Modifying physician behavior is hard thing to do but we have to do it and do it now in the radiation departments. How doctors and hospitals relate to and use radiation in both diagnosis and treatment of disease needs to come under full review and in most cases be brought to a halt.
Radiation at extremely low levels is a health hazard that medicine is not dealing with as shown by its use of dangerous levels of radiation in both its diagnosis and treatment of disease.
We have talked earlier about evacuation as a prudent response to radiation exposure so as to avoid ever-higher levels of nuclear contamination. In this chapter we call for doctors to abandon the use of CAT scans and mammograms as well as a complete abandonment of the use of radiation in cancer therapy. Dentists also must abandon at a minimum their three-dimensional scans that expose their patients to unnecessary extra radiation.
Federal agencies are obligated to rein in what it considers to be unjustified—and potentially dangerous—medical procedures. Problem is that no one is looking at how dangerous radiation is and how that danger takes on a new dimension in the post Fukushima world. Radiation coming from Japan is entering the environment on top of a vast field of pollution from heavy metals like mercury and a host of chemicals.
Radiation idiocy in hospitals has become routine and we have to dig to find if it is just greed or a natural reflex of arrogant doctors who just have no way to control their egos. In the middle of June 2011 we find out in the New York Times that hundreds of hospitals across the country needlessly exposed patients to radiation by scanning their chests twice on the same day, exposing them to massive amounts of radiation needlessly. Stupidity and radiation departments go together in the modern world of contemporary medicine.
Radiation hazards have been grossly underestimated because they have to be. If they were not then both the medical industry and the atomic power industry would be vulnerable to staggering liabilities.
Performing two scans in succession is rarely necessary, radiologists say, yet some hospitals were doing that more than 80 percent of the time for their Medicare chest patients, according to Medicare outpatient claims from 2008, the most recent year available. The rate is typically less than one percent, or in some cases zero, at major university teaching hospitals. Double scanning is also common among privately insured patients who tend to be younger.
Double scans expose patients to extra radiation while heaping millions of dollars in extra costs on an already overburdened Medicare program. A single CT scan of the chest is equal to about 350 standard chest X-rays, so two scans are twice that amount or as high as 884 X-rays. Every physician knows that radiation can lead to cancer but their insanity is so great that they continue to expose their patients even after the Fukushima accident, which should be telling doctors to slam on the breaks at radiation departments. The last thing patients need after being exposed to radiation from Fukushima is exposure to more radiation.
One study shows that the most common childhood leukemia is doubled with as few as three X-rays, and that even a single X-ray increases the chances of one type of leukemia.
CT scans deliver far more radiation than most of us have believed and may contribute to 29,000 new cancers each year, along with 14,500 deaths. A patient could get as much radiation from one CT scan as 74 mammograms or 442 chest X-rays. So we can see how brutal the use of CT scans are and how barbarous it is when double scans are used for no other reason than to increase what can be billed to Medicare or private patients.
Radiation is an invisible terror that works insidiously in the background so it is easy to hide its place in the deterioration of the public’s health. But slowly and steadily radiation hazards will destroy not only our health but that of our children and our children’s children and many more generations to come.
The review of that data found more than 200 hospitals that administered double scans on more than 30 percent of their Medicare outpatients. Officials at hospitals with high scan rates said radiologists ordered the extra chest scan figuring that more radiation (“information”) is better. This is sick for it is understood that only in very rare instances would two scans help a doctor distinguish between tangled blood vessels and a tumor.
Doctors continue to expose their patients to higher and higher levels of radiation but this must stop now or we will soon find doctors being accused of murder. Soaring numbers of kids are getting CT scans in emergency rooms. The number of ER visits nationwide in which children were given CT scans surged from about 330,000 in 1995 to 1.65 million in 2008—a five-fold increase.
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The number of kids’ ER visits didn’t increase measurably during the study, but the percentage of visits involving CT scans climbed from about one percent to almost six percent. Increases in CT scan use have also been found in adults and the cancer industry is desperately fighting to make sure women still get their mammograms even though they too expose women to dangerous radiation, the last thing they need in an increasingly radioactive world.
