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Mammogram Alternatives Can Also Be Dangerous (And Often Are)

Mammogram Alternatives Can Also Be Dangerous (And Often Are)

Breast cancer screening methods aimed at "early detection", whether they are orthodox tests such as mammography or alternative modalities such as thermography, have been marketed as procedures of "preventive medicine", allegedly helping to decrease mortality from breast cancer.

Yet, premium research studies, including large randomized trials, on mammography reported no (significant) reduction in breast cancer mortality. What's worse, a number of studies demonstrated that mammography increases total mortality.

A principal reason for this finding of harm is that screening for early forms of breast cancer leads to overdiagnosis. That is, the detection of pseudo-cancers or non-cancers -"cancers" that would not cause harm, such as the demise of a patient during her lifetime, if not detected and treated. All of these "cancers" tend to get treated aggressively with conventional cancer therapies, causing significant collateral damage, including death, to basically healthy women as breast cancer screening is marketed primarily towards healthy women.

Why Do All Breast Cancer Screening Tests Cause Serious, Unnecessary Harm?

An "alternative" to a conventional approach, akin to a "natural" product versus a non-natural product, isn't necessarily safe or without serious risks, as such "non-mainstream" services and products are often portrayed.

Much of the public has been led to believe that alternatives to mammograms are non-harmful because they don't incur radiation toxicity. But the radiation problem is an "intrinsic" issue of mammography while all imaging modalities are still rooted in, and an outcome of, the largely unscientific medical theories about breast cancer.

Overdiagnosis from diagnostic screening modalities is predominantly the result of a LACK of sound science (instead we have medical dogmas) about breast cancer, not something specifically and exclusively related to mammography, rendering mammogram alternatives also problematic.

If you're basic premises on breast cancer are strongly erroneous, unclear, and ambiguous, diagnosis and treatments will naturally be too.

Research studies have found that overdiagnosis with cancer screening is highly prevalent and significant, encompassing numerous categories of cancer (e.g., prostate, lung, and thyroid cancer) and several imaging modalities such as mammography, MRIs, and ultrasound [1-4]. And as explained above, overdiagnosis means needless overtreatment (=unnecessary harm).

Also, overdiagnosis is a pertinent reality with any type of screening method of early detection of breast cancer.


● because all diagnostic screening tests of early detection of breast cancer are in use and promoted based on the medical ASSUMPTION that a breast "cancer" is going to progress linearly and universally into an advanced, progressive type, hence it needs to be detected early and eradicated per that theory. Plenty of sound scientific evidence refutes this notion of breast cancer progression. It was demonstrated, for example, that even a severely mutated cancer tissue doesn't necessarily or predictably evolve into a progressive, fatal cancer (references in my ebook "The Mammogram Myth").

Wrong notions seldom produce good or reliable results (at least for most people).

The ramification of this is that orthodox medicine is treating a lot of breast "cancers," no matter the screening method they are found by, that either would never progress (or only insignificantly) to harm the patient in her lifetime or that (entirely) regress (references in my ebook "The Mammogram Myth").

A disease, like health, is a fluid, non-static "state". It is affected by a myriad of factors, constantly steering the human organism into either a constructive or degenerative direction of being. This multi-factorial, ever-changing situation proffers plenty of opportunity for positive modification, at any age, in terms of an individual's "state" of health.

However, this window of change ("plasticity") is greatest when a disease such as breast cancer is in the early stages, narrowing steadily and progressively roughly in proportion to the continuation of degeneration of the tissue abnormality. Therefore, it seems most reasonable to put strong emphasis on assisting the body in constructively re-directing the course of (particularly) EARLY-STAGE breast "cancer" instead of eradicating it with toxic traditional cancer therapies, especially since all invasive cancer treatments increase the risk of secondary cancer (frequently metastatic) and mortality. But generally, what follows a diagnosis of breast cancer is a destructive, rather than a constructive, approach of "cure". While thermography is advertized as non-invasive, totally painless, and "respectful" by its proponents, numerous early breast "cancers" discovered by it end up getting treated with invasive, "disrespectful" orthodox cancer treatments, making thermography only appear "respectful" on the surface.

