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How I Was Bullied For Refusing a Mammogram

Yes. I was bullied for refusing a mammogram!

Before you judge my refusal, know that I had very good reasons to do so. I  just never expected to be bullied for it.

As usual, I went to the doctor for my annual checkup. Being over 40 you get used to getting bombarded with “you need to do this”, “you need to take that”, “prevention here”, “prevention there”.

It gets old pretty quickly.

So when I went through the intake process with the doctor and my medical history, I explained that I whenever I get a mammogram I always get in the findings that I have “dense breasts”.

Having dense breasts mean that the radiology tech can’t read what’s going on in the breast. The next obvious step in that situation is to send the patient for an ultrasound to make sure there is nothing they missed.

And that’s exactly what I asked the doctor to order instead of wasting time with a test I knew was not going to show anything. Better yet, the tech would not be able to read it anyway, so why spend the money?

Always Research!

If you are familiar with my blog, you already know that I like to research everything about medical conditions (it’s part of my job anyway).

I also preach that you should take charge of your treatment and that you should never accept your doctor’s words as the final word on the matter. The reason I say this is because a lot of my clients’ medical impairments started with doctor’s mistakes!

 

Bullied for refusing a mammogram

 

So you can imagine that when I decided to refuse a mammogram I had already researched other alternatives to make sure I got the best results with the least amount of harm to my body.

While I don’t want you to take my word for it either, I did my research and this is what I concluded:

Mammograms are not accurate despite what doctors say. They are not 100% safe and they cause a lot of distress not only during the exam but also when the results come out.

And here is the worst part: the test results can yield a lot of  “false positives” or “false negatives“. And when it does get it right, it means that cancer could have been there for a while. Even if you got a mammogram every year and you never got a diagnosis the year before! Especially in dense breasts.

Sick, right?!

But wait, there’s more!

Though mammograms emit low levels of radiation onto the breast during testing, according to several studies this radiation is cumulative. Now, imagine this radiation accumulating every year in your breast?

I even learned that mammograms can cause breast cancer!!

First, because they can spread cancer cells when your breast is compressed during the exam. Second, radiation causes cancer!! Everyone knows that.

When I learned about mammograms being this dangerous I was just sick to my stomach. I felt fooled! 

They tell you to get a mammogram every year starting at age 40. Now, imagine getting one every year for the rest of your life?

Crazy!

Oh, before you tell me I’m a conspiracy theorist know that this information came from several reputable cancer researchers including universities, cancer societies, and highly qualified specialists who are now questioning this recommendation. And yes, I also know people who were saved by these tests, etc, etc.

I also have family members, friends and also clients who have gone through this. So when I refused to undergo a test that everybody knows is the “standard”, understand that I did not take this lightly.

But it’s my body. It’s my choice!

I decided to skip the mammogram (for all the reasons above) and go straight to getting an ultrasound. And yes, I know ultrasounds are not perfect either.

Boy, was that a fun experience?

The Bullying Began In The Waiting Room

When I arrived at the imaging place, I checked in and I thought I would be in and out in no more than 30 minutes.

After waiting for about 25 minutes (the waiting room was not full) I noticed that they were taking a long time to call me.

Eventually, the staff called me to tell me that “because of my age” I had to do a mammogram and they were trying to reach the doctor to get an order in and that’s why the long wait.

I told them I had no interest in doing a mammogram.

The staff just about had a fit.

First, the glares. Second, the look you get when you order a “Big Mac” without pickles and onions. They, just. Can’t. Even.

Then they started repeating the same thing over and over again: “Because of your age, bla, bla”.

I told them again, I had no interest in doing a mammogram.

Then they started getting loud. Loud enough for everybody to hear.

Then they said: “we can’t do an ultrasound without a mammogram first!”.

I explained why I did not want a mammogram (not the conspiracy part but the logical part): “I have dense breasts, it’s waste of time and money“.

Especially money.

They again repeated: “because of your age…and we can’t…without a mammogram“. Loudly!

So, loudly, I asked, “is this a rule you just made up to make a buck here? ” “And how about my wishes?” “What if I had done a mammogram elsewhere and I was just here for the ultrasound?”

I could not believe this was happening to me. I felt bullied. In front of others too!

And whatever happened to privacy and HIPPA laws?

They just couldn’t handle that decision. I think it was mostly money and ignorance. Or pure disrespect for people’s wishes.

But Wait, there’s even more!

After an eternity waiting, they finally called me in to do the ultrasound. But you would think the bullying was over? Not quite!

The radiology tech still tried to push the mammogram again. She gave me the whole lecture again. I explained my reasons again.

She left the room. Then she came back with another “offer”: “we have this 3D mammogram. It’s great with dense breasts. Of course, there’s still compression. There’s still radiation”

Whatever happened with “no, means no”?

I refused. I felt bullied one more time.

I just thought, “just hold your tongue and get the ultrasound and it will be over soon“.

Was it over? Nooooo.

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We went to the exam room, she did the ultrasound and then she went to get the doctor. Supposedly they are required to tell you the results right there and then.

I thought, “Great, I will get the results now and can go home knowing that it’s all good” and this bullying will finally be over.

I was wrong. Again!

The doctor came in and instead of telling me the result of the ultrasound, she gave me yet one more lecture. I tried to reason with her. And I explained my feelings about radiation and the usefulness of a mammogram on my dense breasts. I told her that doctors always send me for ultrasounds because of the dense breasts.

But no, she was pushing that mammogram like HER life depended on it.

