I received the following letter from a patient.
" I am sure you are already up to date."
Next part printed, most likely from an e-mail.
Precautions re: Mammograms and Dental Xrays/ A Useful Warning
On Wednesday, Dr. Oz had a show on the fastest growing cancer in women, thyroid cancer. It was a very interesting program and he mentioned that the increase could possibly be related to the use of dental x-rays and mammograms. He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for your dental x-ray there is a little flap that can be lifted up and wrapped around your neck. Many dentist don't bother to use it. Also, there is something called a "thyroid guard' for use during mammograms. By coincidence, I had my yearly mammogram yesterday. I felt a little silly, but I asked about the guard and sure enough, the technician had one in a drawer. I asked why it wasn't routinely used. Answer "I don't know. You have to ask for it." Well, if I hadn't seen the show, how would I have known to ask?
" Since I have had breast cancer and many, many, many dental xrays and mammograms; I thought I would make you aware."
I received this letter from a patient who was concerned regarding dental x-rays. She had had breast cancer and was now obviously concerned regarding thyroid cancer because Dr. Oz had suggested that a rise in thyroid cancer was related to dental x-rays and mammograms.
First thing I assured my patient that in our office it is standard practise to use a thyroid collar to cut down any radiation to the thyroid area. Of course patients have x-rays done on a routine basis and may not even be aware that a thyroid shield is being placed along with the regular shield.
Relating back to the show, I do feel that Dr. Oz's comments regarding the rise in thyroid cancer among women being related to mammograms and dental x-rays was a bit more of a "wow" factor than substance. If you watch the video he did not say that it was related but that it may be related to dental x-rays and mammograms. I quite understand the regular individual watching this, his jaw dropping and as their jaw drops him or her saying "wow!" The next thing that happens is that e-mails start to fly, if you know 10 people then have them send it to 10 people and you know how it goes. This is what keeps TV shows on the air but to Dr. Oz's credit he did run another show with experts giving rebuttal.
The comments in rebuttal were:
1) The increase in thyroid cancer is also occurring in men and since men are not having routine mammograms then there would be no connection between mammograms and an increase in thyroid cancer. The comment was also made that thyroid collars are not given to women during a mammogram unless they ask for one because the shield may distort the image taken and may result in doing the mammogram a second time thereby doubling the actual dose of radiation.
2) In dentistry we do place thyroid collars for protection. Also I can tell you, as was stated on the show, that in dentistry, in the last decades, we are using faster speed film and digital x-rays which have reduced the radiation drastically so that we would expect to see actually less thyroid cancer if dental x-radiation was the cause.
So my feeling on Dr. Oz's comments is that there is a lot more hype than substance here. When you have a daily show, you need a lot of the wow to maintain interest and there was a lot of that here. I have links to his videos here and you can decide for yourself. Bear in mind that these are not the full shows but this is what was available on their website and the time for a meaningful discussion is always limited by the length of the show.
When I said I would be writing comments on Dr. Oz, my wife said "ooooh, are you sure?' I said "yes!" She then said to me "just so you should know. There are 3 people that you just don't mess with. One is Oprah, two is Dr. Phil and Three is Dr. Oz."
Accordingly, I humbly submit this blog and Dr. Oz does do a good job bringing health issues forward.