Here is where a big danger of unnecessary harm lays with some mammogram alternatives (certainly if a breast cancer diagnosis is followed up with orthodox cancer therapies). MRIs and thermography, for instance, are touted as finding breast cancer at even earlier stages than mammograms, when at or near the abnormal tissue growth's peak of regenerative capability and possibility (that can result in, for example, the spontaneous regression of the tissue abnormality). Why seriously harming the body at a time when it has the biggest probability of successful recovery in the absence of clear scientific evidence that screening for early breast cancers leads to a decrease in breast cancer mortality?

● because, at present, medical science cannot reliably predict, based on cell histopathology, whether a breast "cancer" is going to be a progressive (=likely fatal) or non-progressive (=basically harmless) cancer (references in my ebook "The Mammogram Myth").

Ambiguous notions seldom produce good or reliable results (at least for most people).

As long as the medical profession doesn't truly know what it is actually treating (a real or pseudo cancer), any screening method (with its aim and function of "digging up" tissue abnormalities, that is breast cancers), whether orthodox or alternative, is inescapably going to inflict large and significant damage, in particular over the long run and because of the large scale of screening implementation. Nevertheless, it is not uncommon for avid proponents of mammogram alternatives to miss or disregard this scientific reality.

Therefore, if you detect a lot of early breast cancers, particularly with screening tests that are credited with being better in discovering them, such as thermography and MRIs, you are increasing the pool of cancers that potentially and actually are going to get treated unnecessarily. As a consequence, overdiagnosis is conceivably even larger with certain mammogram alternatives, but at a minimum it is likely significant (as with mammography). For example, overdiagnosis from MRI usage for breast cancer detection is extensive, causing massive damage [3].

Thermography, an alternative non-invasive imaging test using infrared technology to detect inflammatory heat patterns and distribution of body surface temperatures of breast tissue, also cannot reliably determine and predict if a (potential) breast cancer is going to progress or not based on markers of thermal abnormalities even though the method is based on rather valid physiological events.

For instance, thermal abnormalities, as spotted by thermography, are not present in all breast cancers because there's a wide variety of cancer tumors emitting different amounts of heat due to differences in the formation of (new) blood vessels (angiogensis) and metabolic energy output [5,6]. In a group of confirmed breast cancer patients no difference in 5-year survival was recorded between those who had a thermograpic abnormality and those who did not [7]. The differentiation between a malignant breast cancer and a benign tissue growth, such as fibrocystic mastopathy, is seriously challenging or impossible with the use of thermography [8], although newer infrared imaging technology has made significant strides in this regard [9]. At least one study [6] reported no link between a temperature abnormality and the proliferation rate of the examined breast cancers.

Thermography only measures SURFACE skin temperatures. If a breast cancer develops near the chest wall, for instance, its thermophysical signature (conceivably) wont register on the surface. Another obstacle diminishing the predictive dependability of this imaging tool centers around the difficulty in accurately interpreting a thermogram [10], in part, because of a lack of a standard protocol guiding clinical interpretation of images [11].

Also, since the "early detection" of breast cancer with mammography hasn't (notably) reduced breast cancer mortality, what valid, reliable evidence is there suggesting a mammogram alternative, geared also at early detection, would be significantly beneficial? For example, no randomized studies have been conducted on MRIs, ultrasound, and thermography [12].

Some investigative data on thermography revealed that the test did poorly in discovering primary breast cancers [13,14]. Some researchers maintained that there is insufficient adequate and solid scientific data substantiating the value of thermography [15,16].

A few cancer screening scientists had cautioned that "Given the potential for serious harms in healthy individuals, screening should be offered only when the benefits are firmly documented and considered to outweigh the harms [...]." [17 (emphasis added)].

