Radiation in mammography is the SPR Radiological Protection Study Group’s theme

Posted on: 2019-11-12

On November 4, the SPR Radiological Protection Study Group of the month was held. With the introduction of Dr. Hilton Muniz Leão Filho, Latin Safe president, and the presence of Physicist Renato Dimenstein, the theme addressed was the application of ionizing radiation in mammography. Dr. Hilton stressed the need to talk about correct definitions, as there are several misconceptions disseminated in the media without proper scientific backing.

To talk about it, the guest of the month was Dr. Carlos Shimizu, radiologist, radiology specialist at the University Hospital of USP (HU USP), ICESP and Grupo Fleury. According to him, fragmented information causes more doubt than clarification. Therefore, it raised questions about how to apply radiation in the mammogram exam and how to deal with this topic on a daily basis.

Why do we do mammography?

That was his first highlight. Dr. Carlos pointed out that in 1963 the HIP study was conducted in New York. At this time, although the mammography exams were already consolidated, a controlled and randomized study on the subject was performed. It compared patients who underwent the exam and those who did not. And the question after the study was: was there a reduction in breast cancer mortality? Yes! Result: 42% reduction in mortality in those who underwent the exam.

Today there are 11 similar trials, the last being conducted in 1991, that is almost 30 years of study. The method is estimated to be the most valued imaging exam in medical history. Therefore, women over 40 need to do it periodically and is highly recommended. In addition, to corroborate its importance, more recent studies involving only patients who underwent the test result in almost 50% reduction in mortality.

Radiation is in safe standards

From this, the class proceeded to the radiation recommendations in the exams, explaining that the amount emitted in the mammogram is within safe standards. He explained about the possible need for examinations in pregnant patients, the differences for women who have breast implants and the possibility of using ultrasound and magnetic resonance as main or complementary exams in some cases.

Finally, he cited new technologies, such as tomosynthesis, and stressed that decreasing radiation is beneficial, but cannot disrupt breast cancer detection. He also pointed out that there is a need for interest from the medical community and that, in his personal perception, the information is not very widespread – this is reflected in some discrepant responses among professionals in the field when asked about the topic.

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