Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New York Times Article

Greetings from sunny LA. I love coming to this town (I am probably here anywhere between 4-5 nights a month). Say what you will about LA, and everyone has an opinion, but the weather here is stone cold pimping.

Anyway, I'm on my flight, minding my own business, reading the New York Times when I come across an article in the Tuesday Health section titled "With Rise in Radiation Exposure, Experts Urge Caution on Tests."


The article is mostly about CT scans. Double gulp. I quote: "Though CT scans make up only 12 percent of all medical radiation procedures, they deliver almost half of the estimated collective dose of radiation exposure in the United States. A CT scan exposes patients to far more radiation than a standard X-ray and multislice CT scanners deliver higher doses of radiation than single-slice scanners."

Is there such a thing as a triple gulp?

Anyway, the article goes on -- it's a half page in length, and it is disconcerting to say the least, especially for someone like me who's had a gazillion tests, including multiple CT's the past year. Ironically, I've been focused on the amount of radiation in my RAI treatments and haven't given much thought at all to the exposure I've been receiving through my multiple radiological tests.

Anyway, if you have today's paper take a look at this article. I would link to it but can't through the hotel web browser. Page D5.

So I am reading this article and turn to my right and notice that my two fellow passengers on the other side of the aisle are trying to read this article over my shoulder, and are speaking with one another in hushed tones. I ask one of them if they would like to read it and they reply "No, we need to pick up our own copy as soon as we land."

So I ask him if he's a doctor and get this -- he tells me he works for the association that represents medical imaging devices and that he's a specialist on CT scans. He says that he wasn't aware of this article but that it could have a potentially significant impact on the industry (like he needed to tell me that - I am in PR after all. In fact, I should have pitched him on our PR services but was too interested in his take on this from my Cancerman perspective).

I explained my situation and he said, without question I've been receiving fairly significant doses of radiation, but really only through CT scans, and not the MRI, ultrasound or PET scan. I told him I was amazed how little information doctors shared with me on this subject and he intimated that this was a very delicate subject and one that is a hot button topic within the industry. I told him as a cancer patient, it's their obligation to provide patients with more, versus less information and he seemed to agree.

Anyway, pretty interesting flight and conversation. But this article validates a nagging concern I've had in the back of my head and that which I have expressed before on these pages; I am really afraid that if the cancer doesn't kill me, the cumulative effects of the treatment might, which is one reason why I am not crazy about more radiation in December.

One more reason to live my life to the fullest I guess.

LA Celebrity Watch: Chad Lowe spotting at dinner and according to one of my collegues, Brittany Spears, though I am kind of unconvinced. Thing with LA is that every other woman looks like her.

1 comment:

Crazymamaof6 said...

while the amount of radiation is disconcerting from a CT scan, Your treatment may not have been complete without it. and with informed consent would you have still had the test? I have to say i would, if it gives information necessary to my overall treatment. But knowing that, I wouldn't just go have a CT anytime, I had an injury or ailment. and you know CT contrast conflicts with getting RAI right? So never have CT contrast when you need RAI. I learned the hard way. Hypo, ready for a scan and believed the tech when they told me it would pass! it has been 6 months and i find out next week if can need more and when. Good times!