Mammogram? Heck no! Here's why...

“Advertising is a valuable economic factor because it’s the cheapest way of selling goods, particularly if the goods are worthless,” stated social critic, Sinclair Lewis.

That statement became evident to me while riding the NYC subway. I looked up and read an advertisement from a local New York City hospital urging women to get mammograms for the safety of their health and to prevent breast cancer.

This is an ad for a service that, I believe, is worthless and harmful to our health.

Detecting a lump does not prevent breast cancer. By the time a lump is detected, cancer may have already been growing inside the body for many years. Prevention lies in taking the steps to ensure disease doesn’t take root in the first place.

I strongly believe annual or bi-annual mammograms are downright dangerous. Squashing the breast, possibly damaging cells, and then applying radiation to that area, does NOT make any sense. And, if cancer is not already present in the breast, after undergoing many years of mammograms, radiation, and breast squashing, in the same spot over and over again, my intuition says cancer will be there eventually.

Sir Isaac Newton said, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

According to the British Medical Journal, recent studies report the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women who got mammograms and those who did not. And the screening had harms: One in five cancers found with mammography and treated was not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation.[1]

One morning during a torrential thunderstorm, I hailed a cab and invited the woman standing on the corner beside me to share my ride.  She told me she was a doctor/scientist working on the genome project. I told her I was a health coach and natural food’s chef.  She was curious to know how I got into the field of alternative healing.  I shared my story of naturally healing my thyroid by changing my diet and lifestyle from junk foods and fast food to organically grown whole foods; whole grains, beans, fish, seafood, vegetables and sea vegetables.

She didn’t seem surprised at all, and matter-of-factly stated, “Of course your thyroid healed, you were eating seaweed and it’s rich in iodine.”

I said, “If you know that information why on earth would any doctor perform surgery to remove a thyroid or use RAI to destroy it, instead of advising the patient to eat some seaweed?”

She said, “Medication and surgery are quick and easy. Besides, who has time to cook or wants to change their diet?”

She was absolutely right! As a health coach I know how resistant people can be to making diet and lifestyle improvements, but the truth is the body needs good quality nutrients and energy to heal. And, an even bigger truth is that the body cannot be healed by intentionally destroying and/or dismembering it.

She asked why I decided to use food as a healing option, and I told her about my mom’s battle with breast cancer and our experiments with food and Macrobiotics. She sternly advised that I “absolutely must” go for yearly mammograms, and begin them as soon as possible. She said because I had a direct relative with breast cancer my chances of getting cancer were extremely high.

I thanked her for the advice, but told her I would not be going for a mammogram… not now and not ever!

I said, “After what you just told me about why doctors would operate on the thyroid, I’ll pass on the breast squashing, radiation ritual, and continue doing exactly what I’m doing; eating well, exercising, and expanding my consciousness around health and wellness.”

“Don’t be foolish,” she said, “go for the mammogram.  Breast cancer is in your genes.”

I don’t believe that. In my family, my mother was the first one to be stricken with breast cancer. No other relatives had it. There was no link to anyone in our family to this disease. Where, then, was the hereditary gene factor for my mother? It simply didn’t exist.

To reclaim our health and heal the body, it’s imperative that we begin questioning modern medical practices and the imposing influence they have had on our choices. Don’t believe the advertisements for medical procedures and drugs – they just may be killing you.

Many experts are coming to the forefront and advising women that radiation from mammograms is dangerous and the toxic effects are being acknowledged as a significant factor in the development of breast cancer. Recent studies have shown that breast cancer screenings cause more harm than good and lead to unnecessary lumpectomies, mastectomies and surgeries that compromise health.

The Buddha said, “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Common sense is missing in our modern world. Let’s bring it back and reclaim our health in the process.

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  • Amy

    So, I have a question for you. I recently found out that I have the BRCA2 gene mutation. As you probably know, I was informed that i needed to meet with an oncologist, a plastic surgeon, and a gyn to talk about my next steps, surgery to have my breasts and ovaries removed (i’ll be 39 next month). After research and talking with my PCP and 1 alternative doctor, I am leaning against having surgery. What are your thoughts about surgery vs MRI’s and mammograms alternating every 6 months as well as a transvaginal ultrasound every 6 months vs exercise, healthy diet and dealing with stress better? Any info to share on BRCA2 gene mutation and diet or other alternative means of keeping healthy vs having surgery to prevent cancer? I have never been diagnosed with cancer of any kind, by my mom, my maternal grandmother, her twins sites and my maternal great grandmother have had breast cancer (my grandmother died from metastasized breast cancer).

    • Andrea Beaman

      Just because you have the “gene” does NOT mean the cancer will manifest. There’s are some great books that cover this info, The Biology of Belief, by Bruce Lipton & Spontaneous Healing of Belief by Gregg Braden. Plus, I will be posting a blog about cancer soon.

    • Jen

      I also have the BRCA gene (I’m 31) and opted against any surgery. I do get my alternating MRI and mammogram. I alo get the bloodwork and ultrasound for the ovarian cancer. I have been doing this for two years and find I to be quite a lot. Wha route did you go down and what has your experience been?


  • I have started seeing a lot of information about the dangers of mammograms in my own research. I’ve started hearing a bit about breast thermography lately, that it is a safer alternative. Do you have any info on that? Thanks, and great post.

    • Andrea Beaman

      I personally don’t think that we should be actively looking for disease. What we put our attention on grows. I believe we should be actively promoting our health and taking the steps (even when lumps show up), to help relieve them naturally. I will post a blog about the specific steps soon.

  • I think this article is a bit irresponsible considering that MANY women have found the presence of breast cancer after having a mammogram and/or follow up ultrasounds. I have two friends at this moment going through chemo and radiation because of this detection. I understand the extra radiation and I more than understand our overuse of testing and the dangers of that but there has to be a happy medium.

    • Andrea Beaman

      Thanks for your input. I don’t believe in the modern medical protocol for detection and treatment of cancer. A blog about that is coming soon.

  • Kris

    I’d be interested to hear what you know about Thermography as well.

  • Hi Andrea, I agree…I have not nor will I ever undergo a mammogram. It never made sense to me either…squash a breast (creating physical stress), then shooting radiation through the tissue…what? I was diagnosed with In Situ about 20 years ago and was told to have my breasts removed. Instead I used Castor Oil Packs nightly along with laughter and massage therapies, lots of organic food and I’m still happy & healthy!

  • Thank you sooo much for writing this post and sharing this information. My Mother Had Colon cancer and stopped her chemo therapy and opted for natural healing and using a wellness protocol against her doctor’s wishes. Thankfully, my mother has been Cancer free for 12 years with pristine blood work… I have never gotten a mammogram and I do not plan to either because I believe that cancer is a symptom of an underlying problem that is usually treated with Healthy eating habits, and an active lifestyle.

    Maybe not always the case, but I believe that there are far too many instances where doctors are quick to ‘cut’ you open rather than find a true solution to the underlying problem….

  • Denise

    Thanks for posting this Andrea. I used to comply with my doctors orders to get mamograms and then I starting hearing things and doing research and now I refuse to get them. I also believe they are dangerous for some women and that if we used all that energy to create a healthy diet and live a joy filled life we would not get breast cancer. I think more women need to be aware of the risks. When I bring this up with my girlfriends they look at me like I’ve lost my mind.

    • I’m happy to hear you’re honoring your self and your beautiful body. Keep up the great work!

  • Joan

    I will agree to disagree with you on this one Andrea. I know at least 3 people whose cancer was detected by a mammogram, even before a lump appeared. I go for my yearly mammmogram.

  • AtTheBigEnd .

    Hello Andrea,
    I am a fifty + year old woman and I received a letter from my local screening department the other day, inviting me to come for a mammogram. So far I have resisted going. I phoned the hospital to tell them to cancel my appointment (which they had already arranged for me) and told them to take me off the program and cease sending me any further letters.
    The lady on the other end sounded rather concerned at my request and stated that she would need to send me a ‘disclaimer’ that I need to sign and return to the hospital in order to come of the programme.
    In other words they are afraid of being sued if I dare to end up with breast cancer as a result of not getting screened. We are looking at the compensation culture in action here, as much as a [perceived] desire to benefit women’s health.
    They shall then tell my GP about my decision – apparently anyway.
    I have looked at the pros-and-cons; the arguments against mammograms and decided that the benefits outweigh the risks, particularly if you are given unnecessary treatments as a result of a false positive.
    The information booklet which came with the letter set out the pros and cons, as well as stating that many cancers detected by the mammograms are in fact harmless. Nevertheless, because doctors cannot tell if a ‘harmless’ cancer may grow into a harmful one, all women end up getting the same treatment.
    The wording quite clearly states that the effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery can cause ‘long term and serious side effects’ to the overall health. I decided on those grounds to abandon the idea of regular breast screening, particularly as I am – at the moment – a healthy adult with no serious problems.
    The booklet stated that although many women who go on to lead lives after breast cancer treatment survive for years longer, it did not state how the treatments may have affected the overall ‘quality’ of their lives.
    I am a great believer in quality rather than quantity, and to be honest I would rather have a shorter life that I can enjoy to my maximum than a longer one.

