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Thyroid Cancer On The Rise

Updated on May 22, 2015
Do you see a thyroid guard?
Do you see a thyroid guard? | Source

X-Rays and Mammograms

I received an email today that disturbed me immensely. It was in regards to having x-rays and mammograms done. Apparently there are women and men too that go to their dentists and they’re not being made aware of the fact that there is a flap on the apron dentists use to protect you from dangerous radiation. This flap wraps around your neck to protect your thyroid. I’d had never heard of this before.

Thyroid Cancer Increasing?

Dr. Oz did an episode on his television show about the fastest growing cancer in women being thyroid cancer. He talked about the increase in thyroid cancer and how it could be possibly be attributed to dental x-rays and mammograms.

I've had mammograms in the past and when having one done you are supposed to ask for a thyroid guard. This too is something that I had no idea of. Should technicians not tell women about this guard?

Where You Aware of Thyroid Guards or Flaps on Aprons Used by Dentists?

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Make patients aware!

Why are dentists and mammogram technicians not making patients aware of this?

Even though thyroid cancer, if caught, is the most treatable and curable cancer, we should be made more aware of avoiding any risks such as having x-rays and mammograms done. Anyone at any age can develop thyroid cancer.

I am writing this article today in hopes that it will alert women and men, that like I, had no idea about the flaps on dentist's aprons as well as the thyroid guard that women are supposed to ask for when having a mammogram done. Next time you go for an x-ray please ask about this and insist on wearing it, if the technician or your dentist has not made you aware.


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    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Jaye, My husband had his thyroid removed about ten years ago and he takes medication daily. His too was benign. We are not sure and will probably never know why his thyroid swelled. He had a noticeable lump on the lower area of his neck.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      theraggededge, Sorry to hear that you have thyroid issues. Thanks for reading and for your comments.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      tillsontitan, I would tend to think that this was more than a coincidence. Thanks for sharing that here. I know a few people that work for vets and I'll have to ask them if they use any guard or aprons while doing an x-ray on the animals.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada




      Thanks ladies for stopping by. It still surprises me that dentists and mammogram techs do not bring this to the patients attention.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      6 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This was "news" to me; however, it's two years too late (not your fault). My thyroid gland enlarged and had nodules that wrapped around my esophagus, so had to be removed. Fortunately, the growths were benign. Now I take synthetic thyroid extract each day. The irony (or irritation, I'm not sure which word fits) is that my annual thyroid tests never showed anything wrong! It wasn't until I felt as though I were choking and had a thyroid sonogram that the problem was discovered.

      Good info, good hub, voted Up++


    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 

      6 years ago from Wales, UK

      I have thyroid 'issues'. Only had one dental x-ray and one mammogram. Will never have either again. This is important information and the more people who talk/write about it, the better. Thank you.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      There is more here than dental x-rays. Your title caught my eye because my 17 yr. old granddaughter just had her thyroid removed due to thyroid cancer. We cannot prove anything but here's the story (my endocrinologist agreed): When my daughter was working for a local veterinarian she became pregnant. Another lady (same age as my daughter) also working there, became pregnant. Seventeen years later both girls (results of those two pregnancies) were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It is VERY possible that the radiation the mothers were exposed to while working for the vet during their pregnancies (animal xrays in a room not lined with led) is the cause of the thyroid cancer in both young girls.

      Scary what we don't know. Thank you for writing this hub and hopefully saving someone else from thyroid cancer.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting and shared with my followers.

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 

      6 years ago

      I am seeing the dentist on Monday and will ask for the neck flap. thank you for the information. I did not know.

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 

      6 years ago from Rome, Italy

      Such important information. I've had so many of those tests and never had the guard so I will ask for it next time. Many thanks

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      6 years ago from UK

      Great info, thanks! Never had a mammogram, but don't remember any aprons at the dentist. Will ask next time.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      His princesz, Thank you and glad to make you aware of this.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      bridalletter, It should be a requirement to give the patient the option for a guard. When you have any other type of x-rays done they require you to wear a lead lap guard, so why not with dental and mammograms.

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wayne, You have that right. "We're just going to take a little picture of this tooth."

      No need to apologize ... you have to get those digs in whenever and wherever you can :)

    • His princesz profile image

      His princesz 

      6 years ago

      Thank you for this very informative article susan. I will now take heed for the next doctor visit. Voted up! :)

    • bridalletter profile image

      Brenda Kyle 

      6 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

      I was not aware of the additional protection. I did limit xrays on myself and children at the dentist office since i started taking them to the dentist. When you have a thyroid condition, they should have insisted a patient wear that. I know mine never did. I think they feel so strongly it is a minor exposure, no need to offer addition protection for a patient. Thank you for the information.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 

      6 years ago from Texas

      Great cautions, technology marches forward, we, as a consuming public, assume too much. The dental tech says "bite on this", steps out of the room and turns on a 360 imaging machine....they don't say "x-ray" any more so we are put at ease. As consumers and living entities, we need to ask more questions about not only our medical procedures but also about our presidential candidates. Sorry....couldn't help myself! ~WB

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 

      6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Thank you for this information Susan. I will definitely ask next time I have x-rays done. Kind of (sorry) pisses me off that this is not well known. I appreciate you sharing.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      wow! I also had no idea about this guard. A friend of mine is dealing with thyroid cancer now. Her surgery was successful and her treatment consists of drugs she will take for the rest of her life but her prognosis is good. Could hers have been the result of X-rays? I will certainly ask my dentist about this next time my kids and myself have an appointment. Fantastic public service hub!

