Jun 25, 2010 - 9:56 pm
As an infant I was radiated in 1946 for an enlarged thymus gland in the mistaken belief that this would prevent SIDS. The amount of radiation I absorbed was equal to ten common CT studies today. This treatment was commonly used in major hospitals and even pediatricians’ offices across the country. Thousands of infants and children were given radiation treatments that would later result in many developing both cancer and radiation-induced heart disease. My mother—as no doubt many other mothers—held me on her lap, to make it easier for the radiologist to administer the x-rays. The cancer she developed from her own exposure to the radiation that passed through my 5 month old body to hers, was one of the causes of her death many years later.
After surviving childhood leukemia and three open heart surgeries from radiation-induced heart disease, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 metastasized thyroid cancer. With a thyroidectomy and radiation treatments (ironically to treat what had caused the disease in the first place) I slowly recovered.
I take synthroid that is carefully monitored for correct dosage and the devastating symptoms caused by my thyroid cancer as described so well by your article and by those who commented have been controlled.
I am currently working on a book about the history of radiation for benign conditions, especially on children, and would be very interested to hear other’s stories. Below is a link to my blog if you wish to learn more about this project and talk to others who have experienced much of what I did.
On my site there are many links to other blogs and people determined to alert parents to the risks from the increasing amount of radiation children are receiving from CT scans today. According to a recent New England Journal of Medicine report, “there is direct evidence from epidemiologic studies that the organ doses corresponding to a common CT study result in an increased risk of cancer. The evidence is reasonably convincing for adults and very convincing for children.”