What is ionizing radiation?
Ionizing radiation can be found during a variety of medical and occupational practices, smoke detectors used to disinfect various types of medical instruments and blood. We are discussing mainly the source of ionizing radiation in medical or radiological facilities so our main source of ionizing radiation is the use of medical diagnostic or x-ray exams.
Main Source of Ionizing radiation:
- Medical radiological procedures:
- CT or CAT (computed tomography) scans
- Fluoroscopy, Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the interior of an object
- Sources of gamma-ray emissions
- Adionucleotide research
- Nuclear medicine procedures such as bone, thyroid, and lung scans
- Prior to 2013, backscatter X-ray screening machines led to exposures in airports.
The link between ionizing radiation and breast
- Studies show that radiologists or radiological technicians who started their jog before the 1940s were at an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Most of the studies disclosed that the level of risk from radiation exposure before 1950 was found much higher than today’s radiological technologists resulting that the increased mortality rate was found due to breast cancer on the radiologists who began working before 1950 and worked for longer than 5 years.
Their multiple studies have been conducted to analyze the link between radiation exposure and breast cancer and all the studies strongly suggest that frequent exposure to the high dose of ionizing radiation is responsible for increased risk for breast cancer later in life, who has exposed during their childhood and adolescence.
Computed tomography (CT) Scans:
CT Scan is also one of the main medical diagnostic procedures that use significantly higher doses of radiation. During the CT Exam individual receives radiation doses equivalent to 30 to 442 chest x-rays. One study shows that 0.67 of women aged 20 or less and 0.37% of women aged above 20 at the time of their first CT Scan will subsequently develop the risk of cancers including breast cancer
Computed tomography (CT) Scans:
CT Scan is also one of the main medical diagnostic procedures that use significantly higher doses of radiation. During the CT Exam individual receives radiation doses equivalent to 30 to 442 chest x-rays. One study shows that 0.67 of women aged 20 or less and 0.37% of women aged above 20 at the time of their first CT Scan will subsequently develop the risk of cancers including breast cancer.
Recent studies indicate that mammography resulted in higher damage to DNA than predicted due to the lower-energy x-rays provided by it. Studies show that women who had frequently scanned for mammography for longer than 5 years prior to diagnosis and started at the early age of 35 had a higher risk of breast cancer.
Multiple researchers discovered that the most common cancers caused by radiation therapy are sarcomas (cancers of the connective tissue) and Angiosarcoma (in the inner lining of blood vessels and lymph vessels). Researchers also discovered that mainly those women who are long-term smokers are diagnosed with breast cancer after radiation therapy, it may also increase the risk of lung cancer
Male breast cancer:
One study headed by D B Thomas PMID: 8123783 DOI: 10.1007/BF01830721 subjected Ionizing radiation and breast cancer in men (United States) discovered a strong link between ionizing radiation exposure and Breast cancer in males. The study submitted strong evidence that the risk of breast cancer increased only from 20 to 35 years after initial x-ray diagnostic examination or radiation exposure if they were exposed prior to 1963.
Who are at higher risk of ionizing radiation?
- Doctors, Nurses, Radiologist or Radiological technician who works in medical x-ray environment for a long period of
- time regularly in their daily job, they are significantly at a higher risk of Breast cancer due to frequent doses of ionizing radiation.
- In children and adolescents medical or accidental radiation exposure seriously affects adults which leads to a greater risk for breast cancer later in life.
- Mainly those women who received CT angiography at their pre-menopausal age have been found
to cause a significant increase in the risk of developing breast cancer.
Tip for radiation Safety to reduce the breast cancer
- If you are a radiological professional use the right radiation protective accessories like X-ray Lead Apron with sufficient amount lead equivalency and also use other radiation proactive accessories like Lead Thyroid Collar, Lead Mask, Lead Goggles which will protect you from harmful radiation exposure.
- Discuss with your medical care team whether or not X-rays or CT scans are
- necessary and whether there are radiation-free alternatives. If you decide to seek out a second opinion, request that the original screening information be shared, to minimize the need for a second set of exposures if they are not necessary.
- Workers should follow recommended health and safety guidelines when working with any type of radiation, whether administering the radiation or taking part in a procedure where radiation is used.