When faced with a lack of credible data on the clear benefits of a screening method, considerable scientific certainty the test doesn't inflict much serious harm becomes imperative. This, however, is very problematic to ascertain when the worst types of harms from breast cancer screening, including from mammography and alternatives such as MRIs and ultrasound, routinely remain undisclosed in the medical literature [17].

There Is "First, We Do No Harm" And Then There Is Reality

The rationale of traditional medicine, fueled heavily by a dogmatic commitment to their unscientific theoretical notions about breast cancer, is to generally treat, as a precaution, all forms of breast "cancer" as some tissue abnormalities will evolve into progressive malignant breast cancers. Yet, this general practice totally violates what the medical establishment officially promises and wants the public to believe about the industry: 'first, we do no harm'.

The sad reality of overdiagnosis is that many basically HEALTHY women end up routinely getting invasive cancer treatments, causing -unnecessarily- enormous harm, including the causation of real cancer and premature death. The fundamental predicament is sort of like sending a lot of INNOCENT women to prison for many years, in some instances, for the rest of their lives. What woman would cheerfully volunteer for such a precarious scenario (=screening for early breast cancer) if she knew the basic reality underlying the medical test?

Don't forget, this is no small matter. It is a scientific certainty that millions of healthy women have been seriously harmed and killed by overdiagnosis because of the widespread implementation of these various diagnostic screening methods on a global scale over the last few decades.

The Most Serious Harms Of Breast Cancer Screening Are Hidden From The Public

Disturbingly, a review of randomized trials on cancer screening revealed that the arguably greatest source of harm from screening (whether it is from mammography or safer options such as MRIs and ultrasound), overdiagnosis, was seldom reported or quantified [17].

In "The Mammogram Myth" I showed just how commonly mammogram risks are underreported and downplayed in the medical literature.

Essentially, the biggest known dangers of breast cancer screening are "swept under the rug" by the same conglomerate of people (the medical orthodoxy) who claims and swears to wanting to help women with breast cancer. If you take your car to a mechanic who promises to be of service to you, works on your car but then knowingly fails to point out to you that there's a good chance the wheels on your car will come off because the screws are loose, do you conclude, knowing all of this, the mechanic's claim to help you is credible and trustworthy?

Confronted by a research environment where severe screening dangers are systematically "whitewashed", some investigators concluded that, "Healthcare decision makers, healthcare practitioners, and, ultimately, patients therefore cannot make informed choices about cancer screening." [17]

The commercialized medical industry, in general, has been carefully hiding the true dangers of its cornucopia of medical interventions and services. A lack of research papers demonstrating, or alleged top-notch studies lacking the reporting of, risks from breast cancer screening, whether with mammography or mammogram alternatives, doesn't mean the threats don't exist in real life, especially when a plethora of valid investigations found they do.

The public gets exposed to a lot of fancy medical claims about the various breast screening modalities, "first, we do not harm", "early detection of breast cancer significantly decreases mortality from the disease", "radiation risks from mammography are negligible or hypothetical", "overdiagnosis is insignificant", all of which is either not backed up by any meaningful scientific evidence or soundly disproven by actual facts and reality.

In "The Mammogram Myth" I had suggested that what the public really ought to worry about is what the traditional medical industry is NOT telling them about a medical procedure.

Breast Cancer Screening Isn't Really About Prevention

More important than having knowledge of "detached" pearls of scientific data or information about a topic is the proper understanding of that data's meaning and significance within a larger context.

A serious problem, such as breast cancer, can only really be solved if causes are addressed. The prevention of anything is the avoidance of a problem BEFORE it "raises its ugly head" by taking care of its causes. Breast cancer screening aimed at "early detection", with both traditional and non-traditional procedures, is about diagnosis (and subsequent treatment) of a problem that has NOT been prevented. It is discovery of a problem (i.e., breast cancer) once it already has manifested itself in the human body. The manifestation of breast cancer is testimony that causes of the disease have not been taken care of.

This is further corroborated by many good research papers reporting no decrease in the incidence of progressive, invasive breast cancers following the implementation of mammography. It is indication that the widely promoted claim about mammography as a "preventive" medical procedure is inappropriate and misleading, at the very least.

