The Thyroid Shield Controversy: Cancer Fears Overblown

Recently, an episode of Dr. Oz that linked the increase in thyroid cancer to imaging and biopsy procedures prompted an increase in requests for thyroid shields from women undergoing mammograms. The cancer risk scare appears to be caused by a chain e-mail that was created by a viewer after the episode aired. The public outcry has reached the point that the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging have issued a joint statement to try to overcome fears of high radiation risk from mammography.

Here in our own offices, we have women showing up for mammograms bringing their own thyroid shields. This is silly – the amount of scatter radiation is so small as to be hardly measurable with very sensitive instruments.

If you take a thyroid shield to a mammogram, to be logically consistent, you should be wearing it all the time – on any airplane flight, when sunbathing… the list goes on!