Cancer Risk from Medical Imaging

It is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as eating a nutritious diet of whole foods, getting seven to eight hours of sleep, committing to daily exercise, etc. for cancer and other disease prevention. However, Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy from Center from New Medicine says that radiation exposure from medical imaging is a growing danger when it comes to cancer.  Medical Imaging, such as dental x-rays, mammograms, bone mineral density tests, and CT scans has increased 600% since 1980, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society.

In 2009, Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) presented at its annual meeting that the low-dose radiation from annual mammography screening significantly increases breast cancer risk in women with a genetic or familial predisposition to breast cancer. Also in December 2011, the British Medical Journal, December 2011 stated that mammograms indeed have ´caused net harm´. James Raftery, lead researcher added, “The default is to assume that screening must be good; catching something early must be good, but if a woman has an unnecessary mastectomy, or chemotherapy or radiation, that’s a tragedy. It is difficult to balance the gain of one life against 200 false positives and 10 unnecessary surgeries”

In terms of CT scan, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center stated in the December 2011 issue of the Journal, Radiation Research, that animal model suggest CT scan increases risk of cancer for people with cancer susceptibility genes. In 2008, moreover, the federally-supported U.S. Preventive Services Task Force decided against endorsing CT screening for colorectal cancer due to concerns that investigating all the abnormalities that CT scans turn up could outweigh the cancer-prevention benefits.

You may need to reconsider about taking dental X-ray too. Dr. Elizabeth Claus. a neurosurgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Yale University School of Medicine at New Haven, conducted research about dental X-ray and cancer. She found that” patients who reported having yearly bitewing exams were up to two times more likely to develop meningioma. Patients who reported having another type of dental X-ray called a panorex –  which provides a panoramic broad view of the teeth, sinuses and jaw – were almost five times more likely to develop a meningioma, compared to controls. Those who got that exam yearly had an overall risk three times greater to develop the tumor.”

I am not a medical doctor and not suggesting that you should avoid all medical imaging; however, you can always discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your doctor. When it comes to a yearly mammogram, you can try breast thermography to screen for breast cancer. Thermography can detect cancer years before it appears in a mammogram. Thermal imaging is not painful, non-invasive and quick. For CT scan, Co-author of the “Radiation Research” article, Kenneth T. Wheeler, Ph.D. commented that “for those patients who have a suspicious lesion on a CT scan or have a known cancer susceptibility gene,  it may be more appropriate to be imaged using a magnetic resonance scanner (MRI) instead of a CT scanner to avoid any possible additional cancer risk”


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