September 17, 2010
NH Open Doors Weekend__________
Discover New Hampshire’s cre- ativity and traditions and shop for NH-made Products during NH Open Doors Weekend
Fall statewide touring and shop- ping event,November 6-7.
This fall, people of all ages are invited to experience the cre- ativity and timeless traditions of New Hampshire during NH Open Doors, a statewide, week- end-long touring and shopping event.
Critics of the health care industry postulate that our society's quickness to test for disease may in fact be causing more of it, especially in the case of medical scans. The radiation dose from a typical CT scan is 600 times more powerful than the average chest x-ray. -Courtesy Getty Images
During November 6 and 7, more than 150 New Hampshire artists, craftspeople, cultural organizations, retail shops, wineries, restaurants, lodging establishments and businesses will open their doors to the pub- lic, showcasing the best that New Hampshire has to offer. To help visitors plan their self- guided tour, the NH Open Doors website – www.NHOpenDoors.com
– will feature an interactive map list- ing participants by region. Each listing will describe what each participant will be offering, and a custom-designed Google map showing the location of each
Dear EarthTalk: Should I fear
“Physicians and their patients cannot be complacent about the hazards of radiation or we risk creating a public-health time bomb,” says Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist at University of California-San Francisco. “To avoid unnecessarily increasing cancer incidence in future years, every clinician must carefully assess the expected benefits of each CT scan and fully inform his or her patients of the known risks of radiation.”
radiation exposure associated with medical scans such as CT scans, mammograms and the like?
The short answer is…maybe. Critics of the health care indus- try postulate that our society’s quickness to test for disease may in fact be causing more of it, especially in the case of med- ical scans. To wit, the radiation dose from a typical CT scan (short for computed tomogra- phy and commonly known as a “cat scan”) is 600 times more powerful than the average chest x-ray.
-- Shelly Johansen, Fairbanks, AK
A 2007 study by Dr. Amy Berrington de González of the National Cancer Institute pro- jected that the 72 million CT scans conducted yearly in the U.S. (not including scans con- ducted after a cancer diagnosis or performed at the end of life) will likely cause some 29,000 cancers resulting in 15,000 deaths two to three decades later. Scans of the abdomen, pelvis, chest and head were deemed most likely to cause cancer, and patients aged 35 to 54 were more likely to develop cancer as a result of CT scans than other age group.
Another study found that, among Americans who received CT scans, upwards of 20 per- cent had a false positive after one scan and 33 percent after two, meaning that such patients were getting huge doses of radi- ation without cause. And about seven percent of those patients underwent unnecessary invasive medical procedures following their misleading scans. CT scans are much more common today than in earlier decades, exacerbating the potential dam- age from false positives and excessive radiation exposure.
CT scans are not the only con- cern. Mammograms are now routine for women over 40 years old. But some studies suggest that these types of screenings may cause more cancers than they prevent. Because of this, the federally funded U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends that women not otherwise considered high risk for breast cancer wait until age 50 to begin getting mammo- grams—and then to get them every two years instead of annu- ally. However, the American Cancer Society argues that such restraint would result in women dying unnecessarily from delay- ing screenings.
Women with a family history of breast cancer may be at greatest risk. Researchers from the University Medical Center
Groningen in the Netherlands found that five or more x-rays— or any exposure to radiation— before the age of 20 for “high risk” women increased the like- lihood of developing breast can- cer later by a factor of two and a half.
Story continues on page A19
Individuals should ask tough questions of their physicians to determine if and how much screening is absolutely neces- sary to look for suspected abnormalities. Our knowledge of the risks of radiation-based screenings will only help us to make more informed decisions about our health.
CONTACTS: National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov
; American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org
; University Medical Center Groningen, www.umcg.nl
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Marion King and her family of Wentworth, NH, have donated a beautiful granite bench to the activities yard at Grafton County Nursing Home (GCNH) in memory of her husband John, who passed away here this summer. There also will be a shrub planted to adorn the place. The activity yard is slowly being turned into a wonderful memorial garden. -Courtesy Photo
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