• Glenn Wilson

    What is the risk-benefit ratio of the cancers picked up by mammograms and the cancers caused by mammograms?

    Dr. Greger: Over the last few decades, our radiation exposure has nearly doubled, thanks almost exclusively to medical sources, such as CT scans. We’ve known that higher-dose radiation, like CT scans and angiograms, can cause breaks in our DNA, but now we know that mammograms can, too. You can find X-ray induced DNA damage in white blood cells drawn from women right after her mammogram.

    That’s amazing they can find evidence of DNA breaks; I mean, how much blood is there in the breast in the first place? And then you squeeze it out during the procedure, and then it mixes with the unexposed blood from the rest of the body, and you can still pick up the DNA damage circulating throughout her system. So, what they found “underestimates” the DNA damage in the breast tissue itself.

    But, doctors tell women, “There is nothing to worry about.” Just a few extra cases of breast cancer are caused by mammograms. Wait; what? Mammograms causing breast cancer? Yes. The “risk of radiation-induced breast cancer” from modern, low-dose digital mammograms depends on how often you get screened, and at what age you start. “For a [group] of 100 000 women…screened annually from age 40 to 55 years and [every other year until] age 74…, it is predicted that there will be 86 cancers induced and 11 deaths due to radiation-induced breast cancer.” Meaning they estimate 11 of those women will die from breast cancer that they would never have gotten if they decided not to get mammograms—not expose themselves to that radiation. They even calculated the lifetime risk of developing a radiation-induced breast cancer after just getting a single mammogram.

    Continue at NutritionFacts: Can Mammogram Radiation Cause Breast Cancer?

    Maybe you prefer to read the transcript instead of watching this video? To see the full transcript or links to cited sources go to the link above, then scroll below the video and click on View Transcript or Sources Cited. This is part seven of a 14 part series. Other videos in this series are listed in the Doctor's Note below the video.

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