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Safety of Radiation Questioned

An expert on uranium and plutonium, Dr. John William Gofman — professor emeritus of molecular and cell biology, at the University of California, Berkeley —is also on the faculty at the University of California Medical School in San Francisco. In the early 1960s, the Atomic Energy Commission asked Gofman to establish a biomedical research division at the AEC’s Livermore National Laboratory, for the purpose of evaluating the health consequences of all types of nuclear activities.
In 1990 Gofman declared that “by any reasonable standard of biomedical proof,” there is no threshold level (i.e., no harmless dose) of ionizing radiation with respect to radiation mutagenesis and carcinogenesis, a conclusion supported in 1995 by a government-funded committee studying radiation. Also in 1995, Gofman provided evidence that medical radiation is a necessary co-actor in about 75 percent of recent cases of breast cancer in the United States.
Over the past several decades, as the use of diagnostic procedures involving radiation has increased, a growing number of American health professionals have doubted the benefit of these scans. The Wall Street Journal published accounts of parents, who were physicians, questioning the use of CT scans on their own children who had suffered falls. Now the New York Times “has examined thousands of pages of public and womancatscanprivate records” to better understand the risks and accidents associated with the medical use of radiation. Dr. Fred Mettler author of several books on medical radiation, says, “My suspicion is that maybe half the accidents (caused by the use of medical radiation) we don’t know about.” Writing in the Times, Walt Bogdanich said: “Regulators and researchers can only guess how often radiotherapy accidents occur. With no single agency overseeing medical radiation, there is no central clearinghouse of cases. Accidents are chronically underreported, records show, and some states do not require that they be reported at all.”
It is inexcusable for the government and the medical community to allow facilities not to report medical errors involving the use of medical radiation. Meanwhile, Dr. Gofman urges healthcare consumers to ask their physicians if a test employs the least dose of radiation that can produce a readable scan. And always ask if the test will change the diagnosis or the treatment of your condition: If the answer is no, why does the doctor feel the scan is necessary?

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9 thoughts on “Safety of Radiation Questioned

  • Susan Noel

    What exactly does the phrase “medical radiation is a necessary co-actor in about 75 percent of recent cases of breast cancer in the United States” mean? As a person who has had (triple-negative) breast cancer, i have wondered if it was caused by mammograms. Thank you for a clarification.

    • Hi Susan,
      This statement came from the work of John Gofman, MD, PhD at the U of CA San Francisco. Medical radiation means the radiation from CT scans, x-rays, mammograms, dental x-rays, radiological procedures, and the like. It is an accepted medical fact that the DNA in our cells stores the effects of radiation (it exists in nature for example, we are exposed to a certain amount of radiation when we fly at high altitudes). Medicine is slowly recognizing that it is essential to note the amount of radiation to which a patient is exposed by multiple medical radiological procedures. In some susceptible patients, it is now linked to cancer and to the development of heart disease. Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor emeritus in the field of epidemiology University of IL, has spoken out strongly about the risks of certain screening procedures such as mammography. Both Dr. Gofman and Dr. Epstein have written widely on the topic of knowing the risks of radiation from medical procedures as well as the benefits to make an informed decision. NIH just announced it has asked the major manufacturers of scanners to install software to track radiation to which patients are exposed in NIH clinics.
      We will be following up with another article in the upcoming newsletter.

  • Jana Hill

    Forget asking your doctors about radiation dosages. They don’t know, but they will give an arbitrary number. The old favorite is:”It’s less than you would get from a day at the beach.” Really? What beach are these docs visiting?
    My doc ordered a bone scan for no more reason than he thought that my thyroid (TSH only) was too high. Another was for a heart scan because my HDL was on the high side. I am sure that high HDL does not indicate heart disease. Are kick backs for test referrals the usual reason for ordering these scans?
    I Iooked up the expected RADS. He was waaay wrong. Otherrwise he’s a nice guy.

  • Virginia Speaks

    Jana, I agree. My doctor told me the radiation from a CT was “less than you’d get flying cross-country in a jet”. HA! He was WAY off. After a full hysterectomy for Stage 1-2A ovarian cancer, I had three CT scans (head, abdomen, and chest) three times (quarterly) before I said no more. Because ovarian cancer can become lung cancer and skin cancer, these tests were “necessary”. That was 2002, and I haven’t had a test since–and I saved $3900 per session, too, in co-pays. What a rip-off. Instead I now use bio-identical hormones and iodine, among other supplements, and I feel great.

  • Dawn

    A further concern is the coming “full body scan” at airports. No one is talking about the health hazards of these scans which use ionizing radiation. We are being distracted by “voyuerism” and privacy concerns instead. We are being told that as an alternative, a “pat-down” can be requested. However, recent news articles state that in the UK, full body scans are mandatory with no alternatives, if you want to fly out of the country. Boycot flying anyone????

    • Mike Stafford

      Dear Staci,
      You’re right of course! But, guess what – if Obama Care gets through in any form all the avenues to personal responsibility and self-advocacy will either go the way of dinosaurs or become so restricted as to be worthless. Medicine has long wanted to be THE ONLY rofession offering any kind of care. I won’t use the “h—–” word. The “h—–” insurer have got things rigged so they don’t pay for much that doesn’t have a disease Diagnosis Code attached to a dotor’s request for payment. So you have to be sick in order to use your insurance. The same goes for governent payments for any care now and in the future (O’care). The drug companies control medicine – along with the FDA and insurers. They certainly don’t make money off healthy people. Insurers thrive because people fear getting sick. It’s all one big Catch 22 – and you’re the CATCH.
      It’s possible now, given what is known in nutritional science to be virtually immune to almost all infective organisms and most (the worst) degenerative diseases. Do you think your M.D. is going to inform you about how? If they get their way your best, maybe only alternative, will be to learn all you can about God’s willingness to heal by believing, prayer and food. That’s how they dd it in ancient times. I’ll guarantee He’s still in business. All you need to do is find somebody with a solid track record to teach you how. Don’t waste your time in places where they just read and talk about it.

  • Lynn Wright

    For my entire teen to adult life I have strongly resisted x-rays, both dental and medical. I subjected myself to one mammogram at age 40 and never did it again, worrying that if I consented to the recommendation of one every year, I would indeed be setting myself up for an increased risk of breast cancer. Instead I have computerized thermal imaging done annually for breast health, as well as an annual physical exam by my ob/gyn. Thermal imaging uses no radiation and can find any abnormalities years before mammography can.

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