I explained to her that my intention was to do a thermogram. A thermogram is a noninvasive, nonradioactive imaging that allows a doctor see the formation of cancer cells years, yes, YEARS before they become cancer.

I even asked that doctor if they offered that service there since they were so keen to take my money no matter what.

Not only did she say no, but she also lied to my face saying that this exam is not FDA approved. A BIG FAT LIE!

Thermograms are FDA approved since 1982 (you can Google it if you don’t believe me). Probably available before she was even born!

To add insult to injury, I had to almost beg for her to give me the result of the ultrasound.

She begrudgingly did, but I only got a: “it was fine” mumbled between her teeth as she was storming out of the room.

What in the world was that?!!! Was I in the twilight zone?

Why the anger? Did she just want to be right?

It did not feel like warm and fuzzies. Or that she sincerely cared for me. It felt as stressful and dirty as leaving a car salesman behind.

I never expected to be bullied for refusing a mammogram.

Me. The person who researches everything. The person who takes charge of her treatment and will not let doctors tell her that she needs a medication for the rest of her life when she really doesn’t!

Do You Think That Was The End of It?

Nope!

When I received the written report with the results of my ultrasound they still wanted to have the last word.

Even though the result was normal and that it said I had only a 15% chance of getting cancer in my lifetime, they wrote that I refused to do this “mandatory” exam and that I was supposed to do that every year and so on!

They really just wanted me to feel bad!

(Face Palm Emoji!)

Please Understand My Reasons for Refusing a Mammogram

The reason I’m sharing this is not to shame breast cancer patients or undermine what they are going through. Or even to undermine the usefulness of mammograms.

My goal is to bring awareness that you must stand up for yourself. And you must take charge of your medical treatment. That ultimately you decide what you wish for your body!

The cancer industry is a profitable one and they feed off fear. “You must do this. Or do that, or else…

I truly believe we get cancer because of fear but that’s another story.

The point here is that this situation I went through should not be acceptable.

If there are other tests that won’t put you at risk you should go for it.

Sure, talk to your doctor, explain your reasons. If he’s close-minded, find someone else who will listen. If it makes sense to you then why not try?

If I know there is a test that is more accurate (in combination with others) and that will not expose me to high levels of radiation, I want that. Even if it’s not what the majority of people do.

Science gets better every day. New tests are out every day. Why settle for treatments and diagnosis that are known for harming people?

The reason mammograms are sold is because of the cancer lobbying and because it’s a great money maker.

Doctors are now questioning the accuracy of mammograms and the stress they cause when a person is diagnosed with cancer and it turns out to be nothing. Many unnecessary biopsies happen because of the inaccuracy of mammograms.

Think of the hardship and stress. Also, the expense.

Prevention? Early Detection?

 

Breast Cancer Self Check bullied for refusing a mammogram

 

Well, they sell mammograms as a tool for early detection. Early detection is important but understand, that you can have cancer and a mammogram may still not be able to “see it”.

False positives are very common and so are false negatives (like dense breasts and showing nothing on film and giving the patient a false sense of security).

I bet you anything, by the time your loved one or friend found that cancer, it was probably something the person could feel or see. The mammogram just confirmed it. It is also common for people to know they have cancer from another exam like a PET scan and a mammogram will still not find it.

Always self-examine. Always check the skin around your breasts. Look for dimpling, unusual discharges or an inverted nipple. Check your family history to see if any close relatives have had breast cancer.

And please, research!!

Don’t accept your doctor’s words as the final word. Get second opinions.

Doctor’s don’t know it all.

They need to make money to pay their student loans. It’s very tempting to just keep the status quo. It’s easier to prescribe treatment and medications than do more research for a patient. Even if it can harm them.

I see too many of these cases ending up on my desk. And I hate to see people being taken advantage of by doctors who either don’t care or just don’t know enough to really do a good job.

Take good care of yourself and don’t let anyone bully you if you want a different course of treatment. It is your body after all.

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61 comments

  1. Paul boroff says:

    Im a pharmacist (male) and I agree totally with Tatiana. What I am going to say is my opinion. It may or may not be fact. If it is indeed fact the “cancer industry” would never admit it. I dont use the word cancer industry cynically. I do research about cancer drugs and now what you do online is very transparent. I once got an Email from a cancer organization that urged me to subscribe to their magazine. The Email suggested I do this to keep up with the latest develepments in “the industry”. These were their words not mine.

    From 1988 until 1994 I had a private pharmacy. The takeover of Medicine by the Insurance industry ened “Mom and Pop pharmacies for the most part as it did independent Physicians. That isn t the point Im trying to make.

    If I filled a prescription Id have to buy more of the same medication to keep it on hand. My drug bill was my main expense.

    Lets say I were an MD who ran a mammography clinic (or for that point a colonoscopy clinic). Once I set up my office, the major expense is gone as my mammography (colonoscopy) equiment is bought once and will be useable for years. OK Im in business, now I have to deal with the insurance companies. How can I “induce” them to use my business (and it is a business) over another clinic?

    I can think of one. I tell the head local honcho I will charge the insurance company 1500 dollars a mammogram. BUT. There are two BUTS.

    #1 BUT. Yes I charge 1500dollars (whatever the going price is for mammograms) but I will pay the Insurance company a 500 dollar discount on each mammography. So in reality each mammogram only costs 1000 dollars, still expensive.

    #2 BUT This is the important one. Since I already have my equipment, the insurance company only has to pay me for 75% of the mammographies I do. BUT-they get the 500 dollar rebate on every mammography whether they pay or not.

