Breast Cancer Community
the dangers of Mammograms
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to breast cancer, biopsy, genetics, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, lumps, lumpectomy, lymph node dissection, lymphedema, mammograms, mastectomy, radiation therapy, reconstruction, and self exams.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Blank Blank

the dangers of Mammograms

I just finished reading the question/comments about trauma done by mammograms.  Why are women not told about this?  I had the same thing happen to me several years ago and everywhere I turned - hospital that did the mammogram to my doctor to breast cancer hotlines to cancer institute failed me miserably.  They acted as if it was the first time it had happened to someone.  I had pain for two solid weeks,  Finally I got myself in touch with someone who knew breasts well and also about mammograms.  She told me that I had trauma to my milk ducts. She said you go to your doctor and tell him what I said.  I went and he agreed.  Within one day of taking the diuretics and anti-inflammatories I was much better.  But I have sworn off mammagrams.


This discussion is related to Red painful breast after mammogram.
Related Discussions
20 Comments
Blank
962875_tn?1314213636
I am sorry you had that experience, but I think you are being foodhardy to swear off mammograms.

Developing a breast cancer, that was consequently not caught at an early stage, would be far, far worse than the few weeks of pain you went through!
Blank
757137_tn?1347200053
When my doctor wanted me to have a mammogram I told him that when they devised a test for men that slammed their testes flat, then I would have one. I have always felt that the mammogram could damage tissue. That is not safe for the breasts given the possibility of getting cancer.
Blank
587083_tn?1327123862
I agree with you 100%  bluebutterfly2222.
To the minority of women who have sworn off mammograms,I have only a few things to say....
I hope they won't have to regret one day that they could have saved their lives had they thought seriously of the terrible consequences they might face if the breast cancer becomes too advanced to be cured.
So many women today are alive and well because of testing with mammograms... and that includes me.

Thank you bb.Your comment was important to all women concerned about breast cancer.
Having said that,I will not comment any more or respond to the very few who are contrary to our opinion and who would want to continue arguing concerning this subject.
Blank
757137_tn?1347200053
In the first place, women with dense breast tissue or very large breasts shouldn't bother with the mammogram, because it won't work for them.

As for breast cancer being discovered earlier, that is correct, but what they don't tell you is that life expectancy has not increased. The five year survival does not equate with the five year survival of years ago. Why? Because cancer is being discovered earlier. So maybe if we compare the five year survival of years ago with a seven year survival of today we will have a more meaningful comparison. Bad news? Yes, indeed. There has been no progress.
Blank
684030_tn?1415615923
"... women with dense breast tissue... shouldn't bother with the mammogram, because it won't work for them."

...Not True!

I have dense (fibrocystic) breasts and mammography detected my microcalcification clusters. Is Mammography a perfect science? Probably not... few sciences are. And, clearly, there are some radiology technicians that are better than others when plying their trade. I strongly suspect that technique and the level of skill of the attending technician has more to do with the pain factor than the actual mechanics of the process, itself. Moreover, it's a proven fact that Mammography can reveal many breast abnormalities... many of which can lead to Breast Cancer.

I agree with bluebutterfly and zouzi... the benefits of detection far outweigh any discomfort from testing.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Please add me to that group that knows mammography can work for women with dense breasts! I also have dense fibrocystic breasts and microcalcs on mammo led to my diagnosis of LCIS. I've been getting them every six months and will continue to do so in spite of the occasional discomfort. Mammo is not perfect but it's what we have for now.
If I have a choice between cancer being discovered early or too late to save my life, why would I ever choose the latter? I agree with zouzi it isn't worth arguing with the minority who believe otherwise, but just wanted to add my thoughts. I hope most of the women who come here will listen to bluebutterfly, zouzi, iam1butterfly and me and get their mammos as recommended by their health care professionals!
ncmichigan
Blank
962875_tn?1314213636
Please note:  following up on allmymarbles' comment about survival rates not being equivalent due to earlier detection and therefore needing to look at a longer time frame, brings very good news! The 10-year survival rate has nearly DOUBLED since the 1970s!!

http://www.*************.com/breast-cancer/news-529506-98.html?ic=6006

Breast Cancer Survival Rates Have Doubled Since 1970s
(The Press Association) UPDATED 2010-07-12
The number of women who survive breast cancer for at least 10 years has almost doubled since the 1970's, a new analysis has found, and many other cancers show that level of improvement as well. Less than 40 percent of women with breast cancer diagnosed in the early 1970s lived for ten years, while that number is now 77 percent.

Let's all pray that this welcome progress continues!!
bluebutterfly
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
That's GREAT information, and thank you, bb, for sharing it with us. I think we all KNOW
early detection through mammograms save lives, but it's good to have the statistics to
prove it. And to me, regardless of the per centages, even ONE life, if it's your sister,
daughter, mother, granddaughter, cousin, neighbor or friend, is worth it!  EVERY woman here is someone's sister, daughter, mother, granddaughter, cousin,neighbor or friend and I'm so grateful they get their mammos! I also tend to have faith in science and believe that continued research will bring progress until we beat breast cancer all together.
nc
Blank
492898_tn?1222247198
....and perhaps even, when it's YOU!
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Absolutely, Kat! And for SO many here, it is!
Blank
492898_tn?1222247198
You may feel better after reading the post left by MedHelp towards the top about the new mammogram guidelines.
I personally am surprised at how drastically changed these new recommendations are,
Somehow, the article along with the advising authorities, leave me with little confidence about whom to trust.
I feel that perhaps  not the same shoe fits everyone here?

