Are Mammograms the best Choice?

Are Mammograms the only available option for early detection of breast cancer? If they’re not the only option available, then are they the best option available to women? And, if there is evidence they are not the best option women have for early breast cancer detection, why exactly are we women still enduring the pain the traditional mammogram exam inflicts upon some of the most sensitive body parts that women have?

We, as women, are known throughout history to soldier through just about anything. Women have been told since birth that we have to endure. Being female has it’s built-in inconveniences and difficulties. I remembering making a mental note in my teens that guys seemed to feel grateful that they didn’t have to experience these inconveniences and difficulties. Once men become adults, get married, and get into their adult lives, many men spend the rest of their lives trying to understand the women in their lives and what we experience. You wouldn’t normally hear of a man who was willing to allow a medical technician to squeeze their sensitive body part between two plastic plates to take a picture of it, while sending dangerous radiation through said body part at the same time. Yet we as women will do so because we fear an even worse result if we don’t cooperate. Breast cancer has been the cause of death for far too many of our loved ones, and most of us have experienced a loss within our families or community.

It takes a special kind of …something…(you can fill in the blank here with your own thoughts if you’d like) for a woman to forego the fear of being diagnosed with breast cancer, in spite of watching her own mother endure a mastectomy, and still refuse to surrender to the wishes of conventional medical advice that says my age group should have had a mammogram completed long before now.

My cardiologist cringes each time he asks me if I have completed a mammogram, and my response to his question is a confident “no”. He shakes his head firmly and says it must be done. My thoughts? ‘You go first.’ Now, you can think of me and my choice however you choose, but for years I’ve had an unmistakable knowing deep inside me that there must be at least one better choice for early breast cancer detection than what seems to me to be an almost archaic and possibly a harmful technique known as the mammogram. I finally found one! Once again, I discover validation to always trust my intuition. Perhaps this will inspire at least one of you to trust your intuition as well. Take a look…

In the early 1990’s I watched a morning show that demonstrated a machine and a technique called Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI). I didn’t remember the name of it, so I patiently waited for the old ways of diagnosing potential breast cancer with radiation and the mammogram to succumb to this less harmful technology. Nope. That still hasn’t happened yet. Here we are almost 30 plus years later in 2018, and after years of searching for it on my own, I finally found DITI with no help from the conventional western medical community.

So, let’s look at a comparison of Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI), and a mammogram, and see if we can come up with a good enough reason to still want to run and get that painful mammogram done.

As described by DITI Imaging in San Antonio TX, “Thermal imaging is a 15 minute, non-invasive test of vascular physiology. Thermal imaging uses a highly sensitive, high-resolution digital thermal camera to take a picture of your body’s infrared heat and display these patterns in the form of a digital image. The cells of your body produce heat through their normal function. Abnormal cells typically produce more heat in the early stages of development (before a tumor forms).

http://www.ditiimaging.com/faq.html

Now let’s take a look at what a mammogram is, and how women experience it. Here’s a couple of quotes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about a mammogram:

“You will stand in front of a special X-ray machine. A technologist will place your breast on a clear plastic plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above. The plates will flatten the breast, holding it still while the X-ray is being taken. You will feel some pressure.”

“Having a mammogram is uncomfortable for most women. Some women find it painful. A mammogram takes only a few moments, though, and the discomfort is over soon. What you feel depends on the skill of the technologist, the size of your breasts, and how much they need to be pressed. Your breasts may be more sensitive if you are about to get or have your period.”

 

https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/mammograms.htm

 

Below is a great description of how DITI works, and can be found in the FAQ section of the DITI Imaging website.

 

“The camera used by DITI imaging is the only FDA registered thermal imaging medical camera on the market specifically designed for medical screenings. It is a totally non-invasive procedure that is completely safe. There is absolutely NO contact with the body, NO compression, and NO radiation. While a variety of studies have called into question the safety of cumulative exposures to radiation, this is not the case with thermography. Thermography emits nothing. It is simply a picture of your unique thermal heat patterns. It is a quick and painless procedure, which makes it a great screening option for breast screening with “no harm done” in the process.”

