Saturday, February 18, 2012

I heard you talking about thyroid cancer and mammograms

I discussed this with the tech at Magruder when I had my mammogram a few months ago.
And just did some online searching on the issue.
I found this article from the American Thyroid association. 
this section addresses the issue of radiation and thyroid cancer:

Exposure of the thyroid to radiation causes thyroid cancer insusceptible patients, especially if the exposure occurred as a child. Manyyears ago (ie, in the 1940s and 1950s), radiation exposure included Xraytreatments for acne, inflamed tonsils, adenoids, lymph nodes, or anenlarged thymus gland. X-rays also were used to measure foot sizes inshoe stores. Currently, X-ray exposure is usually limited to treatment ofserious cancers such as Hodgkin's disease (cancer of the lymph nodes).Routine X-ray exposure (eg, dental X-rays, chest X-rays, mammograms)does not cause thyroid cancer.

this article from Harvard School of Public Health discusses differences in cancer rates between the sexes:
thyroid cancer was the only one of 13 types in a subgroup studied, that affects women more than men. For the most part,
Analyzing cancer rates alone, the researchers found that, for nearly half of the 35 cancers examined, men were struck by the disease twice as often as women.
and here's some more info from Massachusetts General Hospital:
these points are especially interesting:
-Although the incidence of thyroid cancer has been increasing in females, it has also been increasing with the same rapidity among males. Unless men have been sneaking in at night to have mammograms, mammography has had nothing to do with the increasing incidence of thyroid cancer.-The risk of x-rays causing cancer of the thyroid is directly related to the age at which the individual is exposed. Children and teenagers have the greatest risk from thyroid irradiation. The risk for women ages 40 and above, even from high doses of radiation, is extremely low and may be nonexistent.-A thyroid shield can slip down into the field of view of a mammogram, blocking some of the breast tissue and necessitating a repeat mammogram. It has been estimated that this might occur 20 percent of the time.
Just some things to consider.

I'm not sure where you heard about mammograms causing thyroid cancer: one post said it was mentioned on the Dr Oz show. I don't believe much of what I hear on TV, especially from celebrity doctors. Are they giving research data? Or just looking for good ratings.

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