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Mammograms and Safety

Posted at: 11/29/2012 3:31 PM
Updated at: 11/29/2012 5:31 PM

For years, experts have debated whether the dose of radiation from a mammogram is dangerous to organs and tissues near the breast. A new study now suggests the answer is "no."

Mammograms are X-ray pictures of the breast used to find tumors and to tell the difference between those that are cancerous and non-cancerous.

Millions of mammograms are done every year, and now a study presented to the Radiological Society of North America finds they are safe.  The study says that the radiation dose to areas of the body near the breast is very low and does not present an increased risk of cancer.

This finding is significant because the number of thyroid cancer diagnoses in women nearly doubled from 2000 to 2008, raising the suspicion that mammography might be involved -- but experts say -- not to worry.

In fact, the study suggests that even the use of thyroid shields during mammography is unnecessary.