Wednesday, 2 December , 2009 by: S. L. Baker features writer:
“Mammograms cause breast cancer, groundbreaking new research declares , especially in those at high risk with familial (breast/ovarian/ prostate/ uterine/- colonic) cancer.”
A 50% increase in risk is relatively small compared to doubling or five-fold increase in risk as eg smoking may cause. But for cancer that affect perhaps one in ten women, even 20% increase in risk is significant.
But remember that while even appropriate HRT reduces deaths from breast cancer by a third- as with prostate cancer, it seems to reduce the incidence of highly malignant cancer, merely bringing to attention earlier the less serious ones.
So patients starting any HRT should be screened first and then periodically so that the HRT cannot be blamed for having caused the cancer. The recent APHRODITE trial of testosterone patch in women with androgen deficiency (which this column commented on in August) only lasted 2 years, which shows the fallibility of screening mammography annually in missing sleeping small cancers until they are accelerated by anabolics.
As this column has repeatedly reviewed, all evidence from rodents to primates to humans is that appropriate balanced physiological testosterone replacement reduces breast proliferation, and thus in the long term reduces the occurrence and risk of breast cancer.
It is common cause that cancers take an average of 20 years from their origin to become clinically evident.
Ultrasound is not as sensitive as xray mammography in detecting cancer.
So until accurate thermal scanning is proven to be anywhere near as specific and sensitive as mammography, the latter remains the best diagnostic tool we have available. For women who already have a suspicious breast lump/pain/discharge, diagnostic mammography remains the gold standard, with ultrasound and MRI as backup aids.