To Scan or Not to Scan:
A Really Tough Call to Make
When you think about “radiation,” you might think of glowing green radioactive stones, like the uranium used in atomic bombs. But ionizing radiation is all around us. It’s in the soil, the environment, our homes, and it’s even blasting down on us from the sun’s cosmic rays (and your exposure is higher if you’re up in a plane).
Ionizing radiation is a high energy wave (consisting of highly energized particles) emitted by unstable, radioactive atoms. As these atoms decay, they send out energy powerful enough to knock electrons off other molecules lying in their path.
If a molecule that gets in the way of this blast is a part of living tissue, the radiation will mutate, damage, or even kill the cell. This causes many types of cancer, including leukemia – and makes cancer worse if it’s already present.
I’ve been concerned for a long time that medical professionals rely on radiation so heavily for diagnostic scans like x-rays, CT and PET scans. The use and overuse of scans presents a huge problem for anyone concerned about cancer. This publication has already been on record for a long time opposing routine mammograms (See Issue #218.)
Besides the energy rays they blast through the body, some scans also require the patient to inhale, swallow, or inject radioactive materials.
Medical professionals insist that the radiation used in medical imaging is “minimal,” and that the “benefits greatly outweigh the risks.” Does that make you feel comfortable blasting vulnerable parts of your body with radiation? Me either.
So how much radiation are we really talking here? And how do you know whether the benefits of medical imaging truly do outweigh the risks? Find out the facts you need to know to make the right decision for you or your loved ones. . .