Breasts, radiation and risks

Another exploration of the topic of overuse of radiation tests. This time the author is talking about nuclear-based breast imaging exams.

the excerpt below is from The New York Times written by Roni Caryn Rabin

When Dr. Deborah Rhodes orders a diagnostic test that involves radiation, she consults a chart in her office that lists the amount of radiation exposure from each test. She considers the patient’s total past exposure, and then carefully weighs the risks and benefits of each test and any alternative approaches she can take.

Two new studies appearing in Tuesday’s issue of the journal Radiology suggest more physicians should take this approach. One study found that certain nuclear-based breast imaging exams that involve injecting radioactive material into patients expose women to far higher doses of radiation than regular mammography, increasing their risk of cancer in vulnerable organs beyond the breast, like the kidneys, bladder or ovaries.

Over all, the United States population’s annual radiation dose from medical procedures increased sevenfold between 1980 and 2006, a second paper reports.

“I’m a radiation phobe — I’ll come right out and say this,” said Dr. Rhodes, an internist at the Mayo Clinic who is doing research to develop screening technologies that require less radiation exposure to the patient. “I’m constantly monitoring radiation doses in my patients.”….

much more at Radiation, Risks Are Focus of Breast Screening Studies

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