Uncertainty, mammograms, and iodine–what do these things have in common?

August 10, 2013

IMG_3213As I looked at my grandson splashing about in the lake, I thought about the upcoming annual mammogram appointment. Last year, I had to go back for follow-up. That turned out to be an ultrasound and the ‘all clear’. More than ten years ago, I had a follow-up that required a needle biopsy but also worked its way to the ‘all clear’ signal. Because it had been so long ago, I wouldn’t say that I took my screening outcome for granted, but I didn’t feel uncertain about it the way that I did this year because of last year’s ‘call-back’.

I did a little research to settle my uncertainty while the days passed and I waited for my appointment. I searched for published science about what causes breast cysts. In one word, I came upon research linking iodine deficiency to breast cysts and a whole lot of other issues summarized by a physician in this Psychology Today article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/complementary-medicine/201108/iodine-deficiency-old-epidemic-is-back

Here is an example of one of the published research studies related to iodine deficiency and breast cysts: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1008925301459#page-1 

I will be asking my primary care physician this week if I have iodine deficiency. In the meantime, while the technician took an additional x-ray picture at the screening, I did not get a call-back, and I did get a letter from the mammography site giving me the ‘all clear’ based on the screening.

It is interesting to ponder if this is a case of unintended consequences associated with communicating about the danger of consuming salt, which has been iodized to compensate for iodine deficiences noted in the 20th century.

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One Response to “Uncertainty, mammograms, and iodine–what do these things have in common?”

  1. Talking About Health; Why Health Communication Matters says:

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