    This induces the Insurance company to push and push patients to have a mammogram at my clinic. The more patients who get mammograms, the more “free rebates” the insurance company gets. If they push enough patients in they can basically cover their yearly cost of mammographies. I benefit for obvious reasons. AS my mammogram equipment is set up and useable for years the main expense of doing a mammography is basically time. Of course I have other overhead ie rent, paying my staff, film etc. But both myself and the Insuranse company
    come out ahead.

    Does this sound crazy? It sure does. But it does explain the bullying by the clinic to get a mammogram, colonoscopy whatever. Why else would they refuse to refill a prescription for your diabetes or blood pressure meds.

    Tatiana is correct. It is YOUR body (and my body). It doesnt belong to the insurance company. They seem to think so. Please forgive the inevitable mispeelings. Im a bad typist.

    • Tatiana says:

      Oh wow! You have explained more than I ever could with the experience of the industry. Thank you so much for your comment! That will certainly bring even more confidence to our readers that our bodies are our own.

  2. Wanda says:

    Hello,
    I agree, I have not had a mammogram in several years, I have small breasts and the whole experience is a nightmare. It is so painful and they always come back and say, “well, we need to re take this one” . I would love to find a doctor or nurse practitioner, that does not push you to have one !
    I thought about paying for thermal imaging , but if something was found, the doctor would order you to have a mammogram! I wish things would change and doctors would go back to caring about the welfare of their patients and updating their education!
    Thank you, I feel better knowing others feel the same as I do.

    • Tatiana says:

      We all wish that doctors really paid attention and it didn’t feel like being in a production line. So awful! Thank you for your comment.

  3. Rose says:

    I was bullied by a Doctor just this past week. I searched and found this and wow. I’m 35, 36 in Dec and felt a change in my breast, I went to the Obgyn and that doctor said she didn’t feel anything but I could and I knew she could, I showed her right where it was at. Ugh. So I told her I wanted an ultrasound and she kept telling me I didn’t need it. Finally she said she can request it but she doesn’t know if they would approve it. humm. She also said I would need a mammogram with it and I told her no I would not do one of those and why. She said she would put that in the notes. I get a call and they say for your mammogram appointment and I say no I’m only getting an ultrasound, the nurse says right. I go in and the nurse tells me to change and then we can do my mammogram. Ha, I don’t think so. I tell her no and she said ok I’ll go talk to the Doctor. Humm ok. The doctor comes out and grabs my arm and starts telling me I should get the mammogram and I was like nope, I’m here for the ultrasound only. Luckily they did it but when I got up she said see you when your 40 for your mammogram. I said, No you won’t. Then she grabs my arm again and tells me how I need a mammogram. In the ultrasound she seen a small cyst but everything else was clear. I told her I’d do another ultrasound in the future but never a mammogram. I’m glad I found this article ♡ Now I know I’m not alone in this and no means no.

    • Tatiana says:

      Her grabbing your by the arm is an assault. You can actually press criminal charges against this dr. Glad you said no but i wud have called the police. Maybe they have cameras that caught it on tape. If she does this to all women saying no, she is a criminal and shud not be practicing

  4. A. M. says:

    YES! I had one mammo at age 45 after obgyn pressure, and that obgyn sent my info to Sally Jobe imaging to get it done, I was called by them to schedule. Was kind of crazy how they hunted me down but I figured, “Ok, I’ll do one, get a baseline, insurance is paying”. I had it done, got call saying found dense area & to come back for another one and will cost $$$. I had already decided I wasn’t going to do another. Then came the months of multiple phone calls from Sally Jobe imaging, followed by a certified mail letter that I had to go sign for. I had to go out of my way nd use my personal time to get to the Post Office to pick it up, then when I opened it & realized what it was, I was pissed. Insurance isn’t paying for #2. Huge money grab. Huge scam. Data shows lack of benefits, more downsides than benefits. A completely one-sided information campaign. Wondering if a harassment lawsuit is an option if this continues. I just got another certified letter notice, this is almost one year later and they are still bugging me… ha… not going to go get the letter this time. Fool me once…

  5. Debbie says:

    Tatiana, Thank you for sharing your story! I am walking your nightmare. But it is not my doctor who refused to order me an ultra sound. It was the medical facility. The ultrasound was scheduled, but then the Women’s Center cancelled it when they saw that I had not had a mammogram since 2012. I have had false positives in the past. I had to endure this more than once only to end up confirming I was fine with an ultrasound.
    First, they told me it was federal “law” to have a mammo before an ultrasound. When I asked for a copy of this law, I was passed onto a supervisor. They explained it was “their policy.” I asked for a copy of it, and they said they would need to ask Risk Management. To date they refuse to send me a copy of that policy, talk to me via email, and honor my doctor’s orders. They suggested I make an doctor to explain it to me. I said, I have a doctor, he gave an ultrasound order, and you refused it.
    The supervisor only wants to talk to me by phone. But my request is simple. Reschedule my ultrasound or email a copy of this policy that says I can’t get an ultrasound unless I get a mammo first. Still waiting! Something needs to change to keep these Healthcare Corporations from this kind of behavior. Thank you for bringing it to light!

    • Tatiana says:

      That’s is maddening! It’s your body, not theirs. I would find another imaging place even if I had to travel out of town. This is no way to treat a person. Imagine if they found anything and what they would “demand” you do? “Oh you will need mammos every two weeks, sorry”. It’s really a racket. Glad you are taking charge! Thank you for your readership. All the best to you.

  6. Laura says:

    So glad that I found this page!

    I have the SAME trouble as the rest. I am 50 and went for my annual check up and HRT….Doc pushed the mammogram and I told her that I was not interested in the test. She seemed to agree and we went on with the visit.