 

Why then, might you ask, is mammogram still the choice of all doctors throughout the United States for early breast cancer detection? That’s a great question. I don’t expect to answer that question here. However, if you’ve been compelled to read this far, I think it’s a good idea to now look at some differences in the two breast cancer early detection options.

 

Per Functional Medical practitioner Dr. Maggie, DITI is capable of detecting cancerous cells a full ten years earlier than a mammogram. By the time a mammogram detects cancer it has grown to at least one centimeter, already causing a negative impact on the wellbeing of the body. DITI is a true early detection system and it is available at a lower cost than a mammogram. However, conventional insurance companies do not offer to pay for this type of an exam. Hence, it is not well known to the general public.

 

The idea of early detection has become indisputable at this point, in my opinion. In my mind, this fact alone ends my discussion. Personally, I don’t need any more evidence for a DITI breast exam versus a traditional mammogram. I want to have the ability to detect cancer at a point well before damage is done to my body, and to have a chance at a treatment that is less invasive because of true early detection. Waiting for a mammogram to detect a mass or a tumor in my breast is just too late in my mind when something has been proven to detect potential tumors many years sooner than a traditional mammogram.

 

Many women already know what a mammogram is, and what the experience is like. You don’t need an explanation of it. The good news about traditional mammograms in my opinion is that an option of the traditional mammogram is available in which the traditional x-ray is not used, and instead, a digital x-ray can be used which does not emit radiation into the breast. However, as far as we are aware, many hospitals still use the old method of radiation. If a woman prefers to undergo the traditional mammogram, she will still have to submit to the squeezing of her breasts between the plastic plates.

 

Let’s look at the cost comparison between the two procedures.

 

A mammogram usually costs in the range of $300 for the person that does not have insurance to cover the cost of the procedure. Of course, the price goes up if you do have health insurance. No worries, you only pay your co-pay or your out of pocket portion. That makes sense to most people, right? I believe it’s important that if you would like to pay cash for a mammogram, you call around for an actual price, as they seem rather difficult to find online.

 

DITI costs an average of $150 to $200. Health insurance, at this time, does not cover the cost of this procedure, which leaves me scratching my head in wonderment. Why wouldn’t insurance companies want to save money and expose patients to a less uncomfortable and less harmful procedure in the process?

 

The most important point of this entire discussion in my opinion is that DITI is capable of detecting cancer a full ten years earlier than a mammogram or even ultrasound.

 

http://doctormaggie.com/thermography-a-hot-weapon-against-breast-cancer/

 

Just in case you might be in need of more solid information, I refer you to one of many peer reviewed articles, published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health Journal which supports DITI over mammogram for early detection of breast cancer. This particular article concluded, “DITI is a valuable adjunct to mammography and ultrasound, especially in women with dense breast parenchyma.”

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18809055

 

Aside from the fact that I now don’t have to endure a painful “early detection” procedure, and that I can pay less for a much more accurate test, I now have a valid argument for refusing a mammogram. I’ll schedule that DITI test right away.

 

What is Functional Medicine?

What is Functional Medicine, and what makes Functional Medicine different from conventional medicine?

Here’s a description found on the Institute for Functional Medicine website:

“The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. It requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and leverages that data to direct personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes.

By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners become oriented to identifying the complexity of disease. They may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions. As a result, Functional Medicine treatment targets the specific manifestations of disease in each Individual.”
https://www.ifm.org/functional-medicine/
One of Clear Choices Healing Center’s board members was lead to and shared this article with us. The article appeared as a “suggested read” since he is in the process of studying biochemistry. Within this article on Functional Medicine, the writer has done a fabulous job of detailing her first experience with a functional medical doctor. She notes the rather distinct difference she observed between this experience and that of her experiences with the way things are done in a conventional medical doctor’s office. What the writer describes in this article sounds to me like a blend of a functional/conventional practice. Now, unless you are a business-junkie a greater portion of the article might bore you once you get past her experience in the practitioners office. Just take what you like from the article and leave the rest. If you cannot get yourself to read the entire article, I’ll share with you my favorite quote out of the entire article:

“Functional medicine is not Eastern medicine, it’s not integrative medicine,” stresses Berzin. “It’s just taking the best practices for conventional medicine but focusing on the root causes of disease.” For example, she adds, “You’re not an insomniac lying awake at night because of an Ambien deficiency.”

