Genes have been getting the heat for causing cancer, but this general opinion has some serious pitfalls.

In the case of breast cancer, scientists have identified that mutations in Breast Cancer Genes (BRCA) align with higher risks of cancer, but they’re no guarantee. In the case of BRCA 1 mutations, it’s predicted that 55-65% of women will have breast cancer by 70 years of age. For BRCA 2, experts figure that 45% of women with this mutated gene will have cancer by age 70. The risks of cancer are obviously higher with these mutations, but they’re still around 50%. And these are the risks up through age seventy. Seventy.

Organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the American Cancer Society make a point to address that genetics may play a pivotal role in cancer risk and screening is imperative. We would presume that these cancer “charities” would know what they’re talking about, but there’s a serious conflict of interest. The millions of dollars they’re making each year go to cancer research. As in studying and producing new chemical therapies and poisonous pills to be used as “cancer treatment” (for some serious cash).

Which really sounds like some crazy conspiracy, right? But if there’s anything that can convince us of the insanity of modern cancer treatment, it’s mammograms.

Why mammograms are dangerous

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released a 2012 report: Breast Cancer and the Environment. They reviewed scientific evidence in an effort to identify legitimate breast cancer risks by pinpointing risk factors with “consistently positive association with breast cancer that is not explained by bias or confounding and that falls outside the realm of chance. Their research and analysis resulted in a list of  environmental risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Exogenous hormones (androgens, estrogens, estrogen-progestin, birth control)
  • Body fatness and abdominal fat, and weight gain as an adult
  • Physical activity
  • Dietary factors (alcohol use, nutrition, growth hormones in commercial meat)
  • Tobacco use
  • Radiation (ionizing and non-ionizing)
  • Heavy Metals
  • Personal Care Products (with BPA, Parabens, Pthlates, Aklyphenols, PBDEs, etc.)
  • Industrial Chemicals (Benzene, PCBs, Ethylene oxide, and 1,3-Butadiene)  
  • Pesticides (DDT/DDE, Dieldrin and Aldrin, Atrazine and s-Chloro triazine)
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Dioxins (meat and dairy being responsible for more than 90% of dioxin exposure)

Of particular interest is ionizing radiation, because a mammogram works by way of ionizing radiation. Potent and concentrated ionizing radiation. Which means that this “vital cancer screening tool” may also be responsible for causing it.

The Institute of Medicine’s report goes on to say, “[…]the factors with the clearest evidence from epidemiologic studies of increased risk of breast cancer were combination HT products, current use of oral contraceptives, overweight and obesity among postmenopausal women, alcohol consumption, and exposure to ionizing radiation.”

Various institutions have conducted reviews, analyses, and studies on mammograms which conclude that mammograms are not the life-saving tool they’re touted to be. On the contrary, they find that mammograms put women at risk of overdiagnosis, overtreatment, receiving a false-positive (and all the unnecessary medical procedures and emotional suffering that come along with it), and a higher risk of developing breast cancer. All of that, plus almost no impact on the mortality rate of breast cancer.

According to the Institute of Medicine’s report, diagnostic medical radiation (ie. mammograms) lack standardized doses and procedures, guidelines, and federal oversight. Moreover, they note that the physicians ordering up ionizing radiation are lacking education on the risks and implications of this toxic medical tool.

But it’s certainly worth the risk if a mammogram can detect your cancer, right? Well, according to M.D. (and N.D. and D.O.) Doctor Ben Johnson, mammograms are only “sensitive” to around 52% of breast cancers tested on. Meaning that they’re able to detect a little over half of cancers, while leaving the other half of existing cancers undetected. So breasts which actually have malignant tumors can go undiagnosed. But then breasts without cancerous growth can send mammogram  analyses into a flurry and provoke unnecessary (and emotionally and physically harmful) procedures.

In addition, an analysis of nearly 90,000 women ages 40-59 showed that annual mammograms didn’t reduce deaths from breast cancer anymore than physical examination or adjuvant therapy. But while women are being educated on how imperative cancer detection is, these very relevant and crucial bits of information somehow miss the discussion.   

Alternatives to mammograms

Studies show that early detection via mammograms ain’t the life saver that they’re advertised to be. But preventive services like cancer screening still have an important role in detecting and diagnosing cancer. As it turns out, there’s a great list of alternative options that don’t tote the toxicity.

Blood testing is another method for determining cancer. There are simple testing options like at-home saliva hormone tests which can reveal issues like estrogen dominance, estrogen deficiency, progesterone deficiency, and androgen excesses or deficiencies. For more serious testing needs, there’s the ONCOblot test. This test is able to find the the cancer marker gene ENOX2, and can even tell what kind of cancer cell it is (the organ of origin). It’s one of the most specialized tests on the market, and it’s poison free.

