It’s officially breast cancer awareness month now. You see the pink ribbons and pink colors everywhere, and while it’s a really nice way to remember and recognize women who have struggled with this still too-pervasive disease, it does have its critics.
Some think that the “pinkwashing” phenomenon encourages women to only seek the current toxic treatment options that are out there rather than actually preaching nutrition and lifestyle changes to help address the cancer. There are of course other criticisms, too numerous to list here, but I’ll leave that up to the reader to read about on their own.
One thing that’s a bit troubling to me personally is that I’ve been seeing these billboards and hearing commercials on the radio with the new slogan to “Woman Up” and get a mammogram. The commercials go something like, yeah it may be a pain and it may be uncomfortable, but we are women hear us roar, or something to that general extent. But what if, like me, you’re really not sure that mammograms aren’t actually contributing to the exacerbation and proliferation of breast cancer cells?
Since mammograms expose the breast tissue to radiation, some critics do think that they may be encouraging breast cancer, and that they may also be causing women to get treatment for cancer that don’t really need it yet because the cancer cells are so slow growing. Now, if you’ve already got a tumor that’s one thing, however some think that mammograms turn on the panic button when there are not enough cancer cells yet to be of any concern.
I know that sounds like it’s a bit unscientific, but if you read about it, some experts will even say that there are some very slow growing cancers that may not cause problems for years, and they may even go away on their own according to yet some other experts.
So what is right? How are we to know who to believe? It’s really hard to make a judgment about whether mammograms are right for you without doing a lot of self-education.
You have to go with what your instinct tells you is right. It can take a lot of soul searching and also a lot of simply relying on your own intuition, but it’s a bit bothersome that the medical community is preaching mammograms as the end-all be-all when it comes to early detection and breast cancer prevention. It’s also a little off putting that they are making it sound like you’re being irresponsible in your own self-care if you choose not to get a mammogram periodically.
I suppose I would just much rather see them promote self-exams (manual, by the hands) than promote something that is completely safe and can be done any time, several times a year, in one’s own home, which also happens to not expose the delicate breast tissue to radiation.
Especially when emerging studies are putting their benefit into serious question. What is the answer? I don’t know, and don’t presume to be able to tell anyone else, only that they must really do their own research and come to their own conclusions about their beliefs in what is the best way for them to prevent breast cancer.