Study details risks of certain nuclear-based breast imaging exams


The New York Times (8/24, D5, Rabin) reports that, according to a study published Aug. 24 in the journal Radiology, “certain nuclear-based breast imaging exams that involve injecting radioactive material into patients expose women to far higher doses of radiation than regular mammography, increasing their risk of cancer in vulnerable organs beyond the breast, like the kidneys, bladder or ovaries.” For example, “a single breast-specific gamma imaging or positron emission mammography exam exposes patients to a risk of radiation-induced cancer that is comparable to the risk from an entire lifetime of yearly mammograms starting at 40.” A second study published in the same issue of Radiology found that “overall, the United States population’s annual radiation dose from medical procedures increased sevenfold between 1980 and 2006.”