https://www.fastcompany.com/90224888/is-this-150-a-month-holistic-primary-care-service-the-future-of-medicine

Next let’s take a look at the website of Dr. Maggie, another practitioner I’ve discovered in my online research, located in the Central Florida area. Dr. Maggie seems to appeal more to the person who is ready to take the leap out of conventional medicine all together. If you break a bone, of course you need that conventional doctor or emergency room. However, there are so many ailments that can be prevented and/or resolved naturally and in a manner that benefits the body without side effects often experienced from the use of prescription pharmaceuticals. Bringing the body to a state of balance that supports its ability to heal itself appears to be the goal a Functional Medicine practitioner is focused on achieving for their patients. When you read through Dr. Maggie’s website, there are many articles to support this theory.

Functional Medicine

As it is within any profession, each practitioner has the ability and tendency to bring their own individuality to their practice. Functional medicine practices are no different in that respect. There are a wide variety of holistic treatment options that doctors may choose to study, and each doctor will incorporate what they’ve studied into their functional medicine practice.

What intrigued me about Dr. Maggie was her broad range of knowledge. As I explored the pages of her website I found answers and understanding about health issues that matter to me, such as the role digestion plays in the health of a person as a whole. What Dr. Maggie shared on alternative gut cleansing options was far beyond anything I’ve heard from my conventional doctors. Dr. Maggie offers detailed suggestions on how to improve digestive health, the health of the gut, and how that would help a person’s overall health. You can find that article here:

GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome

Dr. Maggie educates readers that visit her website about Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI). Dr. Maggie offers DITI to her patients in her office, but you won’t find DITI at your conventional doctor’s office. DITI is capable of detecting cancerous cells a full ten years earlier than a mammogram. By the time a traditional mammogram detects cancer it has grown to at least one centimeter, already causing a negative impact on the wellbeing of the body. DITI is a true early detection system and it is available at a lower cost than a mammogram. However, conventional insurance companies do not offer to pay for this type of an exam. Hence, it is not well known to the general public.

Functional Medicine is one of the holistic health options that Clear Choices Healing Center encourages people to explore among alternative healing options. If you find any piece of information in this description, or in any of the related articles interesting for yourself, I think it’s time for you to do some more research into Functional Medicine and take a chance that Functional Medicine may be able to benefit your health and well being.

What is Functional Medicine

What is Functional Medicine, and what makes it different from conventional medicine?

Here’s a paraphrase of the description found on the Institute for Functional Medicine website:

The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach that is designed to empower patients and practitioners to work together in addressing the underlying causes of disease and to promote optimal wellness. Functional Medicine requires a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and puts all of that information and data together to create personalized treatment plans which lead to improved patient outcomes and patient health.

With a goal of finding the root cause, rather than symptoms, practitioners focus on identifying what is behind disease (dis-ease). Practitioners may find one condition has many different causes and, likewise, one cause may result in many different conditions or ailments. As a result, Functional Medicinal treatments target the specific manifestations of disease (dis-ease) in each Individual. The entire process is designed to be personal and not general.
A doctor of functional medicine chooses from a wide array of alternative healing studies, that they then incorporate into their practices. Their practice tends to avoid pharmaceutical medications as treatments while searching for the root cause of the malfunction in the normal function of the physical body as a whole. Diet and stress can play a huge part in the cause of any one person’s dis-ease, and Functional Medical doctors focus on how to systematically return the body to a state of wholeness and normal function, rather than simply quieting the symptoms alone. Changes to lifestyle habits may be required to help with solving health problems. A patients “cure” may be accomplished through a process of steps rather than with a quick fix method. In contrast, the U.S. population has been conditioned to expect to take a pill and receive immediate results. In some cases, a patient may need to be willing to wait a bit for results, while staying the course prescribed to them by their Functional Medical practitioner.
Functional Medicine doesn’t replace conventional medicine, but rather brings into conventional medicine proven, successful alternative healing options that western medicine has been known to ignore, for whatever reasons. When a patient can achieve a better quality of life from their time spent at their doctor’s office, and the plan of treatment their doctor sees as beneficial for the patient, isn’t it time we acknowledge that Functional Medicine has a valuable place in our current society?