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Radiation exposure

Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi everyone! I posted on this board before, but did not introduce myself. I am a 31 year old female, and was diagnosed in Aug 2001 with papillary thyroid cancer. I am married and a mommy, and know what it is like to send my babies away during treatment (probably the worst part about it). I am really interested in why I have cancer. I don't really understand how this happened, but from what I have read it is caused by radiation exposure during childhood. Are there other causes? I cannot think of any time I would have been exposed, only that I was born in a military hospital which really doesn't mean much! Has anyone heard any theories? I would be interested to know, even though there is nothing I can do about this now. Thank you!

Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2002

I, too, would like to know if there are any theories out there. I am 50 and I do not know of a time when I was exposed to radiation either. The only time we can locate is the dentist during junior high, but if that was the source the dentist should be dead by now or have cancer and he doesn't and is still alive!! If anyone has seen anything, please post!

Posts: 20
Joined: Apr 2002

That is kind of hilarious that you said the dentist, because that was my first thougt...Hmm, it must have been those dental visits.Anyway, I was born in a Naval hospital, which I have discovered was conducting radiation experiments during Vietnam - and the time I was born there. I have wondered if something may have happened during this time, but I probably will never know. It would be nice to know, huh?

Posts: 3
Joined: Sep 2002

Hello I am 23 and have meduallary thyroid cancer. I don't know why it happens. I wish I knew that answer to. I have a 5 year old daughter.

Posts: 16
Joined: May 2010

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 leukemia at age four, I spent the next thirty years in and out of hospitals for illnesses that seemed to have no identifiable cause. When my mother was diagnosed with a cancer the oncologist told her could only have come from exposure to large doses of radiation, she explained she had never been in that situation even as an emergency room nurse at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.

After further questioning from the doctor she remembered our experience with x-ray treatments. The doctor said he’d studied in med school that erroneous diagnosis and x-ray treatment. He said, I assume your son died a long time ago since he received the bulk of the ionizing radiation. No, she told him. My son has had a lifetime of serious illnesses, including being placed at one time under hospice care for over four years.

The doctor told her to call me and for me to get to an endocrinologist immediately because I most certainly had thyroid cancer. I did as told and the endocrinologist said he could see from across the room that I had an abnormal thyroid. It turned out to be Stage 3 metastasized thyroid cancer. After 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 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. Please contact me at 2manyrads@gmail.com

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