We have often been asked the question: "Have Medical X-Rays Done More Harm Than Good?" That is the wrong question. The appropriate question is, "Can we have all the good things in medicine which x-rays can do with vastly less harm?" The answer is unequivocally, "Yes."
This book relates the evidence which shows that more than 100,000 women are developing breast cancer per year in the United States, due to past overexposure to medical x-rays, mainly from radiotherapy of benign disease in dermatology and other specialties, and over-zealous use of diagnostic x-rays and fluoroscopy by physicians and non-physicians.
Why did this happen in the past, and how can we prevent further accumulation of women destined to develop life-threatening breast cancer?
- Medical science failed in the past to realize in time that production of cancer can occur 10-20-30-40-50 (and possibly more) years before clinical manifestation of breast cancer and other cancers.
- As a result of this failure, medicine embarked on a half-century of denial that even exposures as high as 100-500 rems could cause human cancer. That era is over. However, medicine today, in some but not all quarters, is engaged in suggesting that low doses of radiation do not produce cancer. This fallacy, if not abandoned, will lead to a century of abusing and insulting the great contribution of Dr. Roentgen to medical science.
If one claims a toxic agent is safe at some level, when that is untrue, the person making the claim is inflicting disease upon other persons, as a result of false information. This is a very serious matter.
If one claims a toxic agent is safe at some level, and one does not know whether or not that is true, the claim leads to human experimentation (a Nuremberg Crime).
Nothing can undo the massive harm caused by past misunderstanding. But that is surely no reason to compound the errors of the past. We would do well to observe Santayana's "law" that those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it. We do not need more cases of breast cancer.
The Essential Messages
Our estimate in this book is that about 75% of breast cancer is caused by earlier irradiation. There is absolutely no doubt that reducing unnecessary x-radiation will prevent vast numbers of future breast cancers.
We hope that all physicians will join with health scientists in a determination to reduce unnecessary x-radiation. As discussed in this book, this effort can succeed without ever interfering with a single essential x-ray examination. That is the main route to prevention of breast cancer. Women will not be willing to forgive anyone who stands in the way of this objective.
Who will look out for women's health better than they themselves?
USA $ 17.00 ISBN 0-932682-96-0