Mammography screenings have been proven to be ineffective and inaccurate, while the radiation exposure is known to pose a serious health risk. Breast thermography, on the other hand, is a proven, accurate, safe and noninvasive screening modality. Nonetheless, the mammography industry, channeled through the American Cancer Society, continues to promote mammography as safe and effective, while discouraging the use of breast thermography. Why? It's all about money.
The Mammography Industry
The mammography industry is comprised of major manufacturers of mammogram equipment and supplies (including Siemens, Xerox, DuPont, General Electric, Eastman Kodak, and Piker), radiology organizations (including the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, the American Society of Radiologic Technologists, and the American Radiology Society), the American Cancer Society (ACS), and cooperative radiologists.
The mission of the mammography industry is to generate as much revenue as possible by performing mammography examinations. It achieves its objectives through deception, propagating misinformation, intentionally misstating facts, and thwarting any technology that potentially threatens that income stream. The industry knows that breast thermography is a superior screening technique, so it does whatever it can to discourage its use, regardless of the cost to women's health or lives.
A financial empire has developed around mammography screening. In fact, if every woman were to follow ACS guidelines for mammography screening, the annual revenue to the mammography industry would exceed $5 billion.
The American Cancer Society Is the Voice of the Mammography Industry
In virtually all of its important actions, the American Cancer Society has been strongly linked with the mammography industry. When the facts are revealed, it becomes clear why the ACS and the mammography industry are so closely intertwined. Five radiologists have served as its presidents, the mammography industry conducts research for the American Cancer Society, it serves on ACS advisory boards, and it donates considerable money to the ACS. Every action of the American Cancer Society supports the economic interests of the major manufacturers of mammogram machines and supplies.
Pertinent to the discussion of breast thermography is how the ACS assists the mammography industry in discouraging the use of breast thermography in the United States.
Ignoring the Experts and Misdirecting Women
Experts report in the most prestigious medical journal that…
"Screening for breast cancer with mammography is unjustified…the data show that for every 1000 women screened biennially throughout 12 years, one breast-cancer death is avoided whereas the total number of deaths is increased by six…there is no reliable evidence that screening decreases breast-cancer mortality." – The Lancet
Reputable medical professionals have repeatedly reported in the most respected medical journals that mammography screening to detect early breast cancers is inaccurate, ineffective, and its X-rays are harmful to a woman's health. The benefits are minimal, at best, but the hazard to women's health is enormous. In fact, since mammography screening was introduced in the early 1970's, the incidence of ductal carcinoma in situ has increased by 328%, 200% of which is due to mammography.
In the face of these facts, what does the American Cancer Society say about screening mammography?
"Women age 40 and older should have a screening mammogram every year, and should continue to do so for as long as they are in good health…Women can feel confident about the benefits associated with regular mammograms for finding cancer early."
The experts on Breast Thermography:
More than 800 peer-reviewed studies of over 300,000 women followed up to 12 years with breast thermography show clear and irrefutable evidence that breast thermography is an unsurpassed breast cancer screening technique. Breast thermography has an average sensitivity and specificity of 90%, and can detect signs of cancer up to ten years earlier than is possible using mammography. Breast thermography is accurate, safe and noninvasive, and is approved by the FDA for breast cancer risk assessment.
The ACS on breast thermography:
"Thermography has been around for several decades, and some scientists are still attempting to improve the technology for use in breast imaging. However, no study has ever shown that it is an effective screening tool for the early detection of breast cancer. It should not be used as a replacement for mammograms."
The ACS purposely ignores the 800+ published peer reviewed studies that demonstrate the efficaciousness of breast thermography. In fact, the ACS is completely wrong. There is an abundance of evidence published in traditional peer-reviewed medical journals available throughout the world.
Misrepresenting the Method for Interpreting Thermographic Images
According to the ACS:
"Thermography is a way of measuring and mapping the heat on the surface of the breast with the use of a special heat-sensing camera. It is based on the idea that the temperature rises in areas with increased blood flow and metabolism, which could signify a tumor."
