More technology brings more cancer

This article from the New York Times discusses the possible threat of thyroid cancer.  The topic gained a lot of concern after being addressed on the Dr. Oz show.  Dr. Oz said that thyroid cancer was “the fastest-growing cancer in women,” due to radiation from tooth x-rays and mammograms.  You can imagine how many women would become concerned about this health threat.

This is an example of how our technology and media contributes to how we view health.  Thyroid cancer has always been a health concern, but once it was discussed on national TV, people’s worries increases exponentially.  When a doctor on TV tells you that you are at an increased risk for cancer, you can’t help but get worried.  Especially since the increased health risk seems to be a direct cause of x-rays and mammograms–actions that can be very beneficial to a person’s health. Concern over radiation from Japan only contributes to these concerns.

When people’s health is threatened they panic.  However, the article also talks about how developments in technology might play a role in the number of people who are being diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  Though Dr. Oz called it “the fastest-growing cancer in women,” the increased prevalence is found in women of all ages.  If mammograms were a significant contributor to this issue, there would be an increase in women over 50 years old who were developing thyroid cancer.  The increase in the number of thyroid cancer cases has been attributed to the development of technology.  Nowadays, we are able to diagnose cancers that would not have been a significant health problem.

It is important to be informed about health, but it is also important to understand the true health threats.  Though radiation from a mammogram or tooth x-ray might increase the level of radiation in your body, that mammogram could save you from a worse health outcome.


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