Thyroid UK
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Protecting against thyroid cancer

Thyroid Cancer

On Wednesday, Dr. Oz had a show on the fastest growing cancer in women, Thyroid cancer. It was a very interesting program and he mentioned that The increase could possibly be related to the use of dental x-rays and mammograms.

He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for

Your dental x-rays there is a little flap that can be lifted up and wrapped Around your neck. Many dentists don't bother to use it.

Also, there is Something called a "thyroid guard" for use during mammograms.

By coincidence, I had my yearly mammogram yesterday. I felt a little silly, but I asked about the guard for the thyroid guard and sure enough, the technician had one In a drawer. I asked why it wasn't routinely used.

Answer: "I don't know. You have to ask for it." Well, if I hadn't seen the show, how would I have known to ask?

We need to pass this on to our daughters, nieces, mothers and all our

female friends and husbands tell your wives.

Please remember to ask for "Thyroid Guard" when you go for Dental X-ray or Mammogram.

Someone was nice enough to forward this to me. I hope you pass this on to your friends and family.

11 Replies

Thank you for sharing this very important info Sammorgar.

I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as a Thyroid Guard when I had multiple 360% X-rays and CT scans over this past 2 years.

J 🍀


I requested it in the London Nhs hospital when having chest X-rays. They refused. ☹️️

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excellent advice Samora. I always hitch up the lead shielding to cover my thyroid during a dental x-ray or mamogram, I cannot imagine how technicians can be so ignorant.


It's too late for me personally but I would like to think this information will help many others.

Thank you.


I've had a couple of x rays lately and asked for a guard...what a palaver! They looked at me like I was an idiot/hypochondriac and one nurse patronisingly told me that there was only a tiny bit of radiation emitted during a chest x ray. I am not argumentative at all but said I either had the guard or I wasn't having the x ray!

My thyroid causes me more problems than anything else so there was no contest!


Interesting but I know dental X-rays are the lowest dose of all X-rays. I asked for a guard when the dentist said I needed one he said they didn't have one and it was X-ray without or nothing I really dislike this dentist and should have said ok forget it but my tooth hurt so I gave in. It really is very poor practice. He stabs my teeth with his darn prodding device when o have gum disease - it hurts like hell. I must ask for another dentist in future.

This web site claims the programme was not correct about mammogram X-rays

I imagine it is a combination of factors and even if the X-rays are low dose it is still something extra and unnatural added to the mix that can cause cancer. 0ne of the early pioneers (I think it was Rontgen) was so astounded by them he spent many hours looking at his hand in an X-ray machine. Years later it was a festerous cancerous horror story they were used for everything and a lot of people like children who were given X-rays for ringworm developed cancers later in life as a direct result

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I asked about the need for thyroid shields and was told that the practice had one if requested but that requirement to use any short of shield depended on what type of x-ray machine was being used. The new machine my dentist was using emitted very low radioactivity which meant that neither patients nor dental assistants needed to use thyroid shields or lead aprons.


My dentist told me the rate was was low so I wouldn't need one, the funny thing is that he himself puts one on and then disappears while it happens!

I have a check up in March so I'll enquire about the guard as this thread about being able to request a shield is new to me.

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I'm sure a dentist or dental nurse exposed several times a day to x-ray background radiation is at more risk than a patient having an ex-ray once or twice a year. Nevertheless, it is your right to ask for a thyroid shield and to decline the x-ray if one isn't available.

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Yes, good point. He's a good dentist though. 😁


There is a lack of data to support the use of shields:

My dentist said that the current intel is that the shield scatters the (low dose) rays and is not proven to be protective.

Digital xrays are a whole different kettle of fish from the old fashioned kind (when the dose was much higher and they used an apron without fail). They currently limit the use of xrays in children, which is where the link between xrays and thyroid cancer is seen. Currently the nurse and dentist use no protection themselves and don't leave the room when taking xrays.

We know that radiotherapy (used to treat other cancers) as well as obesity contribute to the incidence of thyroid cancer. These are both common. The risk can also be inherited.


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