    All was ok until I went to pick up my prescription an noticed it was for 3 months. When I called to get a refill and received the return call from a nurse that told me I was REQUIRED to get the mammogram or NO refill.

    So now I have an ongoing battle to literally BEG to get refills during which time I have to suffer through the Menopause symptoms.

    I wish there was a magic sentence that would give them no choice but to listen to OUR wishes. This whole thing is just utterly ridiculous!

    • Tatiana says:

      I think the magic sentence should be “I found another doctor who listens to me and my wishes”. I would never keep going to a doctor who is holding me hostage. He is not the last one in the world. So glad you are taking charge of your body. I had other meds I needed to take and mine wanted me to take a synthetic version of medication I’m taking now that is natural and yet if I were to take the synthetic it would actually physically hurt me. I walked away and found someone who listens. Thank you for your readership

  7. Michelle says:

    I’ve been refusing mammograms for the past 3 years now. No history in family, no lumps, no other illnesses. I’m 56. My first doctor did not push it but tried to guilt trip me into getting it.

    Didn’t work.

    That machine is not only PAINFUL, it is archaic and useless. I do self-exams and have asked for thermogram. My insurance refused. I have calls weekly from companies trying to get me to schedule. I block their numbers. One company even offered me $25 VISA card to come in.

    Sickening.

    That is when I KNEW it was mostly a scam for money.

    • Tatiana says:

      A gift card?! That’s so cheesy. I had to pay the thermogram out of pocket but it was worth every dime. The whole cancer scheme is just horrible. Of course, we are the lucky ones but I can only imagine those going thru all this and having to deal with these vultures. I was helping a friend with the doctor visits and treatment plan and it was so awful dealing with the cockiness of these doctors and someone who saw a rare cancer only once and trying to act like an expert. Just crazy!

  8. Linda McLaughlin says:

    Thank you so much for this post!! I found a lump when I was 38 (now 50) so I had my first mammogram, followed by ultrasound. Thank The Lord it was a cyst. My concern about mammograms causing cancer is because you’re advised to have a thyroid guard to protect it from radiation, but they’re smashing my breasts flat and hitting it directly with radiation!! I decided I would have mammograms only if I found a lump, which has been twice. Fast forward 6 years, my doctor (who I trust and respect) REALLY encouraged me to have a routine mammogram, and of course, because I have very dense tissue, it was followed by a diagnostic one and an ultrasound. I’m not a very big woman, but I have very high pain tolerance, delivered 9 pound babies without anesthetic and I took one pain pill after my hysterectomy a couple weeks ago, so the pain of either kind of mammogram is not a problem for me, BUT following that DIAGNOSTIC mammogram (which they insist on because the tissue is dense) I felt like I was bruised from my collar bones to my armpits to my belly button for about 10 days. I could hardly wear my bra because it hurt me. I had to take Motrin for it! They smash you so flat with the kind of mammogram and it apparently “separates the tissue” more than a routine mammogram…if there was cancer, I shutter to think of what it would do or if it would spread! Once again, cysts and recommendation of 6 month follow up with ultra sound and “possible” mammogram. I’m scheduled for the ultrasound, but I refused to schedule the mammogram. I have good health insurance and I’m thankful for that, but the cost of a diagnostic mammogram is insane and I’m TERRIFIED that they damage my breast tissue. I feel lumps again in both breast, so I’m anxious to have the ultrasound, praying they are just cysts again. Thank you to everyone for your encouraging words on this matter. It’s MY body, and I am by no means a feminist, but I’m the patient and should be able to refuse ANY medical treatment and choose what I feel is best for me. Have a great day and thanks again.

    • Tatiana says:

      Glad to hear you are taking charge of your body! It is tough when doctors and providers don’t want to listen. They feed you fear every time you go in. Yes, for some these can be life saving but despite so many people doing mammograms why do we still have cancer? I think knowing your body is key and everything else is available to pursue it a little more. Take care of yourself.

  9. Sarah says:

    I had a similar experience when I went to the breast clinic about a likely cyst at 45. I said I did not want the mammogram . The doctor virtually had a tantrum and went all huffy so I reluctantly agreed to have one. They attempted it. It was unbearable agony and they could not do one. the radiographers were pressuring me and acting as if I was carrying on which I absolutely was not and saying but it shouldn’t be that painful. well it bloody well was. So they sent me back to the doctor with no bedside manner and she ordered a ultrasound and she was all sulky with me. the ultrasound was adequate and showed it was just a cyst as I suspected and the doctor was even more huffy because I was right. I also had to wait in the silly ping waiting room for about 2 hours. unacceptable!

    • Tatiana says:

      They are indeed very pushy. It is so sad that as women we have to live with this fear. It saddens me even more that women drs and other healthcare professionals are not listening considering they can be on the same boat.

  10. M says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! I am just starting to gain the confidence to refuse additional testing that I don’t believe is necessary. I had an extremely negative experience at my last gyn exam 2 weeks ago. After finding out that I have dense breasts, I decided against further mammograms. I have received many phone call reminders to schedule the appointment, in addition to voicemails while I am on the phone with the technician and finally, a letter that I received on a Saturday. The letter had the word “mammogram” circled several times for maximum impact, and a helpless feeling since the office was closed over the weekend. The following Monday I received another phone call telling me they were going to send me the same letter through registered mail, making me go to the post office and sign for it. I told them I wasn’t interested and that I would be going elsewhere. I asked them not to call me back, but they did call me back 2 more times the same day. I did my research and after many talks with my husband, decided that in the future I will go for thermography. I feel that I have been harassed and funneled into a system where 3 different offices under the same umbrella (who are not communicating with each other) are trying to convince me to have another mammogram. At no time did any doctor or radiologist get on the phone with me, discuss anything with me, not even my gynecologist – only office receptionists and a technician. When I initially called I was kept on hold over an hour each time. I’ve only learned that I have dense breasts and that they have no baseline. I am not comfortable exposing myself to the radiation, or anymore pain from the mammogram and the inevitable terror. Again, thank you for sharing your story.

