bOObs: The War On Women's Breasts

bOObs reveals women’s lives destroyed by mammograms — radiation-induced cancer, metastases, unneeded treatments like mastectomies — and how greed has kept a safer diagnostic from use.

Genre: Documentary

Length: 26:56

Pay Per View

4 out of 5 stars

Producer/s : Megan S Smith,

Director/s : Megan S Smith, 

Writer/s : Megan S Smith, 

Actor/s :


The war on women's breasts

For years, Megan Smith operated at the interface of American science and government. A qualified biologist and environmentalist, she promoted biomass energy. She’s also been a professional musician and painter. One smart, multitalented, renaissance lady.

Two tragedies overtook her. First, she lost her husband to cancer. Then she contracted Lyme disease, a bacterial infection spread by cattle ticks to humans. Alternative therapies worked for her when conventional drugs had failed, and this led her to question received medical wisdom.

Boobs is her provocative and disturbing film about mammograms, the technique of breast x-rays to find cancers. The procedure delivers one hundred times the radiation of a normal chest x-ray, and actually causes more illness than it helps cure. It misses some cancers, and falsely identifies others triggering intensive treatment – biopsy, chemo, radiotherapy, mastectomies. A “watch and wait” might be a better course of action, including for three women whose painful stories we hear.

Having undermined mammography, Smith looks at less invasive techniques. Like ultrasound (as in baby scans), and thermography (a simple camera that detects heat given off by cancer cells). Together, they are cheaper, twice as accurate, and work years earlier than mammograms. Early detection leads to early gentler measures to reverse cancer growth (diet, massage, exercise), rather than drastic operations.

Strictly speaking this is polemic, not documentary, with no balancing arguments. Maybe there are none. Accusing studies of manipulating data should be backed up by something more than asserting that the studies were funded by the corporations whose findings they support.

The film is very watchable, with articulate talking heads, and sections punctuated by intertitles, ironic horror screams, and photonegatives like a Dalek extermination. Megan Smith is on a mission for more informed patients exercising more choice, and to change ingrained clinical culture. Required viewing.