Doctors are lighting up their patients’ cells with high dosages of radiation. Researchers from the University of California at San Francisco studied the average dose of radiation delivered to over 1,000 patients who underwent 11 of the most common types of diagnostic CT scans.
They found that the amount of radiation delivered by each scan varied widely. Even when looking at the same type of scan on the same part of the body, one person’s radiation exposure could be as much as 13 times higher than another’s. The risk of developing cancer following one of these scans varied dramatically depending on how much radiation patients received as well as their age and sex.
Heidi Stevenson writes, “We all know that X-rays and other ionizing radiation can be harmful, but the risk has been casually dismissed as minor, certainly not great enough to avoid tests. However, a pair of recent studies documents that our children’s rate of cancer is dramatically affected by the tests.” The last thing patients need after being exposed to radiation from Fukushima is exposure to more radiation.
“Diagnostic X-rays and risk of childhood leukemia,” published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, studied 711 children diagnosed with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL) and 116 children diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) by age 14 to find whether there’s a connection between X-rays and leukemia. The addition of a third X-ray increased the chance of ALL by 1.22 to 2.79 times, depending on the type of cancer, with the greatest effect on B-cell ALL. This is particularly significant because leukemia accounts for one-third of all childhood cancers, and ALL accounts for 80 percent of childhood leukemia.
As early as 1955, Dr. Alice Stewart, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Oxford University, became aware of a sharp rise in leukemia among young children in England. By May 1957, after the analysis of 1,299 cases, half of which involved leukemia and the rest mainly brain and kidney tumors, her study had been completed. The data showed that babies born of mothers who had a series of X-rays of the pelvic region during pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop leukemia or another form of cancer, as those born of mothers who had not been X-rayed. Dr. Stewart concluded that the dose from diagnostic X-rays could produce a clearly detectable increase in childhood cancer when given during pregnancy.
The Wall Street Journal published a few years ago that, “A growing body of animal research suggests to some scientists that even minute traces of some chemicals, always assumed to be biologically insignificant, can affect such processes as gene activation and the brain development of newborns. An especially striking finding: It appears that some substances may have effects at the very lowest exposures that are absent at higher levels. Some scientists, many of them in industry, dismiss such concerns. But the new science of low-dose exposure is challenging centuries of accepted wisdom about toxic substances and rattling the foundation of environmental law.”
Jacqueline Williams, a research professor in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Rochester in New York, said, “radiation disrupts your cells and you die.” Death by radiation poisoning is the worst kind of death—a slow, suffering breakdown of cellular function at every level.
More Bad Radiological News
From the simplest X-ray to each particle of uranium we inhale from the air or drink from water, we have a problem.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first mammography device that generates 3-D images of the breast, potentially helping doctors to spot more cancerous tumors. The FDA says the new system increases the accuracy of diagnosis while doubling the radiation exposure for patients. Roughly 37 million women each year have a mammogram to check for signs of breast cancer even though every physician knows that radiation exposure increases ones risk for cancer. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women (after lung cancer). The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2005, about 211,240 women were diagnosed with breast cancer—and 40,410 died from the disease.
About half of all people with cancer are treated with radiation therapy,either alone or in combination with other types of cancer treatment. Radiation therapyuses ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Unfortunately it can kill you. Americans today receive far more medical radiation than ever before. The average lifetime dose of diagnostic radiation has increased sevenfold since 1980.
Treating or diagnosis of cancer with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation may sometimes cause tumors to spread. Tests in mice show that using either the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin or radiation raised levels of TGF-beta, which in turn helped breast cancer tumors spread to the lung.
The diagnostic device demonstrated a seven percent improvement in spotting cancerous tumors compared with traditional 2-D images. Approximately one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. The institute recommends women ages 40 and older expose themselves to cancer-provoking radiation (mammogram) every one to two years. Looking down the halls of time it is difficult to imagine how contemporary oncology will excuse itself to the future for using tests and treatments that cause cancer to diagnosis and treat it.
