According to the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement, the annual radiation dose from medical procedures has increased seven-fold between 1980 and 2006, and continues to grow.
Two breast cancer imaging tests, breast-specific gamma imaging (BSGI) and positron emission mammography (PEM), may significantly raise your cancer risk, according to a new study in Radiology. The study concluded that one of the most sophisticated breast cancer imaging tests, breast-specific gamma imaging, raised a woman’s lifetime risk of cancer 20 to 30 times more than standard mammography. In addition, although CT scans and other radio-imaging scans have seen a huge increase in recent years, we have yet to see a corresponding increase in diagnoses from these imaging procedures.
We know that excessive doses of radiation increase the risk of cancer. Studies have confirmed the radiation risks from imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT scans), and some doctors believe that the radiation received from these tests is cumulative. So it’s critical that patients understand these risks, and limit the amount of tests received over a lifetime.
There are two predominant reasons for overuse of medical imaging. The first is that some doctors refer their patients for scans at their own imaging facilities in order to receive a profit. This practice costs more than $16 billion a year in unnecessary procedures, according to one study. The other reason is to avoid a potential lawsuit. Doctors often order the tests as pre-emptive self-defense. Unfortunately we all, doctors and patients alike, are victims of the fear mentality. Not very conducive to healing, don’t you think?
The good news is that there are some safe and effective imaging choices, in particular for breast imaging. Thermography is a validated alterative to a mammogram, and it is also much more effective at detecting early changes in breast tissue, using an infrared image that shows certain cellular activity and inflammation as heat. A thermograph registers the infrared heat waves produced from the breasts, or other area of the body being examined, which can be useful in the early detection of anomalies that can suggest cancer, or may lead to cancer.
Receiving regular thermograms will provide an accurate history of your breast health, and any abnormal changes can be seen early, often years earlier than abnormalities detected by mammograms. Therefore, the most significant benefit of a thermogram aside from being free of harmful radiation, is that it can diagnose irregularities in breast cellular health early enough to allow for critical interventions such as lifestyle and dietary changes to improve your breast health.
Most tumors take years to develop, and studies have shown that breast tumors take about seven years to reach a size big enough for detection by physical exam or mammogram. With thermography, these abnormalities can be detected when they are still in their earliest stages. The reason is that thermography detects temperature and physiological changes. Mammograms detect tissue changes, but temperature and physiological changes happen much earlier than do tissue changes. However, physiological changes don’t always correlate with tissue changes, so it’s important to look at the bigger picture.
My approach for breast cancer screening is to use thermography and mammography at the same time to assess an initial baseline, then follow up with a thermogram, ultrasound – another safe, non-invasive imaging technology – or mammogram as necessary.
If your situation is such that the benefits of a CT scan — or other ionizing radiation imaging — outweigh the risks, there are still steps you can take to protect yourself. Modified citrus pectin is a critical adjunct to take prior to radiation exposure, in doses up to 15 grams per day for one month prior to and one week after the imaging procedure. In addition, the modified citrus pectin and modified alginate formula at four caps twice daily for one month prior and one week after imaging, are also very important in protecting your body from harmful effects of ionizing radiation. Good hydration leading up to the procedure is critical, as are high doses of antioxidants like EGCG (from green tea extract), vitamin C, and selenium. Likewise, medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Cordyceps can decrease radiation damage.
It’s important to remember that potentially harmful radiation can come from a number of sources: electromagnetic frequencies from high powered electric devices, microwaves from cell phones and appliances, solar and cosmic rays can all pose serious health threats when the exposure is too high. With all of the pollutants that we’re bombarded with in our day-to-day lives, the most essential recommendation I can give is to live a healthy lifestyle by choosing organic fresh foods and pure filtered water, exercising regularly, and getting adequate amounts of rest. Supplements such as those mentioned above can offer a much needed boost if you, like most of us, have been exposed to health robbing pollutants and toxins. Incorporating these recommendations will enhance your own inner radiance, and this is the type of vital energy that we all need more of – a radiance with unlimited health potential.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980's, is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator and clinical practitioner.
Since 1991 Dr. Eliaz has maintained a busy private practice in northern California that focuses primarily on integrative, holistic protocols for cancer patients. He leads an integrative medical team at Amitabha Clinic in Sebastopol, California with focus on cancer and other chronic ailments.
To learn more, please visit www.dreliaz.org.
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