Mammography has been the industrial standard for screening for breast cancer for many years now. The American Cancer Society recommends regular mammograms for women. The Susan Komen Foundation has marches each summer to raise breast cancer awareness and actively encourages women to have regular mammograms. Even the National Football League sponsors a Breast Cancer Awareness month in November when all the players wear pink shoes. All these efforts are to encourage women to have regular breast exams and mammograms for the early detection of possible cancer.
But there are concerns about mammography. It appears that the test is not as reliable, or safe, as it is made out to be. In one study following 60,000 women who had a mammogram, the researchers found that 70% of the tumors found were not tumors at all. These false positives create a great deal of emotional stress in the women and family members involved. Also, many women have undergone unnecessary chemotherapy, radiation, and mastectomies as a result of these false positives.
The amount of radiation involved with a mammogram is enormous. One series of mammograms (2 x-rays per breast) has the equivalent exposure of 1000 chest or spinal x-rays. Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD estimates that annual mammograms increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 2% a year. In fact, it has been estimated that mammograms may cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 that it identifies. Other studies have shown a 52% increase in breast cancer mortality in young women given annual testing. These are not very good statistics at all.
The British Journal Lancet wrote in July 1995 “the benefit (of mammograms) is marginal, the harm caused is substantial, and the costs incurred are enormous.”
But what is a person to do? There is a safe, non-invasive, non-radiation alternative to mammography screening called Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI). For over 20 years DITI uses advanced equipment and computer technology to measure changes in skin temperature that can be related to changes in circulation. Circulatory changes can indicate the presence of pathology. The presence of tumors and other diseases will show up in a thermogram as changes in temperature. DITI is highly sensitive and because it is so safe, it can be used not only for screening, but also to monitor the progress of a disease and its treatment.
But DITI is not just for women. Although it is a great tool for breast disease screening, full body scans can also be performed on men as well as women to look for any changes that may indicate the presence of a developing pathology anywhere in the body. If a suspected pathology is found, then standard medical follow-up tests can be done.
In short, DITI is safe and accurate. There is no touching involved, no radiation, it is non-invasive, painless, and FDA approved.
If you are interested in finding out more about DITI screening, please contact our office at 216-221-9990. On Friday, February 22, Jeanne Wilson, a certified DITI technician, will be in the office all day performing DITI screening. The test takes about half an hour and costs $150 for a breast exam. If this date doesn’t work for you, she does come to the office regularly. You may call to find out when her next date will be.
Breast cancer screening is very important. But it is equally important to be certain that the tests used for screening are safe for your peace of mind.