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radiation from mammograms radiation from mammograms

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  #1  
Unread 07-14-2002, 11:30 PM
radiation from mammograms

Just thought i would share an experience I had. Was sent for a mammogram. I said the last one had been difficult to read and the tech. ended up taking 8 (!) xrays. This time I said she could only have 4. She said okay and turned up the dial on her machine.(!!) Later I was reading that you should insist they leave the dial on the lowest setting possible, 0.1 or 0.2. to avoid overexposure. Also that studies in Europe show results are just as good when they only take 2 xrays, not 4 like Americans do.

Our bodies accumulate the radiation so it builds up over time. One study estimates that xrays GIVE cancer to 788 women a year. No one knows how much radiation a particular woman can tolerate before she gets cancer. Mammograms do not distinguish a cancerous lump from a benign one.

Women over 50 do benefit from routine mammogram screening but the National Cancer Institute no longer recommends routine mammograms for women under 50. I found this under "Cancer" in The New Ourselves, Growing Older Book.

Summary, tell that technician to keep the rads at 0.1 or 0.2 if all possible.

Judy
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  #2  
Unread 07-15-2002, 03:48 PM
radiation from mammograms

JUDY,
I AGREE WITH YOU 100%. I AND ALL MY FEMALE FRIENDS ALSO WOULD LIKE TO KNOW JUST WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY SQUEEZE YOUR BREAST SOOOO HARD YOU COULD CRY. THIS TOO CAN DO DAMAGE, I THINK!!!.
THANKS FOR SHARING THIS WITH US.
  #3  
Unread 07-15-2002, 05:24 PM
radiation from mammograms

s Judy

I think the controversy about mammograms is almost as bad as the HRT mess. Every month there is something new that contradicts the old!
Mammograms surely serve a good purpose. I thought it was a screening by age 40, then one every other year till age 50, then yearly.
Women who had or have ovarian cancer are at higher risks for breast cancer. So we should probably have yearly mammograms, regardless of age, after an ovarian cancer diagnosis. Likewise, women with breast cancer are at a higher risk for ovarian cancer. Sad, but true.
My own mammograms always seem to require extra pictures with an extra squeeze put on!!!! Ouch. The time is drawing near for me. And I think I will question her about the machine setting this time. Thanks.

karenann
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  #4  
Unread 07-16-2002, 08:59 AM
mammography compression

The overall function of compression is to decrease the thickness of the breast, bringing the breast structures closer to the film and increase the radiographic contrast. There are many advantages to a tighter squeeze, such as:

1. Reduced magnification (increases the resolution of the image)
2. Reduced tissue thickness (requires less kVp(kilovolage power) which in turn reduces scattered radiation and therefore increases the radiograpic contrast resulting in a clearer picture
3. Reduced radiation exposure (due to decreased thickness of tissue)
4. Reduced motion unsharpness (because the breast is completely immobilized)
5. Improved visualization of breast stuctures because they are spread out over a larger area.
6. More uniform film density (due to the flattening effect of compression permitting optimal exposure of the entire breast.

Mammography requires very high radiographic contrast and resolution so microcalcifications as small as 0.1 mm or less can be seen.
It is possible that the adjustment made in the dial is to ensure proper technique for the thickness of breast tissue. If there is a change in position it is likely the thickness of the breast has changed, therefore resulting in a change of technical factors.

As for the amount of pictures the technologist takes probably depends on the size of your breasts. Larger breasts require more pictures to ensure that the whole breast will be visualized. And remember that little extra squeeze is reducing the radiation exposure to your breast and resulting in a clearer, more diagnostic film for the radiologist to read.


Karen
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