Perhaps the greatest option is thermography. It uses safe infrared technology to find “hot spots” that signify cancerous growths; and it can find these cancer spots well before a lump has formed. Here it excels above mammograms, because a mammogram can only detect growths after they’re already 5-8 years in development. Moreover, a study by the American Journal of Surgery has pinned thermography’s sensitivity rate (proportion of correctly identified positives) at 97%. Thermography is brimming with pros. Of course, it comes with a con because the FDA has yet to approve it so that it can be covered by insurance (a rather convenient coincidence). Until that happens, this test is something that would have to be paid out of pocket.

But if you need a diagnostic test that can be covered by insurance, you’re in luck. Ultrasounds and MRI’s are diagnostic radiologic technologies with great potential against breast cancer. MRI’s are overlooked compared to mammograms because they can miss precancerous calcifications, and they may not always be able to tell a cancerous abnormality from a non-cancerous one. Of course, they outperform mammograms in their ability to analyze dense breasts, and to reveal suspicious breast lesions.

Ultrasounds are another viable option. A study from the Journal Of The National Cancer Institute concluded that ultrasound imaging and mammography were on par with their rate of sensitivity. They were also very comparable with their specificity rate (proportion of correctly identified negatives). Of course, this study also showed that ultrasound had a higher rate of recall for additional and testing, and a significantly higher number of false-positives where biopsies were performed. However, these numbers showed significant reductions from the end of year one to the end of year three. Therefore, an ultrasound from a technician skilled in breast ultrasound imaging poses great potential.  

The best alternatives to breast cancer prevention

The easiest way to avoid a cancer diagnosis is to attempt (or at least attempt to attempt) to prevent it in the first place. One of cancer’s greatest nemesis is the food that you put in your mouth. It’s old advice you’ve heard a thousand times, I know, but there’a reason that diet is so important to our health. The entire point of eating is to give our bodies the energy and nutrition that our biological processes require. Processed foods and convenient eats can take care of hunger, but they’ll never be able to provide our bodies the energy and nutrition they so desperately need. Mothers can take this a step further by using this healthy diet to promote breastfeeding. Without a doubt, expert analyses show that breastfeeding reduces risks of breast cancer.

Lifestyle is another vital factor in cancer prevention. Without a doubt, a sedentary lifestyle comes with outrageous health risks. Some sort of physical activity is required in order to keep our body functioning and performing. Exercise enhances circulation, thereby increasing the blood’s transportation of oxygen and nutrients to our trillions of cells in need. Physical activity also promotes the production of feel-good hormones and endorphins. This plus exercise’s positive impact on our body and self-esteem is not something to overlook. Stress and anxiety wreak havoc on the body, and studies only show that it’s impact on health goes deeper and deeper.

Furthermore, the branch of science of Epigenetics stresses that genetic changes can be provoked by the mind. Committing to an uplifted mood and positive mindset is paramount to cancer prevention. The huge bonus is that deliberately minimizing stress and anxiety will make you happier. Which is usually a great and life-changing thing.        

If you need help creating the diet and lifestyle that cancer can’t stand, then look into our Thrive Online Holistic Health Program.

Sources for this article include:

Breast Cancer And The Environment — The National Academies Press
Mammograms Again Found To Have No Impact On Mortality  — Dr. Mercola
Ultrasound As The Primary Screening Test For Breast Cancer — Journal Of The National Cancer Institute
Blood Test For ENOX2 — ONCOblot Labs
Twenty five year Follow-up For Breast Cancer Incidence And Mortality Of The Canadian National Breast Screening Study — BMJ
An Empowering Guide To Thinking About, Talking About, And Treating Cancer — Bruce Lipton
The Physical Effects Of Stress — Ohio University
Prevent Breast Cancer With Saliva Hormone Testing — Breast Cancer Conqueror
“Sitting Is The New Smoking”: A Risk Factor For Many Americans — Center For Vein
How To Manage Your Estrogen Levels — Chatelaine
Understanding The Most Common Radiologic Technologies — University of Cincinnati
A Guide To The Health Benefits Of Breastfeeding — Bradley University

Ash Stevens

Ash Stevens is a writer who doubles as a pretend philosopher and a wannabe shaman. When she isn’t writing her soul out on her blog, she’s listening to the great minds (or great comedians) on YouTube, soaking up sunshine, or having yet another fascinating conversation with herself (she gives excellent advice, you know). Find her on Twitter or Facebook and make a new friend!

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