In this day and age, we should be working to expose people to less radiation — not more.
But whatever image it conjures up in your mind, it creates a much sharper image on the computer screen — one doctors claim can help them better detect cancer.
Turns out they’re not the best judges of their own skills, because it bumps the accuracy up by only a very small amount — 7 percent, mostly in the form of fewer false positives.
Don’t get me wrong: A false positive can give a woman the scare of a lifetime, not to mention weeks of unnecessary stress. I’m all for reducing the number of false positives — but not at the expense of giving everyone double the amount of cancer-causing radiation.
After all, what’s a small decrease in false positives worth when you’re talking about a guaranteed increase in the number of cancers caused by the screenings?
Already, regular mammograms cause cancer in about 1 out of every 1,000 women screened. That may not sound very big, but it adds up fast when you screen 48 million women every year in the United States alone.
Now, think of how much faster those numbers will rise if you double the radiation used in each mammogram.
That’s unacceptable to me — especially when there are safe and proven alternatives that use no radiation at all, including MRIs and ultrasound. You won’t hear about these techniques from the pink ribbon campaigns, so speak to a holistic doctor instead.