True prevention of breast cancer entails the avoidance of the principal causes of the disease, and making your body generally more healthy (primarily through optimized nutrition via diet and nutritional supplements) to forgo the manifestation of this dreaded illness.

Unfortunately, that's where the crux of the multifaceted problem of breast cancer prevention is buried:

● the true causes of breast cancer remain largely unknown to women at large because of politics in orthodox medicine, enormous profits that are at stake for the medical industry, and the cultural dominance of corporate self-interests (references in my ebook "The Mammogram Myth"). A lack of awareness about the real causes of breast cancer undermines women's intention and aim of effectively preventing the disease;

● many people don't recognize their utmost responsibility for their own health, failing to incorporate true preventative measures into their lifestyle. The sociologist Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) encapsulated this with his insightful statement, "The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.";

● the rather common lack of a sense of obligation for one's own health is enabled or facilitated by the commercialized culture of many industrialized nations that encourages us to shift the responsibility for our own health (in the form of true prevention) from ourselves to the medical establishment (whose fundamental, primary practice is diagnosis and treatment, not prevention).

The corporate culture's self-interests and influence help to assure that the public's focus is predominantly centered around "preventive" breast screening tests, rather than on true prevention. You're supposed to believe that diagnosis and treatment, not prevention, is "the solution" to beating breast cancer, despite the fact that not one chronic degenerative disease, like cancer, has ever been cured by this approach.

In the US, for instance, over 99% of all healthcare dollars go to the diagnosis and treatment of disease [18]. Nations dominated by corporatism, such as the US, don't fundamentally care about prevention in healthcare, as the fiscal record of budget allocation proves. How come? The chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, Otis Webb Brawley, MD, explained it in plain language in 2012: "there is no money in prevention" [19]. Naturally, this epitomizes a situation highly profitable to the medical industry but extremely costly to a society in terms of both fiscal resources and human suffering and lives lost;

● the magnitude of poor health (i.e., the incidence of health issues) rises in direct proportion to the income inequality within a nation's populace [20]. Economic inequality (this gap is very distinct and large in the US at present) makes it tougher or impossible for many people to properly take care of their own health due to heightened financial quandaries and increased psychological stress.

Now, I'm not saying that certain breast screening tests don't have (some) value, it's just that in a commercialized culture almost all "scientific" information is "generated" to show and promote the benefits of "diagnosis and treatments" in the form of profit-producing medical products and services, while greatly minimizing and obfuscating their true risks, obstructing a person's sincere desire and opportunity to make an informed decision.

For more information (including copious scientific references) on overdiagnosis, mammogram alternatives, traditional medical theories of breast cancer, and various (disregarded) facts about breast cancer see my (e)book The Mammogram Myth: The Independent Investigation Of Mammography The Medical Profession Doesn't Want You To Know About.

[here insert thumbnail picture of the ebook cover of "The Mammogram Myth" as in []

At, I discuss some summary points of "The Mammogram Myth".

An (e)book Kindle version of "The Mammogram Myth" is available for purchase, for only $7.99, from Amazon at (non-affiliate link). It is also available at Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Sony, Kobo, and other fine (e)book retailers.



[1] Bogdasarov IuB, Ozhiganov EL, Lenskaia OP, Mazaev AP, "Thermography and computed tomography in the diagnosis of cancer recurrence after rectal extirpation", [Article in Russian], Med Radiol (Mosk). 1986 Jan;31(1):26-31.

[2] Dralle H, "Thyroid incidentaloma. Overdiagnosis and overtreatment of healthy persons with thyroid illness?", [Article in German], Chirurg. 2007 Aug;78(8):677-86.

[3] Killelea BK, Long JB, Chagpar AB, Ma X, Soulos PR, Ross JS, Gross CP, "Trends and clinical implications of preoperative breast MRI in Medicare beneficiaries with breast cancer", Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Aug;141(1):155-63. doi: 10.1007/s10549-013-2656-1. Epub 2013 Aug 14.

