Friday, February 7, 2014

Thinking regular mammograms? Then think again ...

This is a surprisingly honest appraisal from UK’s National Health Service. The information leaflet published in 2013, has been distributed to 3 million women between 50 and 70 years of age, who are invited to undergo annual mammograms. The leaflet warns that the technology is three times more likely to pick up a benign abnormality than it is to reveal a life-threatening tumour. That wouldn’t be so bad except that the diagnosis of benign issues such as DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) can lead to unnecessary chemotherapy or mastectomy.

Of course there have been a lot of experts warning against placing trust in mammograms for a very long time - but this frank assessment from a government institution is a real change of pace! Of course the reality needs to be made clear to women - for every 1300 lives saved, 4,000 women undergo unnecessary radiation or surgery! However Oxford University made an even more damning appraisal of these figures - stating that they relate to a time before women were aware of the many protective diet and lifestyle measures. If more recent figures were used say the researchers, “mammography is hardly saving any lives at all!”

Want to know more about just one of those highly protective, easy-to-implement measures? It’s breastfeeding, and the longer the breastfeeding period, the greater your level of protection! 

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