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Unnecessary imaging may be major breast cancer risk

Category: Breast

Women who have undergone many imaging procedures may want to consider lab testing for breast cancer. A new paper published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that unnecessary X-rays and MRIs may be among the leading environmental causes of the disease.

The group Susan G. Komen for the Cure commissioned a report from the Institute of Medicine back in December. The study was to evaluate evidence linking various environmental factors to breast cancer. The only two that were confirmed as definitely playing a role in risk were hormone replacement therapies and excessive medical imaging procedures.

The new paper offers women some advice on how they can minimize their risk. The recommendations largely focus on making absolutely sure that a scan is necessary before submitting to it.

"The single thing that the IOM highlighted that a woman can do to lower her risk of breast cancer is to avoid unnecessary medical imaging," said Rebecca Smith-Bindman, who authored the report.

She added that women should insist that physicians explain the value of every medical imaging procedure they recommend and why it needs to be done at that moment.

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