    • Tatiana says:

      I see a lot of people commenting on their experiences and I am surprised at how many of them have gone thru similar experiences. That tells me that there is a money making industry feeding off people’s fears. Just awful. Good for you taking charge of your body! Thank you for your comment.

  11. DanaK says:

    Thank you so much for your post. I am actually going through this same thing right now, first with my doctor and also the radiology companies. I found a lump, very similar to the type I had during pregnancy. Of course, they wanted me to get a mammo, but I opted for Thermography instead. That didn’t show anything, so I talked my doctor into just ordering the ultrasound…after MUCH deliberation on her part. I thought that would be the end, but NO the at the radiology office, they bullied me. One doctor actually refused to allow me to do just an ultrasound. They had to call another doctor to read the results. After litterally 5 minutes taking pictures, the tech said yes, it’s just a cyst. The doctor read my results, confirmed and sent it along to my OBGYN. I then received a call a few days later, from the nurse practitioner saying they found a lump ( uuummm yes, that’s why I had the test done) and that I needed to see a breast surgeon and have an MRI done. I am not opposed to the MRI since I have implants, and opted to have that done. Nope, the radiologist again tells me they won’t read the results and will call it incomplete because the ACC requires you to have a mammogram to diagnose fully. This whole system is just crazy. I am still going to have the MRI done, and just hope they will read it.

    • Tatiana says:

      Just awful what they do. The funny thing is when you actually have a problem they can’t find anything but will make a big deal out of nothing. This system is broken. They seem to love to instill fear on us. Glad you are taking charge of your body and hope the MRI confirms the cyst nothing more.

    • Alanna says:

      This happened to me just yesterday. When I called the office I told him I did not want a mammogram. I never have and I never will. I then waited in the waiting room for a long time it seemed. I was then brought into a room, asked a few questions but then was asked why I did not want the mammogram. After I explained, I was sent back to the waiting room. The radiologist performed my ultrasound then asked me if I wanted a mammogram. She then left the room. She brought in a resident nurse, she started hounding me on getting a mammogram. I told her my reasons why I didn’t want one. She left the room, then the head nurse came in and started hounding me to get a mammogram. I started to cry. I told him I didn’t want one 4 times. Why didn’t they listen to me. I cried all the way home. It’s already a tough time going to these appointments did they make you feel worse for not wanting a service that you have researched and don’t feel comfortable having.

  12. J says:

    I appreciate your article. I too was pressured into having a mammogram. I had my first one two years ago and because of dense tissue had to have the follow up mammograph and an ultrasound. When I told my doctor I didn’t want another one or just an ultrasound to save time and money, I was guilted into the mammogram again this year. It came back abnormal again and I refused any follow up tests. The scheduler tried to talk me into it and then she had the breast center nurse call me and try to talk me into it. I was told very negative things about thermography that were incorrect. I plan to have one done and have no more mammograms, which I am very concerned can cause cancer either thru cumulative radiation or by crushing isolated capsules in the breasts. It seems so obvious that mammograms are playing a role in the surge of breast cancers. People shouldn’t be guilted into making their own decisions or researching their own issues. Shame on doctors or clinics that do this.

  13. Artsy says:

    I recently went in for a diagnostic mammography and ultrasound but I told the doctor I just wanted an ultrasound. I’ve never had a mammogram. I am 45. Anyhow as the radiologist did my ultrasound she asked me why I didn’t want to also do a mammogram that same day. I made the mistake of telling her I researched and read reports and that there was too much scary information surrounding mammograms. I thought she would just say ok. No way she went off explaining and defending mammograms like her life depended on it. Then she got the doctor to come in and convince to to also get a mammogram. I felt really really bullied and shamed. I should have just told her ille do the mammo another time, but not do it, like lie to her. Some conflicting reports now say women don’t even have to consider mammograms until age 50. People should be allowed to decide for themselves without all the bullying. It’s really sad. I don’t ever want to get a mammogram from what I’ve read and researched, it’s not for me. Too many negative things said about mammograms by actual doctors.

    • Tatiana says:

      Uncanny how your story is similar to mine and so many others. They just want to instil fear so we fall into their trap. Glad you are taking charge of your health

  14. Monica says:

    Tatiana,
    Thank you so much for you article/opinion. I have been pounded by my doctor to get a mammogram. Of course, I have been refusing one for years, based, exactly on what you posted. Today, I got another call, asking me if I got one. I flat out told them to quit parenting me, and that I take care of my own health. It is appalling. Dentists, as well, ordered too many x-rays. All of these are coated with scare tactics. I am an informed and healthy individual, but I hate when they take advantage of people not so fortunate. To add to breast cancer diagnosis, I have heard about the quick test that have been developed in Australia. This could wipe out the lucrative mammogram scam. Of course, there will be resistance since mammograms generate so much money. Thank you so much again.

    • Tatiana says:

      They will do that with medications too. I had to fight my doctor who wanted to prescribe a medication that is soy based when I’m allergic to soy. He was insisting that this is what I needed. Ugh! Glad you are taking charge of your treatment. Thank you for your readership.

