Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Industry of Cancer - about mammography

“More women are being harmed by regular mammograms than are saved by them.” Says  Johnnie Ham, MD, MBA. You can listen to the whole interview about mammography and breast cancer diagnosis here. 

 The Industry of Cancer

Johnnie Ham, MD, MBA obstetrics gynecologic talks about mammography and breast cancer diagnosis.
“Breast cancer has become big business, starting with the multi-billion dollar goliath, mammography. No other medical screening has been as aggressively promoted. My passion is providing integrative primary care as an MD for hundreds of patients. I also have over 23 combined years of military experience as an OB/GYN, trauma surgeon, experimental test pilot, and master army aviator.
My training prepared me to navigate through challenging, and sometimes life threatening situations. Unfortunately, most women do not have the training I received, yet they could certainly use some of it to help navigate through the fear based methods of the breast cancer industry.
The tide of thought on mammography’s benefits is rapidly changing as evidenced by recently published studies in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the Lancet Review, the British Medical Journal and the Nordic Cochrane Center; and the fact that the US Preventative Services Task Force and the Canadian Task Force on Preventative Health Care.
There is no reason why a woman shouldn’t have the option choosing between a thermography, an ultrasound, an MRI or even between a mammogram itself. My role as a doctor is to diagnose and treat, but I am also an educator. I want my patients' focus to be on prevention to improve their health and well-being. There is no evidence that mammography decreases death rate caused by cancer.  
Facts and Persisting Concerns: Mammograms
More women are refusing mammograms. This is reflected in the dramatic decline of 4.3 percent in 2010. Previously, mammography use had increased annually by 1 percent between 2005 and 2009. Mammograms:
1.      Are incorrect 80 percent of the time (providing a false negative or false positive)
2.      Require repeated ionized radiation that can cause cancer  -in the new 3D version it’s even worse!
3.      Use compression, which can damage breast tissue or potentially spread cancer
4.      Are not effective for up to 50 percent of women (women with dense breasts or implants)
5.      Can lead to over-diagnosis and over-treatment of non-invasive cancers
6.      Can lead to the disturbing practice of “preventative” double mastectomies 

Please understand that there are other screening options, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and you have a right to utilize those options. Also remember that in order to truly avoid breast cancer, you need to focus your attention on prevention.

A few simple, yet great options to assist in your efforts to avoid breast cancer are: making sure you are getting enough vitamin D, K2 and iodine; that you utilize lymphatic massage; use stress management techniques, exercise often, and balance your hormones naturally. It is also wise to eat a Mediterranean diet consisting of organic foods. Avoid processed and GMO foods; and toxic environments.

In my practice, I recommend breast thermography, even for young women to get a baseline, but also combine the imaging not only with a review of the findings, but more importantly, as a venue to educate women on breast health. It is far more effective to prevent breast cancer, than it is to wait until it is there and then treat it. We are all different so make sure you consult with your doctor and do your own research before utilizing any of these suggestions.

The advice I give all of my patients is to be your own health advocate, do your own research and always ask questions before agreeing to any therapy or treatment, screening and/or procedure.”

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