I recently had a run-in with my local hospital when they insisted that I have a mammogram before they would scan the cysts in my breasts or aspirate them, or do anything else. As I don't believe in unnecessary mammograms - I think they are probably cancer-inducing and hurt - I declined, came back home and referred to your book What Doctors Don't Tell You to see if I was mad. There is a lot of information there, but a lot of it refers to the early and mid-1990s. I wondered if there were any updates or anything that would change that viewpoint.
Incidentally, I am bedevilled with large, painful cysts and no one - no GP or any specialist in several London hospitals has any understanding of them. Hospitals don't want to aspirate them as they are not cancer. They are painful and I wish I could find out more.
Yes, there are a few articles around about coffee, tea and chocolate, but I don't see them backed by research or any bigger understanding of the issue.
In the past, I have given up all these foods and dairy products for up to three months, but it makes no difference. - DB, London
WDDTY replies: The conclusions about mammograms in What Doctors Don't Tell You the book are in fact strengthened by current research. Some countries are questioning the wisdom of using them at all for screening as they not only show no survival benefit, but are a positive danger. Although a recent study favours mammograms for younger women, the weight of evidence continues to show no survival benefit for healthy women. Indeed, the high-dose radiation may contribute to cancer. Mammograms may be useful once you've found a suspicious lump, but a safer alternative in the right hands is ultrasound scanning, which doesn't expose you to ionising radiation.
As for benign breast cysts, check out our Alternatives column in WDDTY vol 6 no 11, which contains many proven remedies such as evening primrose oil.