I had to make a tough decision recently. One that thousands of women face every day. Do I have a mammogram? I opted no. And before you click out of this, let me explain why. THIS IS A SPONSORED POST FROM NATURAL STATE HEALTH CENTER BUT ALL OF THE OPINIONS ARE STRICTLY MY OWN. (DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.)
I have a similar philosophy to that of Dr. Christiane Northrup, a well-respected medical doctor and proponent of women's health. I have chosen thermography as the best avenue for my screening options for breast cancer or any other cancer. She says on her website,
"Why Thermography Is Your Best Breast Test Option
Every year when Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes around I am saddened and surprised that thermography hasn’t become more popular. Part of this is my mindset. I’d rather focus on breast health and ways to prevent breast cancer at the cellular level than put the emphasis on testing and retesting until you finally do find something to poke, prod, cut out, or radiate. I understand that most doctors are more familiar with mammography, and many still believe that a mammogram is the best test for detecting breast cancer early. But it’s not. Studies show that a thermogram identifies precancerous or cancerous cells earlier, produces unambiguous results which cuts down on additional testing, and doesn’t hurt the body."
Those simple statements sold me. "Thermogram identifies precancerous or cancerous cells earlier, produces unambiguous results which cuts down on additional testing, and doesn't hurt the body." I feel like I could almost wrap this up right at that point. But I want you to know what thermography is so you can make your own choices.
She says, "Thermography is a form of thermal (infrared) imaging." She continues with an opinion of her medical colleague who says this about it: "It is widely acknowledged that cancers, even in their earliest stages, need nutrients to maintain or accelerate their growth. In order to facilitate this process, blood vessels are caused to remain open, inactive blood vessels are activated, and new ones are formed through a process known as neoangiogenesis. This vascular process causes an increase in surface temperature in the affected regions, which can be viewed with infrared imaging cameras. Additionally, the newly formed or activated blood vessels have a distinct appearance, which thermography can detect." (emphasis added).
You see, with thermography it is detecting heat changes in the body. My first thermogram was a couple of years ago. So I have a baseline reading. Then in June, 2018, I had another reading. All clear. But the one I had in February, 2019, there was a change. In thermography, heat changes show inflammation in the body. It could be there for arthritis, a ligament tear or a number of things, but mine was on my right breast and I knew I had none of those things. It was marked as "a high level of conern" from the radiologist who read the results. My thermography has been done only at Natural State Health Centers where Helen DuBose is my thermographer. What was I to do? Have a mammogram? I don't want the radiation, the pain or the risk it could do something to cause cancer to spread. So I asked my healthcare provider for an ultrasound of the breast. She, of course, advised me that she would prefer mammography but respected MY decision to forgo that. For now. There might be a time I would have one. I just don't want to expose myself to unnecessary radiation unless there is significant concern.
I had a breast ultrasound at CHI St. Vincent Breast Center in the Doctors Building. It was done much like an ultrasound is done for pregnancy: with the gel and a wand. The technician was professional and courteous. The radiologist came in afterwards and said it was probably some scar tissue that was showing up on the thermogram and was of NO NEED FOR CONCERN. He, of course, recommended mammography for women but respected my decision. He also said, "You have dense breast tissue and frankly mammography is not the best screening tool for your type of breast tissue." That is good to know in the event I am faced with that decision. Ultrasound is still my preferential option and then if there was concern at that point, I would ask for an MRI. Again, I am an extremely informed patient. Informed patients are the ones who take their health education into their own hands. I don't want others making my decisions for me; I want to study and research with all my might before a decision is made. That is why I am a thyroid patient who takes the natural preparation and not the synthetic Synthroid. I have done the research. NP Thyroid (generic of Armour) is best for MY body. That is also why I chose to have unmedicated births when I delivered my babies. I research things with all the options, and I make what is best for MY body. What you do with yours is your decision and never mine to judge. Ever.
More from Dr. Northrup's website about thermography:
6 Reasons Why I Recommend Breast Thermography
In addition to early detection and accurate test results, here are some other reasons I like thermography:
Good for young, dense breasts and implants. Younger breasts tend to be denser. Thermography doesn’t identify fibrocystic tissue, breast implants, or scars as needing further investigation.
Detect cell changes in arm pit area. The arm pit area is an area that mammography isn’t always good at screening.
Great additional test. Thermography can be used as an additional test to help women and their care teams make more informed treatment decisions.
It Doesn’t Hurt. The pressure of a mammogram machine is equivalent to putting a 50-pound weight on your breast, which can be quite painful for most women.
No radiation. Another reason the United States Preventative Services Task Force reversed its aggressive mammogram guidelines was because of the exposure to radiation. It’s well known that excessive doses of radiation can increase your risk of cancer. (Semelka 4). It’s ironic that the test women are using for prevention may be causing the very problem they’re trying to avoid in the first place! And this doesn’t even touch on the harm done to the body from unnecessary biopsies, lumpectomies, mastectomies, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and so forth.
Thermography is very safe. Thermography is even safe for pregnant and nursing women! It’s merely an image of the heat of your body.
I hope this spurs you to research and find out more yourself. As for me, I will continue to have thermography. I will continue to eat a healthy diet and use my intermittent fasting lifestyle to keep my insulin levels down. I will continue to avoid sugar for the most part (sugar is a mean adversary in the war against cancer.) I will continue to exercise and see a chiropractor every week. I will continue to pursue my best life through healthy relationships. That's what I'm doing. What about you? Good health begins with you.
#thermography #mammography #breastimaging #radiationrisks