), women are prone to radiation-induced cancer.
Women with this mutation who were exposed to diagnostic radiation before the age of 30 had a double increased risk of developing breast cancer, compared to the ones that did not have the mutated gene. Researchers also discovered that radiation-induced cancer was dose-responsive, so the risk increases with the dose.
- Frequent False Positives
In America, the possibility of getting a false-positive test over 10 mammograms is an alarming 58 percent to 77 percent! These results lead to stress, anxiety, and psychological distress, as well as more unnecessary tests, surgery, biopsy.
- Mammograms may be ineffective in the case of dense breasts
Over half of the women have dense breast tissue, so mammography faces difficulties in deciphering. As x-rays show dense breast tissue and cancer white, a radiologist cannot detect cancer.
The law for breast density has been passed in New York, California, Virginia, Connecticut, and Texas, so radiologists must inform patients with this kind of tissue that the screening is likely to provide absolutely no effects. Also, this law is also considered to be passed at a federal level.
- Other Screening Options
You have the right to choose between other screening options as well, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. Yet, you need to remember that cancer can be confirmed by biopsy only.
The waist size is related to the breast cancer risk
Mammography is not the same as prevention, so if you are trying to avoid this deadly disease, you should focus on its prevention indeed, which is not an early detection. One way to prevent it is to maintain a healthy body weight, especially a healthy size of your waist.
Research has conducted on 93,000 mostly overweight post-menopausal women, showed that, even though researchers measured their overall health, and cancer status as well, their skirt size (which served as a gauge of waist size) was strongly related to breast cancer risk.
According to TIME:
“An increase in skirt size was the single most predictive measure of breast cancer risk, the study concluded.
When women went up a single skirt size over a 10-year span between their mid-20s and mid-60s, they were shown to have a 33% greater risk of developing breast cancer after menopause. Buying two skirt sizes up during that same period was linked to a 77% increased risk.”
Clothing sizes may vary, but it is a fact that the bigger the waist size, the higher the cancer risk. The most common cancer type in women is breast cancer, and obese women are believed to have a 60 percent higher risk to develop cancer.
To be more concrete, many breast cancers are fueled by estrogen, a hormone which is produced in the fat tissue. Thus, the more body fat is stored in the body, the more estrogen is released. The fat in the abdominal area is especially threatening.
Additionally, if the waist-to-hip ratio is high, meaning that you have more fat accumulated in the belly than in the hips, you are at an increased risk to suffer from chronic conditions.
It also raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and it is a potential indicator of insulin sensitivity. Research shows that the waist size may predict the risk of diabetes, as well as cancer.
In order to measure the waist-to-hip ratio, you should measure the circumference of the hips at the widest part, across the buttocks, and the waist at the smallest circumference of the natural waist, just above the belly button.
To get the ratio, you should divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement.
In numerous developed countries, the risk of breast cancer is also increased by obesity, including abdominal obesity. Sugar is one of the greatest factors there, as numerous studies have shown that the excessive consumption of sugar leads to obesity, especially the intake of sugar-sweetened drinks.
Five years ago, UCLA researchers showed that adults who drank at least one sugar-sweetened drink daily had a 27 percent higher risk to become obese or overweight. Even the occasional intake of soda led to a 15 percent higher risk.
Experts claim that those “empty calories,” like soda, sugary drinks, and even fresh-squeezed fruit juice contain fructose, which has been found to be one of the biggest factors for the rise of obesity and related health problems, mostly due to its potential to turn on your “fat switch.”
The real shock came when researchers at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions, showed that these suggested sugary drinks are responsible for around 183,000 deaths worldwide annually, including 6,000 cancer deaths, 133,000 diabetes deaths, and 44,000 heart disease deaths.
Believe it or not, even 77 percent of food items in the grocery stores have sugar, so even though the American Heart Association advises a daily sugar limit of 6 teaspoons for women and 9 for men, the average American consumes around 22.
Hence, health agencies should focus on informing people about sugar and its effects, and their role in cancer and obesity.
Yet, the cancer industry is incredibly strong and profitable, with mammograms as one of the primary sources of financial profit. This is the reason why the truth is constantly hidden from the public, and the mounting evidence provided by studies is being ignored.
However, numerous experts believe that various cancer types, including breast cancer, can be prevented by following some strict strategies. The risk of breast cancer cannot be reduced by mammography, but it can be lowered in the following ways:
-Avoid processed foods and sugar, especially fructose. Sugar is extremely harmful to your health, and it promotes cancer. One of the most dangerous types is refined fructose, so you should avoid it at any cost. Most processed foods are abundant in fructose.
