There’s No Such Thing as a “Safe” X-Ray
An article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal1 provides new evidence for one of my firm beliefs: there’s really no such thing as a “safe” x-ray! The new evidence is shocking. . .
How a Doctor Reversed Her Husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease in 37 Days
New breakthrough improves memory… restores lost brain function … and even revives dying cells!
If you’ve ever known anyone with Alzheimer’s disease, you know how heart-breaking it can be. Not only does it destroy a person’s mental abilities and dignity … but it wipes out the person’s very personality, leaving behind a mere shell of a human being. The body is there for you to see, but the person you know and love no longer exists.
That’s exactly what happened to my colleague Dr. Mary Newport and her husband Steve. As Mary describes it, “I was watching my husband of 36 years fade away.”
In Mary’s words, it was “Strange to have no short-term memory and yet the information was filed somewhere in his brain. I knew he was locked up in there somewhere, if only there was a key to open up the areas of his brain that he didn’t have access to.”
Little did Mary know that she would soon find that very key.
Researchers from McGill University Health Centre in Montreal recently tracked 82,861 patients who had suffered heart attacks. Of this group, 77% underwent at least one low-dose radiation procedure after their heart trauma.
The investigators found a total of 12,020 cancer incidents following the x-ray procedures. Now if you’re chalking this up to coincidence—hold your horses…
The research team noticed roughly two-thirds of these cancers were concentrated around the abdomen and chest areas where the patients had been x-rayed!
The investigators concluded that use of low-dose x-rays after heart attacks could be linked directly to a greater risk of cancer. And rest assured, if the connection can be made in that specific health situation—the probability is high that x-rays can be linked to cancer in many other situations as well!
The Canadian study is not the first to make this connection. Look at these additional examples:
1. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology2 showed high-risk women carrying the BRCA 1 or 2 gene mutation might have an increased risk for breast cancer after receiving low levels of ionizing radiation…
2. Researchers from England and Kuwait demonstrated that continued exposure to dental x-rays increased the risk of developing thyroid cancer3…
3. University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health issued recent study results4 confirming diagnostic x-rays may increase the risk of developing childhood leukemia…
This is pretty grim news for most of us.
If you’re like most people you’ve probably had DOZENS of low-dose x-ray images taken on various parts of your body. Most of the time you didn’t give it a second thought because doctors are “supposed” to know what they’re doing. Hah!
Medical doctors aren’t the only people we trust too much. “Take a deep breath and keep perfectly still.” This is probably what the x-ray technician at your dentist office says before taking snapshots of your teeth and gums from various angles.
I hate to think how many x-rays I’ve had in my life. Broken bones, injuries that might have been broken bones but weren’t, back injuries, “mystery back pain” that doctors couldn’t diagnose, “mystery headaches” that doctors couldn’t figure out — they sent me to the x-ray machines again and again. And most of the time they didn’t find out a thing. Eventually I was cured of most of these problems by alternative medicine.
At long last, many members of the scientific community are concerned about the overuse of diagnostic x-rays and their potential to damage your health. But for many of us, the new McGill study just confirms what we already suspected: diagnostic x-rays can pose a deadly danger.
Let’s take a look at the radiation that powers x-rays and how it works…
Here’s how you may be ‘x-posed’ to radiation…
Similar to radio waves or light waves, x-rays are a type of radiating energy. We’re all exposed to radiation daily from either natural or manmade sources, the sun being the most obvious one.
According to the National Safety Council , natural sources of radiation each day include:
1. Foods with small quantities (e.g. bananas, eggs, and some vegetables)
2. Plants, rocks, soil and water
3. Radon gas
There are also several types of man-made radiation, including:
1. Cigarette emissions (yes, nicotine is not the only problem)
2. Nuclear power plants and weapons
3. Radio and television waves
4. Smoke detectors
Scientists usually differentiate types of radiation according to the amount of energy involved. Radiation with lower energy levels is called non-ionizing, while radiation with higher energy levels is called ionizing.
X-rays are a type of ionizing radiation, which has enough energy to penetrate your body. This is how radiologists are able to take pictures of your organs, bones and other structures inside your body.
But this type of radiation also changes the atomic structure of whatever material it passes through. When this occurs in your body, molecules and cells may be damaged. You may notice immediate or gradual health effects because of this damage.
Scientists use a unit of measurement called the millisievert (mSv) to measure the effective dose of radiation. The term ‘effective dose’ refers to the radiation risk averaged over your entire body.
In the United States, another commonly used dose expression is rem. Small doses are measured in thousandths of a rem or millirem.
The average U.S. resident is exposed to about 360 millirems of radiation each year. But for any given individual, that amount can vary all over the place. Some of us are hit with vastly greater amounts if we have health problems or go to doctors frequently.
Because different tissues and organs have different levels of sensitivity to radiation exposure, the actual risk an x-ray poses to different body parts will vary.
And, of course, you know the medical community makes widespread use of ionizing radiation to diagnose and treat cancer. In fact, about 500,000 cancer patients in the United States—that’s roughly half of all people with cancer—are treated with radiation at some point in their therapy.
It seems ironic that the very thing known to be a cancer trigger is also hailed as a premiere cancer treatment! (For more about the danger of x-rays, check our Issue #75 at www.cancerdefeated.com/newsletters)
Simple steps to minimize exposure
to harmful radiation
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other federal and state agencies regulate medical procedures that use radiation. They also issue guidance to minimize unnecessary use of radiation to diagnose and treat health conditions.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), improvements in x-ray films and equipment decrease your radiation exposure from medical procedures. They say an improved ability to target radiation to one part of the body also results in less exposure.
But the best advice is: RESIST x-rays unless they’re absolutely necessary. To minimize your exposure to x-rays, the FDA offers these suggestions6:
1. Ask your health care professional how an x-ray will help. Ask if other procedures that might be lower risk could be used. But don’t refuse an x-ray that is medically necessary.
2. Don’t insist on unnecessary x-rays. If your health care professional explains there is no need for an X-ray, then don’t demand one.
3. Inform your technician beforehand if you are, or might be, pregnant.
4. Ask if a protective lead shield can be used.
5. Know your X-ray history. Keep a list of dates and types of x-ray exams, including dental x-rays. Make sure your health care providers have this information to avoid duplicate procedures.
While you might not be able to completely avoid medical x-rays, these steps could go a long way towards reducing your radiation exposure—and minimizing potential cancer risks!
Another danger mentioned in last week’s issue of our newsletter may be lurking in your tap water. If you missed that issue, please scroll down to have a look at it now.