In a world where pink is everywhere in the month of October and donations fly out of pockets I can’t help but cringe. Organizations talk about early detection and finding cures. What organization or medical community talks about prevention or reducing your risk??? NONE ( at least that I hear about)!!! Why? If there was a cure (which there is, the masses just don’t get to know these details) these organizations wouldn’t exist. You no longer need races for a cure, you no longer need pharmaceuticals involved in treatments and all of the people running these companies or organizations no longer get their hefty salaries. What’s the number one rule in business…make the company/shareholders money. It’s certainly not lets do whatever is best for everyone’s well being.
Growing up I never really thought of myself as a person to question everything but for as long as I can remember I certainly do that. I do not just hop on board with whatever I’m being told without asking why, how, what is the end goal or what are the options. This has certainly been an eye opener over the years but also has turned into a passion. I love helping people have their best life. It should be easy and affordable for everyone to live a life they dream of.
As most of you know I am a huge advocate for reducing your risk to not just cancer but all health issues. There are simple and proven things you can change in your life to reduce your risk. Did you hear that?! Are you going to do something about it? Now, I am not a medical professional and there is a genetic component to cancer however, when scientific research points to links and causes you can’t ignore it no matter what your family history may indicate.
The 3rd Friday in October is National Mammography Day. They say the best defense is early detection. As I approached 40 this year I started looking into my options because starting mammograms is what you are supposed to do when you hit 40, right? Actually no.
Some experts say there is no evidence that they save lives or result in less radical surgery. There is concern that starting them so early may actually do more harm than good. Depending on the source, the recommendation is now to start them at age 50 and go every 2 years unless you have a family history that puts you at more risk. Women under 50 have different tissue and this denser tissue can often times hide the cancer. Once you are post-menopausal the tissue is more fatty and as a result the cancer it more easily seen.
Again, depending on the source, the statistics for the chances of having breast cancer between the ages of 40-50 and 50-60 are not a significant difference. Its likely a 1 in 60(something) in your 40’s and 1 in 40(something) in your 50s. If people start waiting for medical exams until age 50 now because of new recommendations how many cases are going to be missed?
I continue to see the risks associated with them. Exposure to radiation, accuracy concerns leading to more tests and biopsy’s, they miss cancer in 1 in 5 because some cancers start in the upper/outer area closer to the armpit or lymphnodes and that area isn’t seen in a mammogram.
There is some speculation that the radiation is 1,000 times more than a standard x-ray and that the pressure from the exam can spread cells that are already malignant. The same speculation is true about a biopsy.
86% of women under 50 who had an abnormal mammogram and were referred for further testing were cancer free. That is a lot of people who unnecessarily went through the scare of a lifetime.
I had enough information to know that I did not want this done, but now what?
Have you every heard of DITI (Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging), DII or thermography? I had not. As I continued to look into it there are many great things about this method.
Taken from BreastThermography.com
WHAT MAKES DIGITAL INFRARED IMAGING SO UNIQUE
While mammography, ultrasound, MRI, and other structural imaging tools rely primarily on finding the physical tumor, DII is based on detecting the heat produced by increased blood vessel circulation and metabolic changes associated with a tumor’s genesis and growth. By detecting minute variations in normal blood vessel activity, infrared imaging may find thermal signs suggesting a pre-cancerous state of the breast or the presence an early tumor that is not yet large enough to be detected by physical examination, mammography, or other types of structural imaging (3,6,7,8,9)
Certain types of cancers will not be detected (approximately 20%) by mammography for various reasons(10)
, but some of these cancers will be discovered by DII (3,6,7,8,9)
Thermography is non invasive, meaning there is no contact or pressure. There is no exposure to radiation. It also detects vascular changes in breast tissue associated with cancer many years in advance of other methods of screening. It does also capture the lymphnode area so you will see changes in the upper/outer area.
When you first start you get a couple done over a 4-6 month period so they can get a true baseline of what is normal for you. Everyone will look different so having a baseline gives them more insight to changes that happen in the years to come.
A thermogram will not find the exact location of a tumor so if something is found then further testing does need to be done.
A tumor has likely been growing for several years once it is detected in a mammogram. This image shows how the inflammation and extra blood flow are detectable with thermography.
Now that I knew this option existed I knew that thermography was the route I wanted to pursue. One thing that kept coming up in my research is that thermography is NOT covered under insurance. Well that’s a shocker, something that’s better for you isn’t covered…too bad you can’t hear sarcasm in writing. This did not surprise me at all so then you get put in a position of your health vs. your pocket book and this should not be a decision that anyone has to make for any medical situation. I found a local provider and the cost was $250. You have no idea how much easier I breathed after hearing this. I was expecting another digit. The out of pocket range for a mammogram from what I found is 80-260 so this was in the range of what we’d pay anyway.
I had my 1st thermogragy done this month and it is clear. I am at very low risk. I will go back in 6 months for another one so we have my baseline but for the time being I am very happy to have found this option and hope to help more of you.
My goal is to help more people know that there are options out there. In no way am I saying no one should ever have a mammogram. I do believe they have their place in the whole process of detection and testing. When you know you have more options you can do your own research and make the decision that is best for you.