-Increase your vitamin D levels. This vitamin affects all cells in the body, and it is an incredibly effective cancer fighter. It enters the affected cells and stimulates apoptosis (programmed cell death).
In the case of cancer, the levels of vitamin D level should be between 70 and 100 ng/ml. It is beneficial as a part of every cancer treatment and has no side effects.
You should get it through exposure to the sun or a tanning bed, and if taken orally, balance it with nutrients like magnesium and vitamin K2.
-Reduce protein intake.
Researchers have pointed out the importance of the mTOR pathways, which If active, speed up the growth of cancer. You can quiet this pathway by reducing the protein intake to one gram of protein per kilogram of lean body mass, or less than half a gram of protein per every pound of lean body weight.
In most cases, this is between 40 and 70 grams of protein a day, or 2/3 to half of the current portion. In the case of pregnancy, or if you are regularly exercising, you can consume 25% more.
-Avoid unfermented soy products.
Unfermented soy is rich in plant estrogens, or phytoestrogens, or isoflavones. Studies have shown that soy combines with human estrogen to raise breast cell proliferation, and thus elevating the risk of mutations, while driving the phenotype related to cancer.
-Improve your insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity.
Avoid sugar and grains, and limit the intake of carbs and replace them with fiber vegetables. Moreover, regular exercise is of great benefit.
Exercise reduces the cancer risk as it drives the insulin levels down, and regulates the insulin levels. It also triggers apoptosis (programmed cell death), leading to the death of cancer cells. The decrease in body fat leads to a decreased number of tumors, as exercise reduces the estrogen levels, and thus prevents breast cancer.
In addition to exercise, try to limit your sitting time to three hours a day while taking 10,000 daily steps during your non-exercise hours.
-Maintain a healthy body weight.
Proper diet and regular exercise will provide great results. The loss of excess body fat will be of great help as fat produces estrogen.
-Avoid estrogen-like compounds such as BPA, phthalates, and other xenoestrogens, as they raise the risk of breast cancer.
-Avoid synthetic hormone replacement therapy, as numerous breast cancer forms are estrogen-fueled, and the Journal of the National Cancer Institute published a study which stated that the rates of breast cancer were reduced along the decreased use of hormone replacement therapy.
In the case of excessive menopausal symptoms, you may try bioidentical hormone replacement therapy instead, which includes molecularly identical hormones to the ones produced in the body, and they do not cause a destruction in the system.
Curcumin is the turmeric’s active ingredient, which has been shown to be extremely beneficial in the case of cancer. Moreover, research has found that it has potent therapeutic properties in preventing breast cancer metastasis. However, note that it is not absorbed easily by the body, you should combine it with other ingredients, like black pepper.
-You should drink a pint to a quart of organic green vegetable juice every day. In this way, you should enter numerous anti-cancer nutrients in the body.
-You should consume plenty of high-quality, animal-based omega-3 fats, like krill oil. One of the biggest factors for the incidence of cancer is, in fact, Omega-3 deficiency.
-Avoid or limit the intake of alcohol to one glass daily.
-Avoid charring your meats.
Charcoal or flame broiled meat is associated with increased risk of breasts cancer, as the baking, roasting, or frying of starchy foods have been found to lead to the creation of a carcinogen, called acrylamide, which additionally increases the cancer risk.
-Iodine deficiency is related to certain cancer types. According to Dr. David Brownstein, author of the book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It, suggests iodine in the case of breast cancer, as it has strong anti-cancer properties and leads to cell death in breast and thyroid cancer cells.
-Avoid electromagnetic fields as they raise the cancer risk.
Other included sources linked in Dr. Mercola’s article:
1 BMJ 2014;348:g366
2 Chicago Tribune September 24, 2014
3 Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jun 4;6:CD001877
4 Swiss Medical Board December 15, 2013, Systematic Mammography Screening
5 The New England Journal of Medicine April 16, 2014
6 BMJ 2012 Sep 6;345:e5660
7 Cancer Epidemiology July 14, 2014
8 Reuters August 22, 2014
9 BMJ Open September 24, 2014
10 TIME September 25, 2014
11 University of Maryland, Waist to Hip Ratio Calculator
12 Policy Brief UCLA Cent Health Policy Res. 2009 Sep;(PB2009-5):1-8.
13 Ann Intern Med. 3 April 2007;146(7):516-526
14 Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews October 7, 2009; (4):CD001877