    • Patkay profile image

      Patrick Kamau 

      6 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      I am much worried about the third world countries where negligence and living behind technology is the order of the day. Thanks for the information.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      6 years ago

      Wow, very interesting information. I probably have seen about 4 - 6 dentists in my life and none of them has ever mentioned this! Thanks for sharing this hub. Rated up and useful.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      I’d never heard of a thyroid guard before, and had no idea there was a neck flap to protect you. I don’t even know if they have them in the UK, but I will be investigating for sure. Thanks for this very useful hub. Voted up.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Thank you Susan..I had no idea about a neck flap. I just had a sonogram of my sinus cavity..Sometimes i think i will refuse, the radiation is bound to be harmful..Thank's for the info..

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      6 years ago

      A Wonderful and Timely Hub Susan. I personally think Dentist take too many X-rays and I have often said "No", when I feel that it is becoming excessive. We need to speak up more and not feel intimidated. I will now also make sure that the Flap is up!

    • Marc Babineau profile image

      Marc Babineau 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, Ontario, The Seaway City

      Great post!

      I went through cancer twice, with 37 and 10 radiation treatments. On top of the number of CT scans and MRIs, chest x-rays and dental x-rays, I have had enough to feel like I've walked on the sun! It is uncanny how the technicians never fail to cover themselves, yet frequently forget to cover the patient.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      6 years ago from Shelton

      Just Ask Susan.. this is a good share.. I notice at The University School of Dental Hygiene.. the students are taught to use the lead flap but I never actually realized if my dentist used it.. I've been going to home for years and consider him a friend I never noticed or think to notice.. now I will thanks for the heads up or the flaps down.. you're simply one of the best..:) Frank

    • Just Ask Susan profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh my goodness, I wasn't expecting so many comments on this hub. Thank you all and I'm glad that I wrote this seeing that like I, so many of you had not heard of this before.

    • tlpoague profile image


      6 years ago from USA

      Wow! Thanks for passing on this information. I am one of those horrible people that refuse to go to the dentist or doctor unless I am close to dying. I have had a few of these x-rays in the past, but was never told about the guards. I will be sure to remember that in the future. Thanks again for sharing this important information!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Hi Susan~I was warned of this last yr. However when I went to the dentist and asked for protection for my neck, I didn't get it. I'm having a mammogram next week/I hope they will have a thyroid guard. Thanks for putting this information out. It's so very important. Voted up and more!


    • Wheels2sticks profile image


      6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Thanks for this information. Never heard of it & thyroid issues run in my family.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      I've never had a dentist use a thyroid guard when taking X-rays - this is rather upsetting news given the number of dental x-rays we get through our lives! Thanks for the heads-up!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      6 years ago from Minnesota

      I am shocked hearing this news flash regarding radiation prevention. I have Never heard of either and It does make you wonder why they don't tell you and make it part of the appointment. Excellent information and thanks for sharing it with us.

    • jacqui2011 profile image


      6 years ago from Norfolk, UK

      Very informative hub. I have never had my dentist use the guard when I have had x-rays in the past. Due to family history, I have to have a mammogram yearly to check for breast cancer and have never been asked to wear a guard. I have had to have a biopsy of my thyroid recently, and fortunately this was benign. This is so important and I will ensure that I ask for the guard in the future. Thank you for sharing this valuable info. Voted up and useful/interesting.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      Thanks for passing on this important information. I was aware of it in regards to dental X-rays, but not in regards to mammograms.

      Simple preventive measures like these should routinely be done without our having to ask, but the reality is that they are not routinely done by practitioners.

      Voted up, useful and interesting.

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 

      6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Wow I'm shocked that so many people don't know about this. I'm thankful for my dentist and Dr. Oz :) Good job Susan!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      6 years ago from California

      Great info Susan. I had no idea as well. I'm due for a mammogram soon and will be sure to ask for a guard!

      Voted up and useful!

      Lisa ~RusticLiving

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Wow! Susan - I have had many dental xrays and mammograms - I am a little peeved no one ever told me about this. Thank you for doing so - I am sharing this all over the place!!!

      GREAT JOB!!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      6 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Verrrrrrrrrrrrryyyyyyyyyyyyyy interesting! I'd never heard of or seen any such accessory on those heavy aprons. I've had plenty of dental x-rays in my 63 years, but only one mammogram; the procedure was so painful I will never have another. To a certain extent, I hold the philosophy of "Don't borrow trouble. Go looking for a problem, and you're liable to find it." The mind is a very powerful agent in keeping healthy, and people can talk themselves into illness.

      In the past, I've jokingly made light of the whole thing, asking the tech why the apron, and gotten the answer, "X-ray exposure can cause sterility." to which my smart-ass remark was, "Go for it! I'm done having kids!"

      But, in retrospect, I find x-rays ironic--they are, after all, a form of radiation, which is dangerous. They can cause cancer. Yet, what do we do to cancer patients? Bombard them with radiation treatments!! That does not compute for me.

      This was a well-written article--voted up!

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      6 years ago from Jamaica

      Susan, I had no idea about the guard. Thanks for alerting us. Why isn't this more public? Now I can alert my friends about this.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you Susan. This is so important for us to know. When I first left school I did a stint in a dentist as a nurse, (not for long, I was never a proper dental nurse) but even I don't remember any thing like this. Shocking.... Cancer is such a sad, tiring disease so even if its the most treatable we still don't want to be exposed to anything that can trigger it.


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