Mammograms Carry Cancer Risk: Dangers of Routine Screenings
Dec 27, 2013 12:45PM
There is growing evidence that mammograms, which are the primary screening tool for breast cancer, may cause it. Scientists have long known that radiation causes cancer, and now research published in the British Journal of Radiobiology reports that the so-called “low-energy X-rays” used in mammography are four to six times more likely to cause breast cancer than conventional high-energy X-rays because the low-energy variety causes more mutational damage to cells.
Mammograms led to a 30 percent rate of over-diagnosis and overtreatment, according to a study published in the Cochrane Review. Researchers wrote in the study, “This means that for every 2,000 women invited for screening throughout 10 years, one will have her life prolonged and 10 healthy women, who would not have been diagnosed if there had not been screening, will be treated unnecessarily. Furthermore, more than 200 women will experience important psychological distress for many months because of false positive findings.”
Many women and functional medicine doctors are now choosing non-invasive and radiation-free annual thermograms as a safer alternative. Those at high risk for breast cancer may choose to do periodic MRI screenings, a recommendation supported by research at Britain’s University Hospitals Birmingham.