While the topic of radiation from Japan’s nuclear plant disaster is in the news I thought it would be a good time to talk about the dangers of mammogram radiation that many women are routinely exposed to.
When you have spent some time following a detox diet to improve your health it’s important to think about other things that you can avoid besides the usual toxins that we are exposed to.
37 million Americans and about 1.7 million Britons have routine mammograms every year. Researchers have concluded that governments are playing down the risks and made light of the procedure which can be very painful.
Dangers of Mammogram Radiation
Mammograms expose women and their breasts to ionizing radiation, which is known to cause cancer but little thought seems to be given to that. Mammograms are X-rays but they have a cumulative effect. The more you have the more damage they do.
Very briefly there are two types of radiation, ionizing (ionising) and non ionizing (ionising).
Ionizing radiation causes atoms and molecules to become ionized or excited which in turn produces free radicals and causes damage to tissues and cellular DNA and RNA.
Non- ionizing radiation
Non ionising radiation comes from the ultraviolet spectrum, visible light, infrared rays, microwaves, radio frequency, and extremely low frequency (ELF). These do not have enough energy to remove electrons or damage DNA. Apart from ultra violet light it is claimed that they do not cause cancer but there is a lot of controversy over the effects of radiation from cell ( mobile) phones.
Radiation exposure is known to cause alteration of the genes in breast cells. That means it damages the DNA, our genetic blueprint. It also switches off the tunur suppressing gene that is responsible for limiting the growth of tumors.
Paul Yaswen, a cell biologist and breast cancer research specialist with Berkeley Lab´s Life Sciences Division says “Our work shows that radiation can change the microenvironment of breast cells, and this in turn can allow the growth of abnormal cells with a long-lived phenotype that have a much greater potential to be cancerous”
Routine screening mammography is done on healthy women from the age of 40 to 70 with the aim of identifying anything that looks suspicous and may need further investigation. Experts have been publishing evidence of the risks involved in routine breast screening for a number of years.
Mammograms can cause cancer and miss 20% of cancers
It has been estimated that mammograms can cause breast cancer in one of every 25, 000 women but save the life of one woman in every 2000 screened. Far fewer than than is claimed.
And, according to the US National Cancer Institute, mammograms miss around 20% of cancers but also have a high rate of false positives. This means that the radiographer sees cancer that is is not in fact there.
Writing in his Nutrition & Healing newsletter Dr Jonathan Wright states “Each mammogram (which delivers 1 rad of ionizing radiation) increases risk of breast cancer by 1%. So if you follow the “expert” recommendation to get a mammogram every year after you turn 40, by the time you are 50, you’ll already have increased your chance of getting breast cancer by 10%.”
1 to 2 % of women are carriers of the ataxia-telangiectasia gene and this is highly sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of mammogram radiation. They have a four fold higher risk of breast cancer from mammography.
A review of mammography research published in 2006 concluded that though some lives would be saved by regular mammograms, other women would suffer needlessly. So what is the answer?
Dr. Jonathan Wright and other less orthodox doctors recommend infrared thermography as an alternative that does not involve radiation or compression of the breasts.
Thermography uses highly specialized infra red cameras to measure the heat coming from the body, in this case, the breast. It is based on the principle that metabolic activity and circulation in both pre-cancerous tissue and the area surrounding a developing breast cancer is almost always higher than in normal breast tissue.
Cancerous tumors increase circulation to their cells by holding open existing blood vessels, opening dormant vessels, and creating new ones
Thermography has been approved for this purpose for many years by the US FDA (United States Food and Drug Administration) and in the past 10 years many new doctors and technicians have started to offer it as an alternative to mammograms.
Dr. Nyjon Eccles, one of the leading Integrated Medicine Physicians in the UK breast says this about Thermography or Thermal Imaging as it is sometimes called:
- 100% safe, radiation free, non-contact and painless.
- Detects cancer risk up to 10 years earlier than mammography.
- It is unique in its capacity to visually record physiological problems and metabolic processes.
- 90% sensitivity. This means that where there is an increased risk, medical infrared scanning will correctly identify this in 90% of cases (one third of mammograms give false readings).
- Can be used in conjunction with the cancer profile blood test to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment non-invasively.
We must not forget regular self- examination and examination by a doctor or nurse as a reliable way to detect signs of breast cancer.
Cancer is due to the environment
Researchers have found that genes play a relatively small part in breast cancer. It happens because of external factors including diet, lifestyle, stress, environmental chemicals and radiation. I believe that prevention should therefore be high on the list.
Once you know the facts about the dangers of mammograms you are in a better position to decide what you are going to do about breast screening. Regular detox, using natural personal care products and natural products in the home, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, reducing stress and getting enough sleep all help in the fight against cancer.