Since completing tx in March '08 (chemo 8/07 - 1/08; rads in Feb. & mid Mar. '08), I got my yearly mammogram in 4/08and yesterday, 4/09. Yesterday they took 2 extra pictures because I felt a small lump that I was concerned about (after that they did ultrasound; the lump turned out to be nothing to worry about); and 5 months ago, 11/08, I had another mammogram (I forget how many picutres--more than one) after a biopsy (which also turned out to be normal). I get the yearly mammos in NY through my surgeon's office, but the biopsy was done at my oncologist's hospital in NJ. So although I send my records back and forth between my surgeon and my oncologist, I don't know that the radiologist in NY yesterday knew about the mammo after the biopsy in NJ in November. To sum up, since my 4/08 mammo, I had a mammo (several pictures taken in 11/08 after biopsy and now my 4/09 mammo with 2 extra pictures plus the usual 4--Am I getting too much radiation?
I'm not looking to blame anybody or make an issue. I just want to know if I put myself at greater risk of future illness with all these x-rays to the breast. In the future, I will make sure that my radiologists in NJ and NY are aware of the whole picture (so to speak).
FYI-- In 5/07, I got dx IDC, 1 cm, grade 3, e.r.+, negative lymph nodes.
Thanks so much for your help. Sincerely, Laurie
Exposing patients to radiation while performing X rays, CT scans, and mammograms, and also radioactivity exposure via PET scans is a huge point of discussion among oncologists, radiologists, and other doctors.
There is no doubt that as radiation exposure increases, the risk of adverse events increases. Patients who require frequent or repeated scans are naturally at a higher risk.
However, the majority of medical opinion at this point of time is that the benefits of early detection of recurrence of cancer outweighs the theoretical risks of radiation exposure. Thus regular scans are important in follow-up.
Another relevant fact is that newer digital mammography machines cause lesser radiation exposure during imaging than older machines.
All the best, and God Bless!
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