Yesterday [June 2012] the big news in the Wall Street Journal, of all places,
radiation from CT scans. And today the
AMA is recommending more radiation as a screening test for breast disease.
Our medical authorities are actually recommending mammograms as an annual
screening tool for women? Irradiating their breasts with a known cancer-causing
agent (radiation) just to figure out whether they might have cancer? This
makes no sense to me. Mammography is a good tool, but not for screening
for breast cancer.
Dr. Mark Scholtz, oncologist and author of the book
Invasion of the Prostate Snatchers is quoted: “There’s going to come a day when there’s
better technology available,” he said. “That’s going
to make the biggest difference.”
That day is here - and has been here since the advent of infra-red imaging
technology in the 1900s. In 1998 a paper was presented at the annual meeting
of the American Society of Clinical Oncology about thermography (they
called it High-resolution Digital Imaging). The paper’s conclusion
was “high-resolution digital infrared imaging can provide additional
safe, practical, and objective information” about early diagnosis
of breast disease.
Thermography makes far more sense. Thermography can show inflammation,
and if we see inflammation in one breast and not the other, this is an
indication that we should be (a) doing something about the inflammation
and (b) monitoring closely to make sure the inflammation decreases with
time. If inflammation is increasing despite our best efforts at reducing
it, then we start thinking about moving forward with other diagnostic tools.
Mammography as a screening tool? OK for localization of a mass - although
MRI is more specific and safer. But for annual screening? Bad idea. Bad
for the breast tissue. Bad for the breast nerves (hurts). Just a bad idea