Babies born of mothers who had a series of X-rays of the pelvic region during pregnancy were nearly twice as likely to develop leukemia or another form of cancer as those born of mothers who had not been X-rayed.
What few doctors and health officials recognize is that chemicals and radiation combine to act on the very same cellular enzyme pathways. One type of contamination reinforces and strengthens the other. Exposure to radiation causes a cascade of free radicals that wreak havoc on the body. Radiation also decimates the body’s supply of glutathione, which in turn allows free radicals to run rampant through our body’s tissues and organs.
Waste of Time Anyway
A recent Norwegian study has found that breast cancer screening, commonly known as mammogram screening, may reduce the risk of death from breast cancer by only 10 percent. Mette Kalager, M.D. and colleagues followed 40,075 women, screened and unscreened from 1996 through 2005. The findings were reported on September 23, 2010 in the New England Journal of Medicine. This is not the only study suggesting that the life-saving effect of this screening method is quite limited.
Jørgensen K.J. and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark conducted a study suggesting that the benefit may be zero. The researchers found women ages 44 to 74 who had received mammogram screening had their risk of death from the disease reduced by one percent, compared to two percent reduction in the women who were unscreened. Similarly, no benefit was found in women aged 35 to 55 and those aged 75 to 84. The findings were reported in the March 23, 2010 issue of British Medical Journal.
According to a University of Florida study, breast biopsies should not be the only option to further diagnose abnormalities found in mammograms.
The FDA is exposing women to unnecessary dangers and it is really difficult to understand why. Cellular effects of radiation are basically the same for the different kinds and doses of radiation. The simplest and most direct effect of radiation is cell death. Changes in cellular function can occur at much lower radiation doses than those that cause cell death. Changes can include delays in phases of the mitotic cycle, disrupted cell growth, permeability changes, and changes in motility. In general, actively dividing cells are most sensitive to radiation. Radio sensitivity also tends to vary inversely with the degree of differentiation of the cell.
Massive campaigns exist to encourage women to have annual mammograms. But routine screening has not been proven to reduce the death toll from cancer. Americans spend an estimated $4 billion annually on mammograms, according to Dr. David H. Newman, author of the book “Hippocrates’ Shadow: Secrets from the House of Medicine.” Some of those tests cause false alarms that lead to unnecessary follow-up surgery on normal breasts, at a cost of $14 billion to $70 billion over a decade, according to Dr. Newman, the director of clinical research in the department of emergency medicine at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan.
There are five things that can happen as a result of screening tests, and four of them are bad. – Dr. Ned Calonge – Chairman U.S. Preventive Services
More breast tissue is thus exposed to dangerous cancer-causing radiation each year. This yearly ritual generates false positive and false negative results leading to many worthless operations and considerable anxiety in women incorrectly diagnosed. Biopsies are often done to evaluate breast masses. Needle biopsies are considered less invasive and safer than common breast biopsies of suspected tumors, but even this procedure can spread small foci of tumor along the needle track potentially increasing the spread of tumor cells. Mammograms have had more than adequate time to prove their worth and they have failed miserably.
Routine mammograms that have been shown to reduce deaths from breast cancer in older women, have not proved to reduce the toll in women in their 20s and 30s. – Dr. Susan M. Love – Breast cancer surgeon
Many women will be over-diagnosed by both two- and three-dimensional mammograms leading to overtreatment. One of the most basic reasons why mammograms do not demonstrate affectively higher survival rates is that the test is negatively reinforcing—women are exposed to cancer-provoking treatments and even more cancer-provoking tests that lead to higher incidence of death, not from the cancer itself but from the treatments and tests.
Taking a daily 10 to 15 minute walk in the sun not only clears your head, relieves stress and increases circulation— it could also cut your risk of breast cancer in half. – Dr. Esther John – Epidemiologist