Screening mammograms don't increase your chances
of being cured... or of surviving longer.
excerpt from Chapter Five of Breast Cancer? Breast Health!
by Susun Weed
Available at www.wisewomanbookshop.com
Early diagnosis of breast cancer by mammographic screening produces
higher rates of cure and longer survival times without actually increasing
the number of women cured nor lengthening their lives. How can that
be? It's sleight of hand with numbers.
Survival, when it comes to breast cancer statistics, is defined as
being alive five years after the diagnosis of cancer. Cure is defined
as being disease-free five years after diagnosis. A women who dies of
breast cancer more than five years after her diagnosis can still be
included in statistics as a "cure."
A woman with a slow-growing metastasizing breast cancer will live,
on the average, 15 years after the cancer's inception.15 A mammogram
can detect a slow-growing breast cancer when it is about eight years
old. (15 - 8 = 7 more years to live.) If this woman dies seven years
after her diagnosis, she will be counted as "cured" because
she lived for more than 5 years.
The same slow-growing metastasizing breast cancer will be 11 or 12
years from its inception when noticed by a woman who neither touches
her breasts regularly nor has mammograms. (Women who do regular breast
self-exam or breast self-massage usually notice a slow-growing cancer
nine years after its inception, just one doubling bigger than visible
to a mammogram.16) This woman will live as long as the woman whose cancer
was discovered by screening mammogram, but won't be "cured"
because she didn't live for five more years. (15 - 11 = 4 years).
The cure is only a statistic. There is no difference in the number
of years lived after the inception of the cancer, no difference in the
length of life, only a difference in number of years lived after diagnosis.
Read the rest of Chapter 5 (click on any section below)
Mammograms - Who needs them?
All mammograms are x-rays.
Mammograms are inaccurate.
Mammograms can't tell if there's cancer.
Mammograms don't replace breast self-exams.
Mammographic screening increases risk
of breast cancer mortality in premenopausal women.
Why I haven't had a baseline mammogram.
Mammograms aren't safe.
Screening mammograms lead to overtreatment.
Screening mammograms don't increase
your chances of being cured . . . or of surviving longer.
Mammograms don't find cancer before
Aren't mammograms life saving for
women over 55?
Yearly screening mammograms aren't
cost effective to society nor are they safe environmentally.
Is there a less risky way to participate
in screening mam-mography?
Mammograms distract us from the need
for societal commitment to true prevention.
Are there other ways to find early-stage
Mammograms don't promote breast health.
If You Decide to Have a Mammogram.
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