Thermography v mammography – and pink ribbons

Why not thermography? I admit I don’t know much about it. But – there is the general issue of screening asymptomatic people by whatever method.

Apart from the false positives and false negatives, if it is indeed more accurate (more specific? more sensitive?) than mammography – this may only mean it catches more non-progressive cancers, i.e. produces higher overdiagnosis.

It seems not enough convincing studies have been done to convince re benefits against mammography. What are the studies showing these results, how well-designed/robust and how many have been done- and by whom – and how many showing it doing less well (if any)?

Since it is unregulated (not a fault with thermography itself) it means quacks can offer it for profit in practice.

As I understand, it is based on the premise that the rest of the body cools while cancer stays hot, but the very administration of it seems to require carefully controlled conditions, any one of which not being right, and which too easily could be not right, and also confound the results.

Even if all went perfectly, are the assumptions correct? Do all cancers behave that way? How are the images interpreted, by whom, how experienced are they, are there standards for this, are there differences of interpretations, have these been studied?

And if it detects ‘cancers’ even earlier than mammography, and since ‘early’ detection = over-diagnosis which wrecks lives unnecessarily, earlier detection wrecks more lives.

We have all come to accept as a truth what we have been told over many years – that finding all cancers early is a good thing and ‘screening saves our lives’, so we cling to this ‘life-saver’ – but the devil is plainly in the (hidden) detail and those in charge have relied on women (‘groomed’ by being kept in ignorance) to speak out if any threat to the ‘industry’ arose – but the truth has been hidden because the benefits have been seriously ‘enhanced’, while the serious harms and the extent of them have not been shared with the public. It is difficult to accept such an about turn, but scientists have to follow robust research, not stick to old ideas, and that is what is happening re screening mammography/screening-other.

Though I’m no feminist, and don’t know what this site will bring in future or whether screening mammography will feature, I’ve been advised it’s an excellent, political, hard-hitting, feminist, investigative Canadian documentary about the Pink Ribbons (to end cancer) industry that is beginning to be shown in the US. Here’s some information and a clip http://blog.nfb.ca/2011/08/09/lea-pool-pink-ribbons-inc-tiff/

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About bmitzi

Medical writer, author, artist. Cancer campaigner. Aiming always to improve health services and bring compassion into health care.
This entry was posted in Breast Cancer, Campaigns, Screening Mammography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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