    • Tatiana says:

      I’m not 100% sure but I believe MRIs do contain radiation. There may be a reason why MRIs are not proper as a mammogram substitute. But that is a good question.

  15. Kate says:

    I went through the bully treatment 8 years ago just asking for an ultrasound. I gave in then because a doctor said she felt something I did not. There was nothing … with either mammograms or ultrasound.
    * years later I did feel a pea size lump and so did my new doctor. She ordered both because she said they will not just do an ultrasound. She said I will need to just say no … and continue that mantra.
    But I have a better plan. If they say no to me for just the ultrasound, I will calmly say … OK, I’m off to Chiang Mai, Thailand in two days … I found I can have just the ultrasound for $60 (this includes doctor and clinic). The doctor goes over everything with you and sends you on your way with all the results, etc. And I can also add to this: I am also about to leave my work coverage and can choose my own provider. And since this all true … I am going away to Thailand and I will need to choose my own provider … … I will just walk away. So, in this case, I am in a good situation

  16. Nita says:

    Great post! I am 73 and haven’t had a mammogram in 15 years and after researching will never get one. My newest doctor who also practices alternative medicines, asks me every time I go in if I want a flu shot, and five times I tell her I don’t do flu shots. The last one I had I got the flu, in 2001, and not since. Now they are trying for the mammograms. I told her “no thank you” three times. Today I got a phone call from a radiology lab who told me my doctor told them to call to make an appointment for me, for…guess what…a mammogram. I told her to the doctor I don’t need it. We’ll see what happens next. Keep up the good work!

    • Tatiana says:

      It’s amazing how they don’t understand the concept of “No”. They did the same thing for me before this one event. I went to a new doctor who decided I needed a biopsy (not breast) and a mammogram. I said I didn’t want one, completely ignored me and scheduled one right in front of me. As soon as I left the exam room (which was another debacle) I went to the desk and canceled it. I went to another dr who told me that the biopsy she wanted to do was unnecessary because the issue could be seen in a simple ultrasound. The things they do for money! Thank you for your readership <3

  17. Carol B says:

    Thank you for this! I also have small, dense breasts and I know absolutely that one of them was damaged by mammography a couple of years ago. I will NEVER have another. 3 years ago, they said I had “calcifications” and needed to come back for another. Did that, radiologist said no change but come back in 6 months. That was 2 years ago (life got in the way) and following up on it now. Went through nine miles of bad road earlier today standing up for myself and demanding an ultrasound (which was what I understood I would have today – wasted 2 hours and walked out with nothing). Was told Medicare won’t cover it and it’s “over $1000.” How is that possible??? It should be dirt cheap. You have to fight. As of now, they’ve coded it differently and Medicare will cover, I believe, 80%. My supplemental should cover the rest. I really appreciate your post above and my main wish is that the medico-pharma industry would stop treating women as nothing but a disease waiting to happen but, of course, it’s big big money for them. And, saddest of all, most women have been brainwashed into buying this nonsense and enable it. The reason they don’t do it to men is that most men won’t fall for it. Anyway, thanks again, I was very pleased to see your site in a search.

    • Tatiana says:

      My feelings exactly! Ultrasounds are not that expensive even out of pocket. These radiology places are just taking advantage of unsuspecting people and feeding fear as a method to make money. It really makes me mad. Glad to hear you are taking charge of your health!

  18. Shelly T. says:

    I have also read that mammograms “can” cause breast cancer. I read this recently, it was a medical study in a journal, not some opinion piece.
    I have very small breasts and getting a mammogram for me is torture. My breasts are also very dense and this has led to ultrasounds. I’m done with the whole thing. It’s torture, and then it’s sheer terror waiting for the results, and then to be told I had a false positive or needed an ultrasound, I wanted no more of this scam. Yes, I think it’s a scam. I don’t think most women need mammograms unless there is a history or some kind of extreme environmental exposure to toxins. The worst thing is the bullying in the doctor’s offices. I have changed doctors twice because of it, and will change again soon because of it. I can’t handle being bullied and as a patient I do have a RIGHT to refuse testing that I deem to be unnecessary. But tell that to the mammogram cult.

    • Tatiana says:

      I’m glad I’m not alone. It is madness. I have the same issue as u saw in the post and it is so sad to think that at this day and age we have to deal with the bullying and fearmongering. I understand the need for those with a family history but one size doesn’t fit all and that’s what they do to us. Thank u for ur comment and for taking charge of ur body.

  19. Jane McShea says:

    I’m over 60 and recently I had some heavy attitude thrown my way at a new (to me) well-regarded women’s clinic regarding my stance on “never a mammogram.” I had an appointment with a specific doctor, but the only medical person I saw that day was an ARNP.

    The ARNP came in, never introduced herself (I had to ask who she was), and proceeded to open up the exam room computer and ask me questions I’d neglected to fill in on my health forms.

    When she saw that the date of last mammogram was blank, she asked me if I could “recall” the last time I had one. “Never” I replied. She nearly fell off her little round stool. I then told her I wasn’t keen on smashing my breasts and exposing them to radiation, but I’d be willing to think about Thermography (if I could afford it).

    She looked as if I was speaking to her in an unknown foreign language. Surely, I thought, I was not the only woman in that clinic who has refused a mammogram? I guess I was – the look on her face seemed to confirm that everyone else for years apparently went along with a mammogram, no questions asked.

    From that moment on, she gave me attitude. Never once was my blood pressure taken. Never once was my temperature taken. Never once was any blood work done to address my reason for being there. I wasn’t even there for a pap smear but thought it might be a good idea to eliminate one of my concerns (no, not a cancer concern).

