Silent Enemy

A smile never increases in price or decreases in value.

Thyroid cancer

Today I’m going to share a brief bit of news with you about a silent enemy. I received this recently in an email, and it seemed so important I thought you should all know about it.

On Wednesday, Dr. Oz had a show on the fastest growing cancer in women, thyroid cancer. It was a very interesting program and he mentioned that the increase could possibly be related to the use of dental x-rays and mammograms. He demonstrated that on the apron the dentist puts on you for your dental x-rays there is a little flap that can be lifted up and wrapped around your neck. Many dentists don’t bother to use it. Also, there is something called a "thyroid guard" for use during mammograms.

By coincidence, I had my yearly mammogram yesterday. I felt a little silly, but I asked about the guard and sure enough, the technician had one in a drawer. I asked why it wasn’t routinely used. Answer: "I don’t know. You have to ask for it." Well, if I hadn’t seen the show, how would I have known to ask?

We need to pass this on to our daughters, nieces, mothers and all our female friends and husbands tell your wives !!

Don’t know about you, but I’d only vaguely heard of thyroid cancer, and I sure didn’t know it was that prevalent in women, but right after I sent the info above out in an email, I got this letter from my dear friend Jess Witkins:

I just wanted to tell you thank you for sending this out. Both my mother and sister have had thyroid cancer. My sister is currently dealing with it again for the third time, and she feels very strongly that the amount of x-rays she’s had to undergo is part of the problem that her form of it is adapting and returning every few years in her lymph nodes now.
I’ve experienced in my family the struggle it is to deal with treatments for thyroid cancer, your whole hormonal system is off, you are extremely tired, and moody. Both my mom and sister take a synthetic thyroid hormone every day, but it’s a pain whenever they have to have exams and are required to be off it for any amount of time. Plus the tests and treatments for this type of cancer are very unpleasant. My mom and sister have both had their thyroids removed and my sister half of her lymph nodes too. They’ve each underwent high dosages of radioactive iodine treatments which involves being quarantined for some time depending on the dose. And large needles in the neck are never a feel good treatment.
When I was having a hard time keeping up with my blog, it was because I had a doctor recommend I get tested due to my family history. I had my bloodwork done, and so far so good for my thyroid levels, but I hope and pray my sister recovers sooner than later and that is be gone for good.
Thanks again for sending this out, I hope everyone you sent it to reads it and takes that simple precaution of asking about the thyroid guard. Did you know, I had no idea about it either? Pretty scary.

This really is a serious problem, but in all the years I’ve gone to dentists, I’ve never noticed or had anyone point out a thyroid guard. I forwarded the information to friends and relatives everywhere, and I’d suggest you do likewise. However, one article I read stated that the thyroid guard might not be appropriate in all situations and suggested that you discuss it with your doctor or dentist before an x-ray is taken.


clip_image001David N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. Since his retirement from insurance a few years ago, he has devoted his time to helping Kristen Lamb start Warrior Writers’ Boot Camp and trying to learn to write a successful novel himself.


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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8 Responses to Silent Enemy

  1. Pingback: January 2012 Departmental Mash-Up of Awesomeness « Lessons From Teachers and Twits

  2. A good warning, David. Reminds me of the rule of looking after an old car, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.



  3. This is so important and really has me wondering why women have to ask for the neck shield. A friend just e-mailed me this week and told me about the Dr. Oz show. Coincidentally she was going for a mammogram the following day and asked about it. The nurse gave her the shield and when my friend asked why she had to request it, the nurse just said that’s the way they do it. How much sense does that make? Thank you to you and Dr. OZ!!!


  4. You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by.


  5. Glad to have made you aware of this, Renee. You’re too precious to lose.


  6. As I wrote you when you emailed me about this, I had never heard about the neck guard either. And I’m going to the dentist on today! I’m guess who’s due for x-rays? I may just refuse them outright. My FIL, a former dentist, said that once wisdom teeth have erupted (or been removed) there is little need for dental x-rays – unless someone is in pain, and that more harm than good comes from the exposure to the radiation over time.

    I think it is time I started listening to him! (Not that I wasn’t before, but he has said it is unnecessary to get them every 2 years, as most dentists request. I go 3 years, but I’m thinking I could go longer. And when I get them, I need to ask for that neck guard!

    Thanks for the info!


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