Did you know that mammograms can increase your chance of developing breast cancer? Mammograms are routinely used as a screening tool for breast cancer. That means that, year after year, healthy women's breasts are exposed to cancer-causing radiation equivalent to about 1,000 chest x-rays. Additionally, the breasts are compressed tightly, which could lead to the spreading of malignant cells. I can maybe understand administering a mammogram if there is already a concern that the patient may have breast cancer. But to knowingly expose healthy women to radiation just doesn't make sense to me, especially when there is thermography. Thermography uses an infrared camera to detect heat emissions from the breast, which can aid in early detection of abnormal changes in breast tissue. Thermography is based on temperature changes detected from increased blood vessel circulation and metabolic changes associated with a tumor's growth. It is about 96% accurate in detecting breast cancer in women, compared to mammography which is 40-60% accurate in premenopausal women. While mammograms can locate tumors once they contain about 4 billion cancer cells, thermography detects abnormalities in physiology that can show up in the future as a tumor, alerting you that maybe you should make some dietary and lifestyle changes before it is detectable on a mammogram.
After I found out that I had thyroid cancer, and had my thyroid removed (which I regret), my doctors recommended that I complete a radioactive iodine procedure, which would detect any thyroid cancer left in my body. I opted not to expose my body to that radiation, and did a thermogram of my thyroid area instead. Now, I'm not 100% sure how accurate thermography is for the thyroid, because there just isn't enough literature about it. I know that it is about 96% accurate for breast cancer but I'm not sure for thyroid cancer. However, the chiropractor and doctor who administered and read my scan said that it is very accurate for detecting thyroid cancer as well. And I have read a couple of blogs about people detecting their thyroid cancer through thermography, which would not have been found on a thyroid ultrasound. Thankfully the thermogram of my thyroid area was completely blue and symmetrical, not showing any abnormal heat patterns or asymmetry. So, something to think about if you have had thyroid cancer, or are concerned you have a thyroid disorder.
Unfortunately, the medical community (mainly the radiology community) does not want to admit that thermography is an effective screening tool, and therefore insurance usually does not cover it.
Before I was a mom I was a teacher, and I was pretty hard on my students' parents. They didn't know that I was hard on them, but in my head I made a lot of unfair assumptions. I assumed that if one of my students was energetic and had a difficult time sitting still it was because his parents must let him watch TV all day, which was over-stimulating his brain. And if one of my students had a speech delay it was because she wasn't exposed to enough language at home. If a child was overly sensitive and cried easily it was because there was a situation at home that was emotionally draining. If a child at the grocery store threw a tantrum it was because the parents never disciplined. If a baby had a bald spot on the back of his head it was because he was rarely held. If a baby had dirt between his fingers it was because his parents were unclean and didn't bathe him sufficiently. And if I visited someone's home and it was messy, it was because they were lazy. Now that I am a mom, and have also cared for close friends' children, I am able to look at situations from a different perspective and give parents more of a break.
Not to brag, but I was pretty much the perfect child. I was calm, content, and eager to help. As an adult I assumed (I've gotta stop assuming) that if a child had good parents she would turn out just like me when I was a child. Now I realize that all children are born with very unique personalities and circumstances. Some children are more energetic than others, some are more sensitive than others, some are more curious than others, some are more persistent than others. I now know that even children who are exposed to a lot of language can be late talkers. A friend of mine has a 14 month old who hasn't said her first word, even though my friend constantly speaks, reads, and sings to her. Maybe it's because she stays at home with her baby all day and is very aware of what her baby wants and needs based on non-verbal cues. Some children, on the other hand, can be exposed to very little language and vocabulary, but become early talkers. All kids move at their own pace. I also now know that if I see a child misbehaving at the store it could be because he didn't have a nap that day, because he has autism or another disability, or because of his diet (sugar, artificial colors, allergenic foods can all cause misbehavior). It could also be that this was the very first time the child had ever misbehaved in public and the parents, caught off guard, didn't know how to respond. I also now know that not every baby with a bald spot is rarely held. Some babies just have more delicate hair than others and some move their heads more vigorously than others. I also now realize that kids (especially the adventurous ones) just get dirty. And babies get dirt in between their fingers. Big deal. Their fingers are short, chubby, and get slobbered on all day. I also now understand that just because someone's house is messy when I visit doesn't mean that they're lazy. Maybe they were in the middle of de-cluttering, maybe the parent has an energy-zapping condition that I'm unaware of, or maybe they just stay home with their children all day long making memories.
It now irks me when I hear moms make assumptions and judgments about other moms. It happens all the time. It's one thing if you know the family well and you are making a judgment in order to help. But to simply make a judgment when you really don't know the full story is very unfair. So basically what I'm saying is, let's try giving people a break more often and remind ourselves that we all have our own unique situations and families. And until we've walked a mile in their shoes let's just hush a little bit.
Pluggedin.com has been a favorite website of mine even before I had kids. If I want to know about a specific movie before watching it this site will tell me about any offensive elements it may contain. For example, if I wanted to see the movie The Hangover (which I never would) the review on pluggedin.com would tell me specifically about the spiritual, sexual, and violent content, the crude or profane language (F word is used 70+ times in The Hangover, by the way), drug and alcohol content, and other negatives. I would then know for sure, after reading this review, that I never ever want to watch The Hangover.
Pluggedin.com is a great website for parents. There have been times when I wanted to show my kids a "kid movie," but wasn't sure if it contained anything scary or controversial. For example, The Cat in the Hat is rated PG, and many would assume it's a kid movie. But after reading the pluggedin.com review I now know that there are many sexual innuendos. There is also plenty of alluding to profane language, like "a snot-nosed son-of-a- [Conrad’s mother walks in] wonderful woman," and the cat alluding to an acronym that spells out the S word. So never mind that movie.
Pluggedin.com also has music, TV, and game reviews. I hope you check out their website!