    The ARNP went back and forth out of the exam room (she spent an inordinate amount of time forcing me to answer other questions I’d not filled in on the form as if she was a secretary, not a nurse). I asked several times during my hour long visit “where is the doctor?” No real answer was given to me. It became apparent I was not going to see a doctor that day.

    Finally, after one long interval where she was obviously consulting with someone she returned to tell me – as she continued to type into the computer (and not looking into my face) – that she wanted me to “know” that “in this office, we do mammograms.” Alluding perhaps that if I wanted to remain a patient I’d have to give into a mammogram.

    This is medical blackmail. It is reprehensible. It is evil. We do not give over our bodies, no questions asked, to the medical profession unless we are dead and will it to science. In the meantime, it’s our bodies to ultimately decide what’s done to it – or not.

    As if that wasn’t enough, her quick vaginal exam was one of the worst I’ve ever had. I particularly did’t appreciate a very cold speculum shoved hard up my vagina while a second student nurse stared intently at my opening as if it was the first one she’d ever seen.

    After that I was left alone to get dressed (btw, NO breast exam, so where was all this concern for my breasts?) When the ARNP returned she put my exit papers on the table and pretty much fled the room.

    THIS is what women are faced with when they refuse a mammogram.

    I am currently looking for another doctor, but am limited due to my insurance.

    How on earth can we ever trust the medical profession if we run up against closed minds such as these? Do they never read anything about how harmful mammograms can be? How dare they make us feel “less than” for refusing a medical procedure we believe will do more harm than good? It’s not THEIR body – it’s ours!

    They need to abide by our wishes and move on. This doesn’t mean I won’t have Thermography or ultrasound. This doesn’t mean that I won’t do self exams. This doesn’t mean that I won’t get cancer anyway. All this means is I’m not going to risk radiating my breasts while they are being smashed between glass just so the medical profession can feel good about themselves.

    • Tatiana says:

      Oh I hear loud and clear! You saw my story on the post. I felt horrible and I consider myself a tough person but that was uncalled for. We must take charge of our treatment and our bodies. We can’t believe in everything they do or don’t do for us. Thank you for your comment and for being aware of these things.

  20. Noreen says:

    Responding to mammo tech. Being a tech does not educate you to anything except what the cancer industry teaches you. I would never choose mammos, surgery, chemo or radiation. The latter two destroy the immune system. Surgery does not cure. Statistics show no difference in longevity in favor of cutting, poisoning and burning. And the quality of life is better than quantity of life. What is the point of living longer? if you you believe the cancer industry, you are fooling yourself.

    • Tatiana says:

      There are good points on both sides but because I see so many bad stories on my desk I do have a less than positive view of the whole cancer industry and the destruction they cause to a person’s body. Of course, in some cases, these treatments are the only reason people are alive. We have come a long way but I saw first hand how pushy they can be with myself and my own family member who was told chemo should be added to the treatment when every support group, website, and even another specialist doctor (in the same office) said chemo would not work for that type of cancer. When I asked the doctor who was pushing for the chemo how many cases she dealt with that particular cancer (a rare type) she begrudgingly told me one. So every other specialist said no chemo for this type of cancer but this dr wanted and insisted my family member should have chemo. When I asked how the treatment should work, she asked me to ask the nurse because she didn’t know. It was a disturbing experience. But I wanted to put out there my own experience because the bullying was disturbing and in front of the whole waiting room. However, I don’t want to suggest people refuse treatment but to please research. As we are seeing more and more the opioid epidemic and other medications that are offered so easily and freely because doctors want to make a buck with kickbacks from Big Pharma. I also don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist. Just my first-hand experience. I’m sure the tech’s experience was certainly more positive than others and that is always a nice thing. Thank you for your comment.

      • Noreen says:

        Hi Tatiana,

        Always like reading your insightful words. As for me, I am politically incorrect and conspiracy theories aside, the wealthiest physicians are, eait for it…ONCOLOGISTS. I had a dear musician friend, saxophonist, who had parotid cancer. The doctor wanted to remove 3/4 of his tongue which would render him unable to play, speak or eat properly. He chose chemo and they gave him tons of it. He went from 200 lbs to 95. Then went to Mayo Clinic and they said stop chemo but his local oncologist said keep doing chemo. He quit but the damage was done. He played music until two weeks before he died in hospice. It is all about the money! Chemo doctors are the richest. I stand by my decision to never do any of that stuff. They try to frighten people into the disfiguring surgery, then radiation and then chemo. No thanks.

        Noreen

        • Tatiana says:

          I completely understand your point. It is a scary situation and ultimately it is the patient’s choice. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. Thank you for your readership.

  21. Julie says:

    As a mammo tech, I have seen several misleading comments in your blog. By no means am I commenting to cause any negativity but just to spread mammo awareness and to clear up some stuff that isn’t exactly accurate. There is absolutely no proof anywhere that mammos cause breast cancer. And the radiation that is given at the time, for a 2D mammo is about the same amount of radiation as a 2 hour plane flight and a 3D mammo is about the same as a 4 hour plane flight. So if you think about all the flight attendants and pilots and the people who fly for business trips often, its not as much radiation as you think it is. There is also extensive research that shows thermography does not detect cancer near as early as mammogram and is not an effective screening tool. And it is about the same cost as a mammo so there is no reason for the doctors to favor either one based on cost. My mother also had dense breast and was one of the ones routinely called back for additional imaging by the RADIOLOGIST(a medical dr who has extensive training on reading mammograms) , not the mammo tech. She went and had the ultrasounds and diagnostic mammos about 5 times before the found her cancer. And by the way, the ultrasounds are really only good to determine if a suspected spot is a mass or fluid filled cyst. It is also proven to not be an effective screening tool. So if my mother had opted out of her mammo or follow up mammos, she would possibly not be with me today. They found her cancer so small and tiny that she beat with no long recovery road. There are some aggressive breast cancers that can spread like wild fire and be spread within a year so the earlier detection the better. I agree with you and recommend that all people do their own research and do not take the advice of others. And I totally agree that the decision should be up to the patient. No one should be pressured.

