The Risks of Breast Cancer Hypervigilance

For more than 30 years, the Rubio Cancer Center has offered a complete, integrated approach to cancer treatment that combines the most effective elements of traditional and alternative treatments. As the founder and medical director of the Rubio Cancer Center, Dr. Geronimo Rubio has long been critical of the degree to which mammograms were being encouraged by the medical community – an opinion that is becoming increasingly validated by modern research.

The problem arises from a long-held misunderstanding about the nature of cancers. In 1977, cancer treatment specialists began advising regular mammograms for women after age 50, while assuming all breast cancers were essentially the same. Continuing with the assumption that a significant period of time passes between tumor growth and metastasis throughout the body, that recommendation was extended to younger women, believing that earlier detection would increase odds of survival.

In 1993, as evidence began showing that early detection had little effect on breast cancer survival rates, the National Institutes of Health withdrew previous recommendations about early screening, but was met with strong opposition. Only in recent years have concerns become more widespread that the consequences of a false positive diagnosis may outweigh the danger of the cancer. Many women who have had breasts removed after discovering abnormal growths are now learning that most such growths are harmless, while radiation treatments may increase their risk of heart disease and lung cancer. There is even speculation that the radiation used in the mammogram itself may inadvertently trigger breast cancer growth.

While breast cancer is still a serious issue – the second deadliest cancer for women in the United States – some women are now choosing to forego screenings if they are determined to have a low risk for the disease. If a woman discovers an unusual growth in the course of her daily routine, it is still highly recommended that she receive an immediate examination, but doctors today are putting much less emphasis on routine screenings than they have in the past.

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