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The Mammogram Scam

by Jon Rappoport

A new Canadian study suggests that women over 40 should have fewer mammograms. This finding has raised controversy in medical circles and among cancer organizations.

Fewer mammograms equal far less income for radiologists.

Fewer mammograms equal fewer biopsies and breast surgeries. Another income depressant.

The study also pointed out that many mammograms yield false positives. Therefore, the follow-up biopsies would be unnecessary.

Worse, mammograms ID many tumors that, left alone, would never progress to a stage in the patient’s lifetime where treatment would be necessary. But these tumors are, in fact, treated with breast removal, radiation, and chemo.

“Let’s do a double mastectomy, Ms. Jones. You never know. Better safe than sorry.”

Fewer mammograms equal far fewer breast reconstructions. Fewer Porsches for plastic surgeons.

Then there is the statistic game re: cancer. When a cancer patient lives five years after diagnosis and treatment, she is listed officially as a survivor. These survivor stats are used to promote the idea that conventional cancer treatments are progressing wonderfully. Survivor stats are the gold standard.

Seeing the picture?

If women, obtaining mammograms that show tiny, tiny growths, are slapped with a diagnosis of breast cancer, they are automatic survivors---because no matter what happens, no matter what treatment is given or not given, they will live another five years (and more).

Thus, breast-cancer treatment stats look better when more and more mammograms are done.

If as a result of this new Canadian study, far fewer women ask for regular mammograms, the portrait of breast-cancer treatment will change. The vaunted “progress” will deteriorate.

Many forces within the breast-cancer establishment don’t like that at all. You can be sure cover stories are already being cooked up to explain this deterioration.

“Well, it was that damn Canadian study. Women have been getting fewer mammograms. We could have saved them, but they died…”

Some 25 years ago, a close friend of mine went for a regular physical and had a mammogram. The doctor shocked her when he said she had an extensive series of tumors in both breasts and needed a double mastectomy right away.

Fortunately, she knew a radiologist in another city and had the x-ray pictures sent to him. He brought in a few colleagues and they studied the plates. He told my friend, “These pictures are so dirty we can’t even read them.” These days she’s doing fine. No treatment of any kind.

Here is an excerpt from a July 1, 1995, paper published in Lancet (vol.346; 29-32; “Screening mammography and public health policy: the need for perspective.” Charles J Wright; C Barber Mueller):

“Screening mammography has been widely publicised, mainly on the basis of the two earliest trials that claim a 30 % reduction in mortality from breast cancer. Little publicity has been given to the results of the four subsequent trials that fail to support the initial studies or to the following facts: (a) the great majority of "positive" screenings are false positives; (b) screening leads to many unnecessary investigations and useless surgery; (c) a "negative" screening result does not mean the absence of breast cancer; and (d) in the large majority of women whose breast cancer is diagnosed by screening the outcome is unchanged. For most women the only "benefit" is extra time spent with the knowledge that they have the disease. It is disappointing that the marginal improvement in terms of reduced mortality is only perceptible in older women. A much greater benefit in life-years gained would be achieved if screening mammography delayed death from breast cancer in younger women, but unfortunately this is not the case.

“We fully understand the desperate desire to find something, anything, that might help in this terrible disease. Public imagination has been captured by mammography, and all those involved in the screening industry have a major vested interest. In view of the intense competition for limited resources, those responsible for making allocation/distribution decisions for public healthcare funds must evaluate the evidence more objectively.”

What about the radiation-exposure risk from regular mammograms?

From “The Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography,” by Samuel Epstein et al; Int. J Health Services, v.31, 605-615, 2001:

Radiation from routine mammography poses significant cumulative risks of initiating and promoting breast cancer (1-3). Contrary to conventional assurances that radiation exposure from mammography is trivial--and similar to that from a chest X-ray or spending one week in Denver, about 1/1,000 of a rad (radiation-absorbed dose)—the routine practice of taking four films for each breast results in some 1,000-fold greater exposure, 1 rad, focused on each breast rather than the entire chest (2). Thus, premenopausal women undergoing annual screening over a ten-year period are exposed to a total of about 10 rads for each breast. As emphasized some three decades ago, the premenopausal breast is highly sensitive to radiation, each rad of exposure increasing breast cancer risk by 1 percent, resulting in a cumulative 10 percent increased risk over ten years of premenopausal screening, usually from ages 40 to 50 (4); risks are even greater for baseline screening at younger ages, for which there is no evidence of any future relevance.”

In the US, as a result of massive PR backed by major $$, it has become politically correct for more and more women of all ages to obtain frequent mammograms. You can think of these dollars as an investment made by Cancer Inc. to return dividends. For the moment, the new Canadian study has thrown a monkey wrench into the wheels of the machine. You can be sure the repair operation is underway. The money players will close ranks and try to make women customers stay on track.

Copyright (C) 2009 by Jon Rappoport. All rights reserved.