Women Advised to Avoid Unnecessary Imaging Tests to Lower Breast Cancer Risk

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Rebecca Smith-Bindman, a UCSF researcher whose JAMA study published this week warns of the increased body burden of a lifetime of exposure to medical imaging, has also examined a subset of those findings involving breast cancer risk.

She cites a December 2011 IOM study (to which she contributed) as identifying the “single thing…that a woman can do to lower her risk of breast cancer:” avoid unnecessary medical imaging.

She provides a list of things a woman should know to ask her doctor when an imaging scan is prescribed:

• Is this scan absolutely necessary?
• Is it necessary to do it now?
• Are there other, alternative tests?
• How can I be sure the test will be done in the safest way possible?
• Will having the scan information change the management of my disease?
• Can I wait until after seeing a specialist before getting the scan?