[4] Brito JP, Morris JC, Montori VM, "Thyroid cancer: zealous imaging has increased detection and treatment of low risk tumours", BMJ. 2013 Aug 27;347:f4706. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f4706.

[5] Liszka G, Hérics I, Bodó M, Ringwald G, "Diagnostic value of infrared thermography in breast cancer, and in proliferative and non proliferative mastopathies", Arch Geschwulstforsch. 1987;57(6):487-91.

[6] Sterns EE, Zee B, SenGupta S, Saunders FW, "Thermography. Its relation to pathologic characteristics, vascularity, proliferation rate, and survival of patients with invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast", Cancer. 1996 Apr 1;77(7):1324-8

[7] Sterns EE, Zee B, "Thermography as a predictor of prognosis in cancer of the breast", Cancer. 1991 Mar 15;67(6):1678-80.

[8] Bartl W, Pfersmann C, Schlögl H, Dadak C, "Relevance of palpatory, mammographic and thermographic assessment criteria in benign and malignant structural changes in the female breast", [Article in German], Wien Klin Wochenschr. 1986 Dec 5;98(23):797-803.

[9] EtehadTavakol M, Lucas C, Sadri S, Ng EYK, "Analysis of Breast Thermography Using Fractal Dimension to Establish Possible Difference between Malignant and Benign Patterns", Journal of Healthcare Engineering, Vol. 1, No. 1, Pp. 27-44, March 2010; DOI:10.1260/2040-2295.1.1.27

[10] Gołab-Lipińska MV, Jakubowska T, Wysocki M, Kałuzna K, Peszyński-Drews C, "Thermography in the early detection of breast cancer--our own experiences", [Article in Polish], Wiad Lek. 2004;57 Suppl 1:87-90.

[11] Mital M, Scott EP, "Thermal detection of embedded tumors using infrared imaging", J Biomech Eng. 2007 Feb;129(1):33-9.

[12] Brodersen J, Jørgensen KJ, Gøtzsche PC, "The benefits and harms of screening for cancer with a focus on breast screening", Pol Arch Med Wewn. 2010 Mar;120(3):89-94.

[13] Williams KL, Phillips BH, Jones PA, Beaman SA, Fleming PJ, "Thermography in screening for breast cancer", J Epidemiol Community Health. 1990 Jun;44(2):112-3.

[14] Kontos M, Wilson R, Fentiman I, "Digital infrared thermal imaging (DITI) of breast lesions: sensitivity and specificity of detection of primary breast cancers", Clin Radiol. 2011 Jun;66(6):536-9. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2011.01.009. Epub 2011 Mar 5

[15] Vreugdenburg TD, Willis CD, Mundy L, Hiller JE, "A systematic review of elastography, electrical impedance scanning, and digital infrared thermography for breast cancer screening and diagnosis", Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013 Feb;137(3):665-76. doi: 10.1007/s10549-012-2393-x. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

[16] Brkljacić B, Miletić D, Sardanelli F, "Thermography is not a feasible method for breast cancer screening", Coll Antropol. 2013 Jun;37(2):589-93.

[17] Heleno B, Thomsen MF, Rodrigues DS, Jørgensen KJ, Brodrsen J, "Quantification of harms in cancer screening trials: literature review", BMJ. 2013 Sep 16;347:f5334. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f5334.


[19] Smiley T, "Cancer expert Dr. Otis Webb Brawley", 7-March-2012 [accessed at on 10-May-2013]

[20] Jackson R, "Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap For Economic And Political Reform", 2012


About Rolf Hefti

Rolf Hefti is an independent health researcher and the author of "The Mammogram Myth: The Independent Investigation Of Mammography The Medical Profession Doesn't Want You To Know About". He is also the founder and editor of where he publicizes his investigative findings, mostly for free. To get updates on the release of his latest articles, special reports, and other works sign up for his free newsletter at his site

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
Sayer Ji
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