chapter  Chapter 3
8 Pages

Dangers and Unreliability of Mammography: Breast Examination is a Safe, Effective, and Practical Alternative

WithSamuel S. Epstein

Contrary to popular belief and assurances by the US media and the cancer establishment—the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society —mammography is not a technique for early diagnosis. In fact, a breast cancer has usually been present for about eight years before it can finally be detected. Radiation from routine mammography poses significant cumulative risks of initiating and promoting breast cancer. Mammography entails tight and often painful compression of the breast, particularly in premenopausal women. This may lead to distant and lethal spread of malignant cells by rupturing small blood vessels in or around small, as yet undetected breast cancers. Overdiagnosis and subsequent overtreatment are among the major risks of mammography. The dangers and unreliability of mammography screening are compounded by its growing and inflationary costs; Medicare and insurance average costs are $70 and $125, respectively. Screening mammography poses major threats to the financially strained Medicare system.