Mammography: what you need to know about breast cancer screening & prevention

Ever since I read Peter C Gotzsche’s book, Deadly Medicine & Organised Crime about 13 years ago, I started thinking about mammograms more (despite never having had one myself). In the book he discusses the potential risks associated with mammography, then went on to write Mammography Screening: Lies, Truth and Controversy.


Let’s start here: Peter C Gotzsche is not some pseudo-scientist off the internet. He is the co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration, the world’s leading medical research institute. Now we’ve got credibility out the way, perhaps we can give his ideas some weight and assess this topic objectively.

After now researching this topic for many years, gaining information from Gotzsche, Dr Veronique Desaulniers (AKA Breast Cancer Conquerer), Dr Nyjon Eccles (AKA The Natural Doctor), among others, I do believe the conclusion is that no, mammograms are not the safest screening tool for breast cancer.

Why might mammograms be dangerous?

  1. Mammograms can increase risk of breast cancer.Though radiation from mammograms is fairly low, the deciding factor on whether this amount of radiation will affect you is down to genetics. Different women have different bodily reactions to radiation, and what affects some may not affect others and vice versa. Due to both the radiation and the compression of the breast during the procedure which can help stimulate and proliferate cancer cells, mammograms can, in fact, increase breast cancer among high-risk women. This study explains more.
  2. They don’t always reduce deaths. A Cochrane review (Gotzsche’s research facility) of randomised controlled trials of nearly 600,000 women found that though mammograms increased early diagnosis of breast cancer, they did not reduce the number of women who died from breast cancer. You can read that review here. When there are less invasive options for even earlier diagnosis (which we’ll get onto soon), it seems counterintuitive to take the higher risk option.
  3. High chance of receiving a false positive diagnosis.50% of women using mammograms as their primary screening tool are diagnosed with false positives. More about that in this study. Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) is a type of breast cancer that is unlikely to spread or cause many issues, and this is widely over-diagnosed through mammography, causing unnecessary stress and heartache to women and their families, not to mention unnecessary, life-altering treatments. “In the last few decades, we’ve learned that the types of breast cancers that do not grow, or grow very slowly and do not spread, are more common than expected. So they would never impact a woman in her lifetime.” – Wiser Healthcare
  4. False negatives are also common. About 1 in 5 women will get a false negative, and this is more likely to happen with breasts that are dense (younger women have more dense breast tissue than older women). Once again, when there are more accurate screening tools available, it’s not only counterintuitive, but also potentially dangerous to use mammography as a screening tool.
  5. Late detection.Shockingly, mammograms detect tumours 5-8 years after they start to develop in your body.
  6. The pharmaceutical industry makes 2.3 billion dollars in profit a year from mammograms. With a growth rate of 11.6%/year, it’s no wonder women are routinely encouraged to go for their mammograms.

What are our other breast screening options?

Mammograms are not the only option for breast cancer screening. Here are some others:

  • Thermography. If you’re in the UK like me, this seems to be the most accessible option. You can listen to the podcast episode I recorded with Dr Nyjon Eccles from The Natural Doctor who created Thermocheck, a thermography screening tool that detects heat and inflammation in breasts that could be indicators of breast cancer years before a mammogram could detect it. IE, it detects it before it forms into a tumour. Thermography is not all that new, but is new in the eyes of the British medical system. The NHS does not provide thermography as an option, meaning we have to pay for it privately. Assessing the risks of not having it done vs the short-term financial “loss”, I believe it should be a financial priority for all women who can afford it, to find a way to have yearly thermography checks. I also believe we should be campaigning for the NHS to provide it, though, given the fact that it will reduce uptake in cancer treatments that earn the pharmaceutical industry close to $300 billion per year, I don’t have high hopes for this happening anytime soon.
  • Cancer profile blood test. Ask your doctor to run a cancer profile blood test. If a screening tool is showing potential breast cancer, make sure this is backed up by bloods.
  • Other options. There are other options in the US such as Galleri Test, Signatera and Prenuvo. None of these are available in the UK yet, however Thermography would be my first choice above these.


What I am absolutely NOT telling you not to do

This article is NOT advocation of complacency, or an invitation to be less vigilant about breast health. On the contrary. I believe that diagnostic tools that claim to be the be all and end all of diagnosis, can actually prevent us from taking our healthcare (prevention) into our own hands. We hand it over to someone else, waiting until something happens before we do something about it. What I am recommending here is the opposite.

Here’s what I do regularly to ensure healthy breasts:

  • Breast massage
  • Monthly breast checks (myself)
  • Using natural, aluminium-free deodorant and all natural body and menstrual products
  • Eating a clean, organic, healthy diet low in processed foods, trans fats and sugar, and high in anti-inflammatory foods
  • Reduce my exposure to toxicity through diet, lifestyle and other factors, to include things such as reduction in EMF exposure
  • Remain committed to continually healing my emotional wounds and reducing stress to prevent my emotions metastasising into physical mass (a phenomenon we can finally prove, unequivocally, happens)
  • Spending lots of time in nature and remaining as close to nature in everything I do as is possible in a modern life
  • Regular detoxing through infrared saunas, detox binders, twice yearly cleanses and castor oil packs
  • Consumption of hormone balancing and cancer killing herbs, adaptogens and plants

As you can see, choosing to opt out of mammograms does not mean doing nothing. By choosing to take responsibility for our own wellbeing, we are being even more proactive in breast cancer (and other cancer) prevention than relying on a once-every-few-years screening tools that has risks.

Megan Smith made this brilliant documentary about breasts which you can watch here. She states: “What you don’t know about mammograms could cost you your life.”

As usual, anything I speak about in relation to health is in the hope that it will get you asking questions, and encourage you to do your own research and come to your decisions from a place of informed choice.

For more holistic cancer guidance, you can visit Breast Cancer Conquerer, Cancer Tutor, Hope 4 Cancer, Gerson Institute and Hippocrates Wellness among others.


Love & health,



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