Minimizing radiation from x-rays and mammograms
Our Beloved Family:
One of the fastest rising forms of cancer involves the thyroid gland. Located in the neck region, the thyroid gland is crucial to regulating weight, sleep, body temperature, and countless other biological functions. Every function in the body is guided by hormones through an interdependent network of glands, and when one of them is out of balance, they’re all out of balance. A healthy body requires healthy glands and balanced hormones, but many things from diet to lifestyle choices can upset this balance and expose the thyroid to disease.
One of those exposure risks is radiation from x-rays, specifically of the chest, neck or head region. The risk often comes from routine medical procedures we take for granted like dental x-rays and mammograms. Perhaps this is why thyroid cancer has increased much more in women than men because women regularly receive both these procedures on a yearly basis.
When receiving a head, neck or chest x-ray for any reason, always ask the x-ray technician for a neck or thyroid guard. This is an additional accessory that’s not part of the x-ray protection vest that is draped across the chest. It’s a separate collar made of the same protective material that covers the neck and protects the thyroid gland from ambient radiation. This is particularly the case with mammograms. In fact, a patient told me that she’d just heard how important it was to protect her thyroid the day before she went for her mammogram.
“By coincidence, I had my mammogram the day after hearing the news about protecting my thyroid,” she explained. “I felt a little strange, but went ahead and asked the technician about using the neck guard. Sure enough, she turned around and pulled one out of a drawer. I asked why it wasn’t routinely used. She answered, ‘I don’t know. You have to ask for it.'”
That’s part of the problem. How are people supposed to know to ask for something they aren’t even aware is available? With dental x-rays, the neck guard is often attached to the protection apron that the patient wears. All that’s needed is for you to ask the dental hygienist to unsnap the guard and flip it up into place.
When it comes to dental x-rays, always make sure they’re absolutely necessary. Many dentists like to take yearly x-rays, mostly because insurance companies consider them as preventative care and pay for them without question. Be sure to talk to your dentist about whether such x-rays are really necessary and the possibility of having them less frequently, especially if you don’t have an underlying dental condition that needs to be monitored regularly. In the case of mammograms, consider the alternative of getting a thermogram instead, which uses no radiation and identifies tumors and cancerous activity through heat-sensitive thermography. You can learn more about the benefits of thermograms in this free digital version of MegaZEN Volume 4. If you want a print copy, you can also contact our office and we’d be glad to send you a copy of the article.
Love, Light, and Clarity in the Month Ahead,
Dr. Habib Sadeghi
Protect your future and get low radiation dental x-rays today.