In the United States, thyroid cancer is increasing faster than any other cancer, with more than 56,000 people likely to be diagnosed in 2012 alone.
WE ARE DIAGNOSING ONE TO TWO NEW CASES OF THYROID CANCER PER WEEK AT THE THYROID INSTITUTE OF UTAH!
The thyroid is extremely susceptible to radiation. Radiation is not the only culprit; however, use of diagnostic X-rays and computed tomography (CT) have grown in recent years and more aggressive measures should be taken to protect the thyroid.
The ATA statement makes 6 key recommendations:
1. Evaluate the necessity of all diagnostic X-rays before they are performed.
2. Patients or their decision makers should be informed of the risks and benefits of any diagnostic procedure in a way that is understandable to them.
3. Clinicians should be educated on the risks for radiation and the general principles of radiation dosimetry, “especially as they relate to children and the thyroid.”
4. The benefits of mammography outweigh any risks to the thyroid. Shielding of the thyroid during mammography is not recommended.
5. The use of thyroid shields is recommended in conjunction with all other diagnostic radiographies and CT scans, with the goal being to reduce exposure of the thyroid to radiation as much as possible.
6. As with other diagnostic radiation, the ATA recommends that thyroid radiation exposure during dental examinations be minimized as much as possible without compromising clinical goals. In addition, the ATA “urges a reconsideration of the less stringent requirement put forth for thyroid shielding in adults as compared to children. The ATA also recommends that efforts be made to encourage and monitor compliance with the American Dental Association…and [National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements] guidelines and to reduce, as much as possible, the areas of ambiguity in them.”