"Not all cancers give off heat, and of those that do, some are too deep, or located under wedges of fat, and the heat does not register on the device."
This amazing level of deception by the American Cancer Society is repeated year after year.
The introduction to basic breast thermography (presented here) explains how thermal symmetry between the two breasts, venous migration, and angiogenesis detection and monitoring are the principal signs used to properly evaluate the thermal images. The detection of hot areas to detect the presence of a tumor is one possible sign, but alone, a hot area means very little. The distortion of facts needed to make the detractor's point speaks loudly to their intent to deceive the public.
The ACS Fights Fire with Fire
A pattern has emerged. Anything that potentially threatens the mammography industry's revenue stream is met with violent opposition, typically in the form of a massive promotional campaign by the American Cancer Society.
In the early 1980's, as breast thermography was formalized with Gautherie's objective interpretation methodology, mammography equipment manufacturers provided financial grants to radiologists to publish reports questioning breast thermography's value. Articles with titles such as "The Lack of Efficacy of Breast Thermography," based on limited studies of small groups of women by radiologists with little, or no understanding of the technology were common in radiology literature.
In 1983, with the introduction of Jay's computer program replicating the Gautherie protocol, the most vociferous detractors of breast thermography finally admitted there was an objective and credible method available for interpreting breast thermography examinations.
The mammography industry no longer provides research grants to individuals for the purpose of vilifying viable alternatives to mammography. It doesn't have to, because it has the ACS to channel its ill-founded castigations. For example, a news article buried on page 16 of the New York Times told that a committee of highly prestigious cancer experts from government, leading medical organizations, and academia had reported that there was insufficient evidence to show that mammograms prevented breast cancer deaths. One week later, a full-page advertisement promoting mammography appeared in the New York Times. It was signed by ten medical organizations, including the ACS. The advertisement said: "While mammography is not a perfect tool, it is effective and has contributed significantly to the declines in breast cancer mortality since 1990." (The National Cancer Institute followed with a press release saying that women aged 40 and older should be screened with mammography every one to two years.)
Another ACS newspaper advertisement promised that early detection through mammography results in a cure "nearly 100 percent of the time," showing two women in their twenties. When questioned by a journalist, the ACS communications director is said to have responded, "The ad isn't based on a study. When you make an advertisement, you just say what you can to get women in the door. You exaggerate a point…Mammography today is a lucrative and highly competitive business." Indeed, mammography is a significant source of revenue for many hospitals and doctors.
Summary and Conclusion
The mammography industry is comprised of major manufacturers of mammography equipment and relevant supplies, cooperative radiologists, and the American Cancer Society, through which the industry's propaganda is channeled.
Experts, excluding those in the mammography industry, all agree that mammography is virtually useless as a screening device for the early detection of breast cancer, and that it is hazardous to a women's health. Multiple studies by reputable physicians reported in prestigious medical journals cite that women die as a result of mammography screenings. Nevertheless, promotions by the American Cancer Society lure women of all ages into mammography screening centers. Why? Money!
The mammography industry has wrongfully discouraged the use of breast thermography by using deception, myths, and intentionally disseminating incorrect information. For more than fifty years, the industry has framed the use of breast thermography as a debate. But, it's not a debate as much as it is an offensive maneuver by an industry to squelch technology that it perceives threatens its multi-billion dollar financial empire.
The US National Cancer Institute has reported, "…among women under 35, mammography could cause 75 cases of breast cancer for every 15 it identifies." Another study concludes, "Screening for breast cancer with mammography is unjustified…one breast-cancer death is avoided whereas the total number of deaths is increased by six." Yet, the mammography industry and the American Cancer Society continue to promote mammography screening.
American women die, because a selfish and greedy industry chooses to promote a worthless and dangerous technology, while thwarting breast thermography, a proven accurate and safe technique that threatens profits. The mammography industry and the American Cancer Society together have abandoned ethical bounds by knowingly acting against women's best health interests. This behavior is beneath contempt.