My favorite month…
October, is the time of year where the leaves dance in the autumn sunlight in an array of beautiful colors. As a child, fall was my favorite time of the year, and still is! It was a time to visit all the fall festivals, craft shows, having fun jumping in the leaf piles and of course, Halloween. Today, 35 years later, the month of October takes on a completely different meaning for a lot of people, especially women. October is now “Breast Cancer Awareness” month and for good reason. Breast Cancer will be the diagnosis for many women and men in 2016 according to the Susan G. Komen website. We should be aware but I also think that we need to have a choice! I found a choice in Thermography. Today I will share with you information about this option we have.
I know it is important to stay on top of my breast health. But I am not at peace with mammography as the choice in which for me to be tested with. I read many articles on some of the issues with mammography. Before you get all preachy at me about choosing not to have a mammogram, read further to see my concerns. I am not against having awareness. But, I am more concerned with how a test is done and how it can affect my body.
What is a Mammogram?
First of all let’s talk about what a mammogram is and the procedure itself. As many of you can attest, the process itself is not fun. But did you know that it can actually be a cause of harm? As a 20 something young adult I remember women talking about getting a mammogram and how they would dread it. I would listen to them explain the process. Hearing them talk certainly didn’t make the idea of getting one for myself very inviting!
At the time I was very small breasted and I couldn’t imagine how they would even have enough tissue to work with! In my late 20’s, I decided to have breast augmentation. I have to admit that the idea of the combination of a mammogram and an implant sounded to me like a rupture waiting to happen! My concern is valid and affects more than just someone like me that has had an augmentation.
The mammogram process puts the breast in between two plates and squeezes the breast flat in order to read the tissue. Now no wonder women feel so uncomfortable! So what about the breast tissue….can this process have a damaging affect? Studies show that if there is cancerous tissue in the breast, the mammogram can possibly cause the tumor/tissue to burst and can cause the cancer cells to spread instead of remaining in that area. (Click HERE to read more.) That alone caused me to have concern about the mammogram process. Another concern I have is the exposure to ionizing radiation.
Here is a quote from an Dr Mercola article:
Mammograms use ionizing radiation at a relatively high dose, which can contribute to the mutations that can lead to breast cancer. You can get as much radiation from one mammogram as you would from 1,000 chest X-rays. Mammography also compresses your breasts tightly, which can lead to a dangerous spread of cancerous cells, should they exist. Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the world’s top cancer experts, has stated:
“The premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each 1 rad exposure increasing breast cancer risk by about 1 percent, with a cumulative 10 percent increased risk for each breast over a decade’s screening.”
Click HERE to read the full article
In reading this information, I had to think about the recommendations for women to have mammograms on a regular basis beginning as early as age 40. (Even this is not totally agreed upon by various cancer groups, read this article from the Mayo Clinic.) But if I did chose to begin this routine screening at age 40 til later in life, how much would I be increasing my chance of cancer just from the exposure to ionized radiation? It is something to consider.
Ok so we hear it over and over again about “early detection” for breast cancer and this is the main reason that mammograms are recommended. So you can imagine my disappointment when I watched a medical documentary about breast cancer and the doctor saying that by the time a mammogram can even detect a breast cancer tumor or mass, the cancer will have been developing in the breast tissue for 5 to 8 years! I have to say that to me that doesn’t really sound like “early detection” .
Excitement filled me when I read an article about Thermography and how it is being used to detect breast cancer. It works so differently than a mammogram! First of all it is totally non-invasive. No smashing of the breast! Second, no ionizing radiation! It is best option to use to detect cancer early….just exactly what we are really looking for, right? Here is a great article to help you learn more about Thermography for breast cancer detection.
I encourage you to find out if there is a doctor that provides Thermography in your local or surrounding areas. I will throw caution to you that Thermography may not be covered by your insurance. It is considered my many plans to be experimental. The cost can range from $175-$250, hence it will be an out-of-pocket expense for you but for me it is still worth it. I cannot put a price on peace of mind.
Now even though this article is about Thermography for breast exams it is really to let you know you have a CHOICE. Ultrasound is also an effective and safe way to examine the breast for cancer tumors. If you do not have the option of Thermography, this may be an option for you.
I finally feel like I have a choice, and I hope you do as well! The quest for awareness for me is now a path that I feel I can go down without cause for concern. I hope that you have found this information to be helpful and hope-filled!
Until next week, Stay Healthy!