KATRIN
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I breastfed all 3 of my children long term and have reduced my risk of breast cancer by 89.8% (breastfeeding - 68.8% and having 3 children - 21%, according to several studies). I have complete faith that what I did will protect me from breast cancer.  What my experience taught me was that the medical community really doesn't have a handle on just how dangerous mammograms might be for us who have nursed long term.  I sincerely feel I am risking my life by having a mammogram.  Especially when Dr. Susan Love stated this month in an article for SpryLiving.com that "For women under 40, the radiation from mammograms causes more cancer than it finds.  Between 40 and 50, it's a wash."  If I knew then that is how she felt I NEVER would have had the two I had.
Blank
739091_tn?1300669627
Every woman I sat and talked with while getting chemo had children they breastfed. Some were also vegans that ran marathons. Non smokers, low BMI, healthy eating, clean living, they still got cancer. I had two myself and breastfed both of them. Yeah for me. That didn't stop me from getting cancer. There are a lot of people who are not on the same boat with Dr Love for many many MANY reasons but putting that aside, you will finally figure out that no matter what you did right, you could still get cancer.

If you use a microwave, wear anti perspirant, use aluminum foil, live in a polluted area with bad air, dirty water, too much sun, not enough sun, use a cell phone, eat hamburger meat, eat any meat, drink milk or use milk products (you get the point, insert any bad or good idea here) you could have caused your own cancer. I wouldn't want to be the one to burst your "I did it right so I'll forever be cancer free bubble".

Mammograms are the least of your worries. But hey, if you believe they are going to hurt you, by all means don't ever have another one. Best wishes.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
Regarding the "cancer-free bubble", I'd like to relate a story from my nursing school days. I had just started Peds and my first patient was a 3 year old with Wilms (cancer of the kidney). He had been in for a routine check up at his pediatrician's and the next day he was in the hospital following surgery to remove his kidney and starting chemo. His Mom & Dad kept asking me "What did we do wrong? We made sure he had healthy food, we live out in the country, he has lots of time playing in the fresh air, what did we do wrong?"  I kept telling them, "You did nothing wrong--sometimes cancer just happens." He was an adorable  blue eyed blonde, just like my own 3 year old son. I wanted to go home and put my son in a nice little "bubble"  to protect him from all these bad diseases that could just happen, but of course, I couldn't. None of us can. We can only do what we feel is right for us and our families and hope that cancer doesn't touch us or our loved ones. When, and if it does, we do what we have to do to get through it. With breast cancer the risk is there simply because we are women. How we choose to deal with it is our personal right and choice. I just hope we each make the right one for ourselves and don't end up regretting those choices. I just know I won't.
nc
Blank
492898_tn?1222247198
About a year after finishing treatment for my bc, and this included mastectomy of right breast, chemo, radiation and hormonal treatment, I saw my oncologist and told him my cancer has recurred on the same side where I had breast cancer before, and that I was sure. So, the oncologist examined both breasts and told me he could feel or see nothing and that he really did not think what I told him was the case.

I went back three weeks later, and after I had my yearly mammogram, and I again told my oncologist the cancer had recurred. I also told him just because he could not detect any lumps that that meant nothing, that it was in the skin and that it was completely counterproductive to feel for lumps.

Then he argues that my recent mammogram said everything was dandy.

I just could not believe it. <y breast cancer had come back for sure in the same breast that had been removed. but you cannot do a mammogram on a breast that is not there and has been removed, so how can he be serious about a negative mammogram being a happy sign?

Anyway, that's all!

PS: And I was right! Hid nurse became my advocate for further and otherwise testing.
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
It is not only if you nursed but for how long.  That is where the bigger reduction in risk lies.  I nursed 16 years.  

Ncmichigan, wondering if by chance that 3 yr. old cancer victim was still nursing? Breastfeeding does reduce a child's risk of childhood cancers if they nurse long enough.
Blank
Avatar_f_tn
16 years? I REALLY don't want to get into a discussion about long term breastfeeding, but to answer your question no, he wasn't breastfeeding at the time but had been breastfed the fifteen months.
nc
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
According to forensic anthropologist, Doug Owsley I nursed as our ancestors did.  It seemed the normal thing to do for my babies and me.  I very much want to discuss long term breastfeeding because far too many women have no clue that it can be done or about the numerous benefits.  It needs to be talked about!!  It is not unnatural, it's uncultural.  It doesn't work for everyone, but if you and your baby want to, it can be done and it is being done.  

The reason I asked about the 3 yr. old was because I know that there are things in the breastmilk which can cause cancer cells to committ suicide.
Blank
492898_tn?1222247198
But what about the baby, or toddler?  He/she has to ingest cancer every day as his main diet? I realize he/she is too young to know, but as the mother I just could not do it. KAT
Blank
Avatar_n_tn
I'm sorry.  Forgive me, but I'm not quite sure what you are exactly referring to in your last  message. BJM
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Breast Cancer Community Resources
RSS Expert Activity
469720_tn?1388149949
Blank
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm-treatable... Blank
Oct 04 by Lee Kirksey, MDBlank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
Top Breast Cancer Answerers
25201_tn?1255584436
Blank
japdip
587083_tn?1327123862
Blank
zouzi