We are being overmedicated rather than educated on how to eat a healthier diet and select healthier lifestyle choices. During the evening local and world news, within an hour span of time, there are probably a dozen commercials on drugs we should ask our doctors for. This hour is prime time for senior citizens. We are the only country in the world that our FDA authorities allow drug companies to push their drugs. When I travel to other countries around the world, during discussions with researchers and scientists on natural medicines versus synthetic drugs, they can’t believe that the FDA would allow drug advertisements. Don’t get caught up in the whirlwind of drug therapy.
Drugs don’t cure. Drugs don’t improve a healthy body. The initial use of drugs was designed for emergencies or a crisis to save lives and they do. But today’s chronic illnesses have been caused primarily by bad lifestyle choices and faulty, unhealthy diets. This brings me to a topic of mammograms and breast cancer, and the question if women should ever get a mammogram. Current breast cancer screening programs recommend women age 40 and older get a mammogram every year. However, the US Preventative Services Task Force released a new draft of mammogram screening guidelines this past spring. They recommend a mammogram screening test every other year for women over the age of 50. Why the recommendation to reduce mammogram screenings? Because mammogram screenings could possibly lead to over diagnoses. Researchers spent 10 years following the health records of 16 million U.S. women age 40 and over who received mammogram screening annually. They found a 16% increase in the detection of small, early stage cancers but no change in the detection of large aggressive tumors and no decrease in breast cancer deaths.
So if more cancers were found in the early stages, why didn’t researchers find a reduction in large aggressive cancers or a reduction in breast cancer death rates? Their answer was that mammogram screening of women in their 40s are primarily non-invasive, harmless cancers that are unlikely to affect a woman’s health or lifespan. What are the results when screenings do find cancer? Once a lump (cancer) of any kind is found, women have several options – get surgery to remove the lump, get toxic radiation or chemotherapy, or suffer the stress and anxiety of a cancer diagnoses. Researchers found that up to 30% of cancers found by mammograms are due to over diagnoses, women who are getting treated for a condition that may not cause them harm at all. Additionally, 83% of the suspicious areas in the breast found on mammograms later turned out to be nothing. Yet women will have to deal with the stress and anxiety of additional tests and unneeded biopsies. And worse, 20% of the mammograms result in a false negative. Mammograms are not perfect and they do fail to find cancer in many cases. Now for the darker side of mammograms. Mammograms are a form of radiation. Every mammogram increases the risk of breast cancer by 1%. A woman receiving an annual mammogram, as some doctors recommend starting at age 40, will then have an increased breast cancer risk of 10% by the time she is 50. Does that mean that all mammogram screening is useless? The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force says that annual mammogram screening tests are not helpful for women under age 50 with no obvious signs of breast cancer.
As we age, our risk of cancer increases and the benefits of a mammogram screening improves. That is why the new guidelines recommend a mammogram screening every other year for women over age 50. If you find a lump in your breast, see your doctor no matter what your age. If you have close relatives with breast cancer, such as mother, or sister, or the breast cancer gene (BRCA1) or (BRCA2), you may want to talk to your doctor about breast cancer screening even in your 40s. Is there anything you can do naturally as a preventative? Current research indicates two dietary foods, curcumin and grape seed extract (OPC). Curcumin has been found to stop the formation, growth and spread of breast cancer cells. One recent study found that curcumin stopped the replication and spread of triple, negative breast cancer cells which are the most aggressive and difficult to treat form of breast cancer. Grape seed extract stops cancer cells from spreading. Grape seed is an aromatase inhibitor. It blocks an enzyme which aids in estrogen production. Estrogen can stimulate the growth of some types of breast cancer. A recent study found that grape seed extract reduced by 50% the cancerous changes in breast cells caused by environmental toxins.
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