Effect of thyroid shielding during mammography: measurements on phantom and patient as well as estimation with Monte Carlo simulation

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Abstract

Background: During mammography, the thyroid is exposed to scattered radiation from breast tissue and the device. This may increase the risk of radiation induced thyroid cancer. Methods: We investigated the scatter radiation exposition of the thyroid and the effect of a tailored thyroid protection in phantom and patient as well as by using Monte Carlo simulation (MCS). The protective effect of a modified thyroid protection, the relevance of the protective effect and acceptance by patients have been investigated. Results: Phantom and patient measurements provided higher values for the surface dose at thyroid position than expected from MCS (phantom 0.32 mGy; patients 0.38 mGy; MCS 0.16 mGy). Phantom measurements indicated scatter contributions from both breast tissue and collimator/tube system. The value found in our patient study is within the range of the literature (0.22–0.39 mGy). The thyroid protection significantly reduced the surface dose but the dose (0.016 mGy) was higher than that expected from the lead equivalent value. However, the impact of the collar to the effective dose was small (< 4%). The collar was not visible on mammograms. Conclusions: Scatter from the collimator/tube system contributed with 50% to the thyroid dose. Due to the relative small fraction of dose deposited in the thyroid when compared to the mean glandular dose to the breast, a collar is not mandatory in general. Not being associated with the risk of obscuring parts of mammograms, such a collar may be used for young women considering their higher radio sensitivity.

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Pyka, M., Eschle, P., Sommer, C., Weyland, M. S., Kubik, R., & Scheidegger, S. (2018). Effect of thyroid shielding during mammography: measurements on phantom and patient as well as estimation with Monte Carlo simulation. European Radiology Experimental, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41747-018-0042-9

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