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Wearing a thyroid guard during mammograms and dental x-rays may help protect you against thyroid cancer, which happens to be the fastest growing cancer among women. In addition, the rate of thyroid cancer in men is increasing.
Patients should request the use of a thyroid guard during x-ray procedures. Noted medical doctor, and talk show host, Dr. Oz, warned that repeated mammograms and dental x-rays contribute to the development of thyroid cancer, and recommends the use of thyroid guards. Moreover, the American Dental Association also recommends wearing thyroid guards during x-rays to reduce radiation exposure.
There is some concern among doctors that thyroid guards could obscure the view of mammograms in some patients. Patients and doctors will need to discuss this concern on an individual basis, but in most cases thyroid guards do not affect the mammogram screening. Minimizing radiation exposure is important for the prevention of cancer. It is a documented fact that radiation is cumulative and exposure is a risk factor for thyroid cancer.
A large number of dental and medical offices do not have thyroid shields. Ask in advance before scheduling an appointment to make sure they have thyroid guards available if you prefer to use one. During your appointment, do ask for a thyroid guard if the medical staff fails to offer you one. Do not worry about offending anyone; protecting your health by limiting exposure to radiation is the priority.
With the health care crisis in America at an all time high, more people are focusing on preventive care. Thyroid guards are one preventive measure against thyroid cancer, and at a cost of as little as $25 your doctor or dentist should be willing to purchase them. Reducing radiation exposure even in small doses is beneficial to your overall health.
Of course there are other steps you can take to prevent thyroid cancer, and other cancers as well. But a thyroid guard during x-rays is a great place to begin. As a patient, it is important to take personal responsibility for your health, and this means weighing the benefits and risks of all medical recommendations for yourself. Do the research, ask questions, and get 2nd and 3rd medical opinions. If you do not agree with your doctor's advice, do not be afraid to speak up. It is your body and doctors make mistakes all the time. You have a right to control the kind of care you receive.