Mammogram Radiations May Increase Breast Cancer Risk In Women: BMJ Study
Mammograms have always been considered to be lifesavers, especially since it is one of the dependable tools that detect breast cancer in its early stages (an immense help in winning over the disease). But, a new study published in the BMJ journal, has found a chink in mammogram’s armor. According to the study, it is the radiation from the mammograms, which are a cause for concern, especially in case of women who are at enhanced risk due to gene mutation.
Women with BRCA gene mutations are at greater risk, since these genes fix DNA problems. Now, if these very genes are injured by radiation, the cancer risk for such women rises considerably, since their damaged genes may lose their DNA-repairing ability. Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, told The Hour,
This will raise questions and caution flags about how we treat women with (gene) mutations.
An MRI (magnetic imaging resonance imaging scan) test is recommended, especially for women under 30: since there is no radiation in MRI. As reported in TIME, the breast cancer screening tests, are best suitable for women post 50. Researchers are not in complete agreement with the benefit of the radiation-dependent tests on a younger population (women below 50).
So, for who is mammogram suitable? Certainly not for women who are high risk and carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene, otherwise, mammogram is a popular cancer detection tool for women post 40. Women who carry this mutation risk, should give some serious thought before they undergo a mammogram, since they are five times more at risk of developing cancer.
Though not rampant, the incidence of gene mutation is about one in 400. The TIME reports that Eastern European Jewish populations have genetically a higher occurrence of gene abnormalities.
Don’t let the breast cancer risk fears stop you from undergoing the mammogram. Talk to your doctor and discuss your fears. All you need to do is, be aware of the risks involved: be sure that the x-rays that you are being subjected to are the ones, which are what you really need.