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Mammograms are Harmful - by Susun Weed

Professor Anthony Miller, Toronto National Cancer Institute, says cancer cells may be squeezed into the bloodstream under the pressure of the mammographic plates. Screening mammograms are unsafe other ways, to they expose sensitive breast tissues to radiation, and they increase your chances of having a biopsy and being over-treated for carcinoma in situ.  


Scientists agree that there is no safe dose of radiation. Cellular DNA in the breast is more easily damaged by very small doses of radiation than thyroid tissue or bone marrow; in fact, breast cells are second only to fetal tissues in sensitivity to radiation. And the younger the breast cells, the more easily their DNA is damaged by radiation. As an added risk, 1% of American women carry a hard-to-detect oncogene which is triggered by radiation: a single mammogram increases their risk of breast cancer by a factor of 4-6 times.  

The usual dose of radiation during a mammographic x-ray is from 0.25 to 1 rad with the very best equipment - that's 1-4 rads per screening mammogram (two views each of two breasts).  

And, according to Samuel Epstein, M.D., of the University of Chicago's School of Public Health, the dose can be ten times more than that. Sister Rosalie Bertell - one of the world's most respected authorities on the dangers of radiation - says one rad increases breast cancer risk 1% and is the equivalent of one year's natural aging.  

If a woman has yearly mammograms from age 55 to age 75, she will receive a minimum of 20 rads of radiation. For comparison, women who survived the atomic bomb blasts in Hiroshima or Nagasaki absorbed 35 rads. Though one large dose of radiation can be more harmful than many small doses, it is important to remember that damage from radiation is cumulative. Many women born in the 1930s and '40s - who are now considering the benefits of postmenopausal mammographic screening - have already absorbed quite a bit of radioactivity into their breast tissues from fallout from the atomic bomb tests of the 1950s.  

The American Cancer Society claims that the radiation danger from a screening mammogram is no more than that caused by natural radiation in the environment. Not so. The amount of radiation from even one breast x-ray is 11.9 times the yearly dose absorbed by the entire body, according to Diana Hunt, former saleswoman for an x-ray manufacturing company, UCLA Medical Center graduate, and senior staff x-ray technologist for 20 years. (See page 18 of Breast Cancer? Breast Health the Wise Woman Way for a list of rads absorbed while skiing in Denver, flying in an airplane, and other activities often cited as comparable to mammographic screening.)  

A study published in the October 20, 1993 issue of Journal of the National Cancer Institute found a statistically significant increase in the incidence of breast cancer following radiation treatment of various benign breast diseases even among women older than 40 at the time of the first treatment.    


You increase your risk of being over-treated for breast cancer whenever you have a screening mammogram. Eight out of ten masses detected by screening mammograms are false alarms, but if something is seen in your mammogram you'll be urged to undergo a biopsy.  

Screening mammograms lead to over-treatment. Many of the "cancers" found by mammographic examination are carcinoma in situ. At least 75% of these will remain non-invasive and can be removed surgically, if desired, at any time, or simply left alone. Of the 25% of in situ cancers that do become invasive, the number that metastasize is quite small (and unmetastasized breast cancer rarely kills).  

Early detection of tiny in situ tumors often leads to orthodox treatments which do not prolong life and which can cause immune system suppression, severe drug reactions, even death. Of course, early detection can also lead to life-enhancing wholistic treatments.  

Green Blessings.

Susun Weed, green witch and wise woman, is an extraordinary teacher with a joyous spirit, a powerful presence, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of herbs and health. She is the voice of the Wise Woman Way, where common weeds, simple ceremony, and compassionate listening support and nourish health/wholeness/holiness. She has opened hearts to the magic and medicine of the green nations for three decades. Ms. Weed's four herbal medicine books focus on women's health topics including: menopause, childbearing, and breast health.


Visit her site  for information on her workshops, apprenticeships, correspondence courses and more or contact her at:

Susun Weed

PO Box 64

Woodstock, NY 12498

Fax:  1-845-246-8081

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Legal Disclaimer: This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner with a specific formula for you. All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care. Exercise self-empowerment by seeking a second opinion.




Browse the publishing site - Ash Tree Publishing - to learn more about her alternative health books.


Venture into the NEW Menopause site to learn all about the Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way.

Or Join the Forum! Susun Weed’s Wise Woman Forum - an open space for discussion. Make yourself at home, post a message or start a discussion. This place is for you to share your questions, concerns, and comments with other wise women like you. Take a moment to register and become part of the community. Enjoy!


Susun Weed’s books include:


Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year

Author: Susun S. Weed. Simple, safe remedies for pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, and newborns. Includes herbs for fertility and birth control. Foreword by Jeannine Parvati Baker. 196 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $11.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

Healing Wise 

Author: Susun S. Weed. Superb herbal in the feminine-intuitive mode. Complete instructions for using common plants for food, beauty, medicine, and longevity. Introduction by Jean Houston. 312 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $17.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing


New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way

Author: Susun S. Weed. The best book on menopause is now better. Completely revised with 100 new pages. All the remedies women know and trust plus hundreds of new ones. New sections on thyroid health, fibromyalgia, hairy problems, male menopause, and herbs for women taking hormones. Recommended by Susan Love MD and Christiane Northrup MD. Foreword by Juliette de Bairacli Levy. 304 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $16.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on menopause, visit the site.

Breast Cancer? Breast Health!

Author: Susun S. Weed. Foods, exercises, and attitudes to keep your breasts healthy. Supportive complimentary medicines to ease side-effects of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or tamoxifen. Foreword by Christiane Northrup, M.D. 380 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $14.95 Order at: Ash Tree Publishing

For more great info on Breast Health, visit Susun's Breast Health site.

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