Mammography and the risk of thyroid cancer

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2012 Mar;198(3):705-7. doi: 10.2214/AJR.11.7225.


Objective: The purpose of this article is to discuss recent media reports that have suggested a link between mammography and increased incidence of thyroid cancer in women. Those reports have caused many requests that a thyroid shield be used during mammography.

Conclusion: On the basis of a previously published study that investigated organ doses from mammography and of cancer risk estimates using the seventh Biologic Effects of Ionizing Radiation report, we contend that thyroid shielding during mammography is unnecessary and may increase retakes rather than afford radiation protection of the thyroid.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mammography*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / prevention & control*
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Protection / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / prevention & control*