Click the image above for a message from Dr. Purcell on Breast Cancer Awareness.
October Is… Beautiful Breast Month
BY DR. ANDREA PURCELL
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if for the whole month of October our nation would pour love and adoration into our beautiful breasts instead of fear and worry?
Because underneath all the awareness there is quite a bit of conflicting emotion around mammograms. Some women question the frequency of their mammograms because of the radiation exposure risks. Others go annually either out of fear from their doctor or fear of getting cancer. Sadly, I have heard from women who refused their annual mammogram and were fired by their conventional doctor.
I don’t like the idea of anybody doing anything out of fear… I thought it was appropriate this month to discuss the ins and outs of mammograms so you can be informed in making your decisions.
Mammograms look for cancer. They do not prevent cancer. They also emit radiation which has been known to cause cancer. Getting a negative mammogram simply means that no cancer has been detected in breast tissue.
Typically, when a woman receives a negative mammogram she breathes a sigh of relief and is told to come back next year.
Annual mammograms are now being recommended to women starting at age 40 in the United States. The average life expectancy for women living in the United States is 84 years. Starting annual mammograms at age 40 equals 35+years of mammograms.
Radiation in cumulative. This means that it accumulates over time. One has to wonder at the long-term effects of exposing breast tissue to radiation over the course of 35 years. Most of our radiation exposure come from medical imaging. Dental x-rays, standard x-rays, CT scans, and so on. That’s not all the radiation that you will be exposed to either. If you take an airplane you will go through the x-ray scanner and then be exposed to radiation in flight. You may keep your cell phone tucked into your bra, another source of radiation to your breast tissue.
It is the repeat and cumulative radiation that becomes so deadly over time.
Radiation is toxic to the thyroid gland. One in every three women entering menopause will develop a thyroid condition. One way to protect your thyroid during mammograms is to request a thyroid shield. This is simply a leaded collar that is “velcroed on” around your neck during the mammogram procedure.
Mammograms are less accurate in women with dense breasts.
This can result in “over diagnosis” and increased biopsy procedures.
There is quite a bit of research demonstrating that the best breast screening tool for women between the ages of 35 and 45 is an ultrasound. The research then goes on to suggest that the most effective use of mammograms is in women between the ages of 50 and 74yo. Screenings are recommended every 2 years in this population.
Note from Dr. P
Relying solely on mammograms gives women a false sense of security. Mammograms are there to detect breast masses and cancer. They are a screening tool; they are not preventative.
Mammograms are not useful in determining the health of your breast tissue. It takes a long time for cancer to develop. Teeny tiny cells develop and then multiply millions of times before a tumor is detected. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how healthy your breast tissue actually is? Wouldn’t it be nice to know if you are heading down the road to cancer long before cancer multiplied enough for an actual tumor to develop?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could help your breast tissue and prevent yourself from getting breast cancer?
Here’s how… Follow my daily 1,2,3 rule for using plant power to boost breast health: