By Charles Hough, chiropractor
A comfortable, accurate, no-squishing breast exam? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn’t it? But what if there really were a precise, painless exam that could detect breast cancer earlier than ever, that was safe and radiation-free—and that gave test results instantly, rather than making you wait in suspense for days on end?
Guess what? That exam now exists. It’s called Digital Palpation Imaging and it is even more sensitive and accurate than the human touch—which itself has proved to play a critical role in cancer screenings. Digital Palpation Imaging uses a portable hand-held tactile sensing device that can detect lesions in the breast as small as 5 mm.
Editor's Note: The manufacturer of this device, SureTouch, says it isn't meant for diagnostic use at this time. In addition, the author of this commentary also promotes breast thermography, a method the FDA warns is ineffective as a substitute for mammograms. To read more about the author's questionable claims for thermography, click here.
Renowned breast surgeon Dr. Cary Kaufman of Bellingham Regional Breast Center in Washington says it “provides consistency, accuracy, documentation, and predictability, taking it to the next threshold in the field of breast clinical exams.”
So why am I betting you’ve never heard of it? Why is my center, OC Breast Wellness, one of only eight locations in the United States to provide this potentially life-saving service today?
This is one of the great mysteries of modern medicine: the reluctance to accept new wisdom and adopt new technologies that can improve, and even save, people’s lives.
The most successful cancer screening technology ever developed was the Pap smear. First developed by Dr. George N. Papanicolaou in 1928, the pap smear didn’t become a mainstream test until 20 years later. Yet today it’s widely acknowledged that pap smears have reduced cervical cancer deaths by a whopping 70 percent. So what took so long?
Author and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee, in his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, notes that even after decades of research on lung cancer—during which time researchers managed to overcome the overwhelming skepticism of the public and doctors that cigarette smoking contributed to it—“It remains an astonishing, disturbing fact that in America…one of the most potent and common carcinogens known to humans can be freely bought and sold at every corner store for a few dollars.”
What does it take to get through to people?
Today, breast cancer is the leading cause of death in women in their 40s. American women have a 1 in 8 lifetime risk of acquiring this dreaded disease. The current medical model for detecting breast cancer in women, mammography (which exposes women to 20 times as much radiation as a chest x-ray), has not been successful at changing these dire statistics in 40 years. Yet it’s still the No. 1 recommended screening tool.
We see women in my office every day who are—understandably—scared to death of breast cancer. We give them information on ways to prevent cancer through diet, vitamins, exercise and lifestyle choices. Our nurses perform breast exams and screenings. Why on earth would we want to wait 20 years before helping save their lives?
Digital palpation imaging is here today and I’m using it for the benefit of my patients. I hope others will join me.