Should my thyroid be shielded when I have a mammogram?

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StaceyVitielloMD (Physician - Radiology (Verified) ) - 05 / 26 / 2012

This issue received media attention when Dr. Oz highlighted a study showing a significant increase in thyroid cancer in the U.S. since 1998, and he theorized that this is due to radiation exposure to the thyroid gland during annual mammography. It is highly unlikely that mammography can be blamed for this increased incidence, as it seen in both women AND men, and men do not receive screening mammograms. A recent paper estimated that the lifetime risk for thyroid cancer resulting from annual screening mammograms is 1 in 17.8 million.

At Montclair Breast Center, if a patient expresses concern about this issue, she is given the option of wearing a lead thyroid shield around her neck while her mammogram is performed. Rarely, this shield interferes with the mammogram picture, and the image has to be re-taken. But if the patient has peace of mind by protecting her thyroid, I believe that there is no legitimate reason that she shouldn’t be given the opportunity to do so.
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