    • Tatiana says:

      Thank you for your honest response. I do not suggest anyone forgo testing just because of my post. But I do ask that people take charge of their bodies because I am seeing more and more that doctors are not taking the time necessary to explain things to patients including pros and cons of tests and exams. In my case, all of those tests including the ultrasound when the mammo didn’t capture the breast were recommended by the dr. As to cost, the opposite was true. The costs were much higher. I guess it depends on the state you are in and what kind of insurance you have. Mine was not the best at the time so I had a lot of out of pocket. It is disheartening to also see how the “cancer lobby” is working to terrify people just to make money and expose people to harmful radiation and other poisonous treatments (and I’m not talking just chemo here). But I see what you mean and I appreciate your comment. I am glad your mother is still around and hope for many years to come. Thank you again for your honesty.

  22. Elsa says:

    I’m glad I came across your blog, reading through it gave me the idea whether to accept or refuse the test. Whenever I have mammo the result was always dense. This morning I got a call requesting me for diagnostic mammo, I just had the regular screening two days ago. Now that I’ve read about your experience, I gives me the courage to turn it down. I am a petite woman with very small breast. The agony of being squashed on that machine is unbearable for me. I hate it among all medical exams for women. Thank you for sharing. God bless!

    • Tatiana says:

      I’m so happy to hear you are taking control of your health. I’m not the type to be a conspiracy theorist but dealing with claimants with different medical issues everyday gives me a unique perspective and what I learned with my own medical issues is that doctors are not always right and that the “cancer mafia” and the “prescription mafia” is doing more bad than good for patients. It is sad to see perfectly healthy people being told they will need a certain medication for the rest of their lives when they really don’t need it or just need to adjust their lifestyle (diet, exercise or other more holistic approaches to their illnesses. Thank you for your words. I’m glad this post is helping others to take care of their bodies.

  23. Noreen says:

    Brava! I am 77 yrs. old and am going through a similar situation. I am the exception to the rule. I take no meds and am prediabetic going on 10 yrs but drank a ginger ale right before bloodwork which may have skewed test. Still showed pre. I figure at my age, 10 bloodtests over the years show prediabetes. Also have moderate stage 3 kidney disease. Had kidney probles starting age 11 so I will likely live until I die. I am 77 so it is a moot point. I just want paperwork from doctor saying I need home services but this young fool MD resident is trying to “make his bones” by using me as a guinea pig. Also mildly hypogenic fatty liver with normal liver blood tests. Right away discussion of statins, which can kill and have myriad side effects. I declined. I prefer nutrition over medication.
    Back to breast ultrasound. I declined mammo because of squeezing, dense breasts and a benign microcalcification biopsy several years ago. I was angry over a doctor threatening to drop me if I dod not do that biopsy; he dropped me anyway after biopsy!. I had a core needle and was angry about it afterward. I had two necessary surgeries for other things and dropped all medical care for 10 years. Now I need Medicaid to get help at home and am being held hostage to things I do not want to do because I need the MD to complete paperwork for Medicaid to cover services. I absolutely hate the doctor and clinic but getting a new doctor to do paperwork is unhelpful. They want to do tests when you get a new doctor. I am dropping out of medical care again.

    • Tatiana says:

      Oh How I hear you! My biggest pet peeve how much they want to test you and how little they make sense. I’m glad you wish to take control of your treatment because most people think doctors are gods and what they say it’s the law. If I were to believe in every recommendation I would be in so many pills “for the rest of my life” it’s unacceptable. It’s ok to say no if you believe you are wasting time and money. I always try to look for alternative treatments when possible unless they are strictly necessary. We sure don’t want to go back to the times pre-penicillin for sure. Keep on researching and check the list of doctors from your available insurance and check their reviews to see which ones at least show some care for their patients and you will find the right doctor for you. All the best and thank you for reading the article!

      • Noreen says:

        Tatiana,
        You have a great site and are offering a needed service. Today, hooray! My doctor phoned and agreed with me re the ultra and mammo and canceled. I can always decide to do something later if necessary. I want to put off and get other things completed. I used to act as advocate for other people ten years older than me concerning pain meds. To me, if one needs pain meds in their 80’s, if they are addicted, so what! They are not doing anything but trying to ameliorate pain. Cut them some slack, I say.

        • Tatiana says:

          So true! They had a long life and deserve a little break. Glad to hear that things are looking up for you too. Thank you for your encouraging words. My hope is that a lot of people get the best possible info to get their cases going and on to a win. Cheers!

  24. Tricia says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that you had a negative experience. In my opinion, it is your body and you have the right to accept or refuse any procedure. I wouldn’t be returning to that doctor/clinic and I hope you’re able to find a place that is more accepting of your needs.

    • Tatiana says:

      Thank you for your understanding. It is a tricky subject because we have heard these recommendations for so long that when you try to defy the status quo people just don’t understand. Science evolves and we should too. Thank you for your comment. All the best!

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