    • @atthebigend:disqus – Wow! That’s a great testimony of what is going on in the world. I’m happy to hear you are listening to your own common sense, weighing the facts, and then making a decision based on that rather than one based on fear. Great job taking care of you!

    • SamLi

      A couple of new publications got released since this article got published a couple of years ago that describe in detail the biased pro-mammogram “research” that’s mostly funded by the mammogram industry, the neglected anti-mammogram facts, and the serious politics surrounding the procedure (Mammography Screening: Truth, Lies and Controversy (2012) by Peter Gøtzsche and The Mammogram Myth (2013) by Rolf Hefti).

      • @SamLi – thank you for sharing the new publications about this hot topic. More folks need to know this information.

      • DeeDee

        Sam, Good article and thank you for sharing! Sharing to FB.

  • Lee L. Marquis

    Mammograms have been banned in Switzerland. Evidently they care about the health of women.

    • @leelmarquis:disqus – wow! That’s amazing. I didn’t know that about Switzerland. Thank you for sharing.

  • Coach Nancy

    Hi Andrea, I, too, am a health coach, and natural foods advocate. I also teach yoga, have had a healing arts practice, and am on no medications whatsoever. At 58, I am highly energetic, super healthy and have no medical issues. But you are so totally wrong here. The newer breast imaging mechanisms do not ‘Squash the breast’. The amount of radiation used once every few years is not proven to cause breast cancer. Everyo woman I know who has had breast cancer pleads with and advocates heavily for their friends and family to get their screening in order to DETECT CANCER before surgical solutions are required. Early detection saves lives!

    I don’t know you, and I only know of you from IIN and the Food Network. Nowhere in the IIN curriculum does it say we can or should offer medical advice. I find your advocation to avoid simple screenings is irresponsible. You have a huge following. How are you going to feel when you read stories of women who die or nearly die because they read your article and follow your advice?

    I know too many healthy women who eat natural foods, live healthy, work out almost obsessively, and suddenly are faced with pain or lumps in their breasts. They avoided the mammogram — or were too young to think they needed to get one — and nearly died because suddenly they had a severe form of breast cancer. One gal is a 27 year old, vibrant, MIT graduate who very nearly died last spring. I can send you her story if you don’t believe me.

    Genetics play a large role. You can’t out eat genetics. Being proactive means eating well, eating clean, living healthy — and still getting the basic screenings. IF you broke your arm, you’d have to get Xrays. If you tear a Rotator Cuff, you end up getting xrays and then an MRI. Some will say that sitting in front of computer, a television, or walking near power lines causes radiation.

    • @coachnancy:disqus – Thanks for sharing you thoughts. Please re-read the article. I’m not offering medical advice. I’m sharing intuitive wisdom, that happens to be backed by scientific studies about the inefficacy of mammograms. As far as genetics… you may want to read about the science of epigenetics.

  • Dawn

    I’m a registered nurse and family nurse practitioner (NP for over
    15 years now). I have some experience in cancer research, working with
    researchers at the University of Wisconsin, gathering cancer statistics
    in a small native american community where I used to work.

    applaud Andrea for writing this article. It is a very sensitive topic
    and one that needs to be openly discussed. I have found that most of
    what the general public knows about cancer, and in particular breast
    cancer, is based on misinformation that is promoted through the general
    We each should do what we believe is best but please be
    aware there is a lot of misinformation in conventional medicine – follow
    the money.Most importantly, we need to not be afraid to discuss
    this topic and we should not knock each other down for having different
    My last mammogram was about 6
    years ago. I will never have another. This is my choice based on my
    personal research and preferences.

    • @Dawn – thank you for sharing your first-hand experience. I agree – we need to make our own personal choices about this topic.

  • DeeDee

    Nancy you say a person “can’t eat out genetic’s.” Andrea, above says her mother was the first to be stricken with breast cancer. I know that I don’t want this unnecessary radiation going through my body yearly. My grandmother was the only one in my family to get it. In my opinion once every four to five years to see what’s going on, but than why not do my heart and other parts as well. I choose to eat right and change my life style. I think Andrea put an interesting link to the comparisons of weighing out how many got them and didn’t. I find it interesting in the deaths being the same. I’m not going to have straight radiation going through my cells. The link above:

  • donna

    Andrea you are such an inspiration! love your work

  • Harrykingjnr

    Would a man like his private parts squashed into this device