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Mammograms Again

Why haven’t I seen this information before now!? It doesn’t change my mind, but if you are still getting routine mammograms, it might change yours. I saw this article first in Consumer Reports.

The Institute of Medicine, the nonprofit arm of the National Academy of Sciences issued a Report in 2012 that evaluated the potential for different environmental impacts on the initiation of breast cancer. Surprisingly, they weren’t able to associate any particular product or chemical with malignancy, a far more conservative stance than I have seen from the Environmental Working Group or the Breast Cancer Fund.

Yet this clearly cautious group concluded that about 2800 breast cancer cases a year in the US stem from medical radiation. This is an astounding number to me, a lot of women! Radiation Research spokeswoman Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman acknowledges that “they can potentially be reduced.” Radiologists have been telling me for thirty years that mammograms are completely safe, but that just in case, the new mammograms will be lowering the radiation dose for folks like me who worry about such things.

I’ll stick with my annual thermogram, avoidance of environmental chemicals and sources of BPA (water bottles, cash register receipts--“No thank you”--and canned food linings.) I take post-menopausal bio-identical hormone therapy, paying attention to both my levels of hormones (estrogen associated with a reduced risk) and my body’s ability to metabolize estrogens (calling on a healthy liver, proper dietary choices, and adequate methylation.) Women with challenging occupational exposures would be wise to consult a physician skilled in evaluating your potential risks from your work. (Include night-shift work and disrupted sleep among risk factors.)

But a mammogram? No, thank you.

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