Mammograms are a big business. Forty-eight million per year in the US, to be exact!
But when you get a mammogram, did you know that there’s a higher risk for those with larger breasts to developing future breast cancer due to the radiation exposure per mammogram event, coupled with the way the breast has to be compressed?
One study estimated that 100,000 women being screened annually from ages 40 to 55 years and every other year until age 74 years (with 3.7 mGy - measurement of radiation - per examination) would eventually produce 86 breast cancers. Because early detection saves lives, the medical community still promotes mammograms as the only option for avoiding breast cancer. But it’s a double-sided coin — radiation may impact other health systems that are not counted for in the cancer diagnoses.
If you are already predisposed to breast cancer, this can be concerning — but what if there were a better way?
Is there a good alternative to Mammograms?
Breast cancer is still the second-highest killer of American women, and we want to see this awful disease eliminated. We’re standing up for alternative methods to support your feminine health — to do this, we’re discussing mammogram alternatives, how you can get them done, and some ways to support breast wellness.
Alternative medicine gives you options that are specific to your physical makeup and needs. We want to explore all the choices you have to make the best decision for your breast wellness.
When you’re deciding which tests you should get to help protect yourself from cancer, here are some great questions to keep in mind —
- Am I at high risk for breast cancer?
- What are the possible risks from the test options?
- Does the amount of radiation in a mammogram make me nervous, given my current risk for developing breast cancer?
- How often do I need to be screened for breast cancer?
- Should I consider thermography, ultrasound, or a combination of tests for my screening protocol?
If you are concerned about the amount of radiation and are interested in the other forms of screening, we recommend discussing your concerns with an integrative medical professional who can help you make the best choices for your body.
Thermography creates a heat map of areas of your body. Where there is higher heat, there is unusual activity or more increased blood flow.
If you’re concerned about the amount of radiation involved in a traditional mammogram, have a high risk of developing breast cancer, or simply want to take a proactive approach to your health, this can be a decent option when looking for breast anomalies.
Thermography is great for pinpointing the right environment for potential tumors or precancerous growths. And if you’re on hormone replacement, are nursing, or have large or augmented breasts, we can still easily see the infrared images. And while up to 20% of cancers go undetected by mammograms, thermal imaging can pinpoint the right environment for these diseases.
The only downside to thermography is that it will most likely be an out-of-pocket cost, and it may produce some false positives that may need further investigation.
While typically, you must get a mammogram before getting a breast ultrasound, there’s now a way to have an ultrasound before the radiation — Herscan provides them to help you avoid radiation and be proactive in your breast health.
Breast ultrasounds involve no compression, and your results are ready by a highly trained Board-Certified radiologist. If you have dense breasts, you especially can benefit from one because it produces imaging that goes all the way to the chest wall.
Breast Ultrasounds also cost half of a thermography scan, which helps women get the lifesaving information they need!
If you require a mammogram, be sure to utilize thermography and other resources to ensure that you’re keeping track of your breast wellness and preemptively avoid tumor growth.
Things that Harm and Help Breast Wellness
From birth control and hormone supplements to pesticides, plastics, and tap water, estrogen surrounds us! To help your body ward off cancer, here are some items to avoid and foods not to eat. While some of these items have other nutrients, they can hurt breast wellness.
Estrogenic Foods to avoid (high in phytoestrogens) —
- Red Clover
- Xiang Fu
- Green drinks and protein powders
Foods to eat include —
- Leafy green vegetables
- Fatty fish
- Allium vegetables like leeks and onions
- Fermented foods
- Peaches, apples, and pears
- Herbs and spices with antioxidants
We hope that all of this information helps you understand that breast cancer isn’t fought with just a structured pattern that’s one-size-fits-all.
You have options to help your body stay healthy! Support yourself with strong habits and stay ahead of your health issues with regular checkups with integrative medical professionals who look at you as an individual with specific needs.