A Look At the Risks Versus Benefits of Mammograms

The risk of mammograms is minimal due to radiation, but women should still consider alternatives.

Different women have different breast health needs.Different women have different breast health needs. X-ray imaging involves the use of radiation, the amount of which is generally considered inconsequential. However, a study funded by the National Cancer Institute, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (“Radiation-induced Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality from Digital Mammography Screening: A Modeling Study,” Miglioretti, et al., 2016) found “women with large breasts may have a greater risk for radiation-induced breast cancer” because of “dose variability from screening.”  The study conclusions say that about 125 out of 100,000 women receiving radiation in mammograms each year go on to develop breast cancer from the examination, resulting in 16 deaths. While statistically small, these findings compel some women to look for alternatives to mammograms

Alternatives and complements to mammograms exist.  When a patient detects a lump from a self-exam, a breast ultrasound can be used to determine if it is solid or filled with fluid. This is non-invasive, as is a thermography technique that has the benefit of being radiation free. Thermography is a method that takes pictures based on the temperature differences in tissue; cancerous areas tend to be warmer due to higher levels of blood flow and metabolism associated with cell growth. 

These alternatives are not considered replacements for mammograms as much as complements that carry lower risks, particularly for women who want more frequent monitoring.

A Mammogram may be a good choice but it is vital to know the risks and discuss them with your holistic healthcare practitioner. Radiation and compression of the breast tissue may cause damage and increase risks of cancer.

Contact us today at 805-560-7602 to schedule your appointment and achieve the peace of mind that comes with early health awareness and prevention.


Disclaimer: The content on this page and on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek out the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any concerns you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking professional medical advice because of any information you have read on this website.