Being back at work has put a serious dent in my daytime TV watching. No 8 and 9 a.m. episodes of the West Wing, afternoon 90210 marathons on SoapNet, or Barefoot Contessa during lunch.
Which also means that I missed the episode that Dr. Oz devoted to thyroid cancer a few weeks ago. I’ve looked but haven’t found it online yet, though I’ll post a link when I do find one. I’ve read others’ blog posts about it, though, and I’m glad he directed attention toward the fastest-growing cancer among women, and showed how to do your own neck check.
I’m also glad that he strongly encouraged everyone to request a thyroid guard when getting dental x-rays. I’ll admit that I had no idea to do this–even after having been through the last three years. I’m pretty frustrated that doctors don’t tell you to do this (even my great endocrinologist) and that most dentists — at least those I’ve gone to — don’t proactively use a lead thyroid guard, even when they are quick to cover the rest of your body with a lead apron before x-rays.
My dentist knew my history of thyroid cancer, and he didn’t even use one. Argh. This is why he’s now my former dentist, and I’m on the hunt for one who seems a little more with it.
A growing body of evidence points to a connection between dental x-rays and the growing incidences of thyroid cancer. Some experts recommend forgoing dental x-rays if you can, though I’m not about to encourage that without knowing more.
I’m with Dr. Oz, though. Be your own advocate, and please request a thyroid guard before you have any dental x-rays, or x-rays of any kind.
And as you ask, please report back — I’d love to find out whether dentists (or other doctors) are starting to routinely stock thyroid guards. It feels like an article or book chapter in the making!