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  • BRCA mutation and airport TSA scanners

    My wife has a strong family history of breast cancer (sister, mom, and grandmom). She is BRCA+ s/p mastectomy, hysterectomy, etc. for prevention. We have 2 teenage daughters who have unknown BRCA status. When travelling in airports we have requested pat downs instead of TSA scanner. Recently in an airport TSA was visibly annoyed with us and perhaps understaffed as we waited 35 minutes for pat downs. It felt like were being punished.

    I cant find any data suggesting that TSA scanners pose risk to people with genetic mutations. Nonetheless God forbid my girls are found to be positive I want to know I did everything possible to limit the risk of a mutation.

    When my family speaks on cell phones we use the speaker rather than placing the phone to our ears. An acquaintance of mine died of GBM.

    Im probably crazy. I dont understand the science. But I LOVE my girls and I want to keep them from harm.

    Does anyone know more than I do? Any information or feedback would be welcome.

    Thank you...





  • #2
    Originally posted by evans1 View Post
    My wife has a strong family history of breast cancer (sister, mom, and grandmom). She is BRCA+ s/p mastectomy, hysterectomy, etc. for prevention. We have 2 teenage daughters who have unknown BRCA status. When travelling in airports we have requested pat downs instead of TSA scanner. Recently in an airport TSA was visibly annoyed with us and perhaps understaffed as we waited 35 minutes for pat downs. It felt like were being punished.

    I cant find any data suggesting that TSA scanners pose risk to people with genetic mutations. Nonetheless God forbid my girls are found to be positive I want to know I did everything possible to limit the risk of a mutation.

    When my family speaks on cell phones we use the speaker rather than placing the phone to our ears. An acquaintance of mine died of GBM.

    Im probably crazy. I dont understand the science. But I LOVE my girls and I want to keep them from harm.

    Does anyone know more than I do? Any information or feedback would be welcome.

    Thank you...



    Wouldn't the radiation incurred on an hours long flight far exceed that received in five seconds in the TSA scanner?

    Comment


    • #3
      https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/...lds-fact-sheet
      even handed review of risks.

      Airport scanners do not emit ionizing radiation. It is unclear whether there is any risk from mm wave radiation. Not much evidence that there is.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks afan for the review.

        Comment


        • #5
          The amount of radiation that you are exposed to from an airport scanner is equivalent to 1/100th of a chest x-ray.

          You get about as much radiation from eating a banana as you do from airport scanner.

          Comment


          • #6
            Get precheck - most times go through metal detector.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by wa2106 View Post
              Get precheck - most times go through metal detector.
              This is the right answer especially for OPs peace of mind.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BigoteGrande View Post

                This is the right answer especially for OPs peace of mind.
                Don’t just get PreCheck, get Global Entry. It’s $100 per five years instead of $85 per five years. $3 per family member per annum is well worth it, especially if you cross the Canadian or Mexican border.

                Also might want to get a genetic assay to determine if his daughters have the BRCA mutation. Worrying about it without knowing doesn’t do anyone any good.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Get free global entry with united explorer card and low threshold for points and free bag....and skip the scanner

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by evans1 View Post
                    I dont understand the science. But I LOVE my girls and I want to keep them from harm.
                    Two statements that are both clearly true.

                    But with two teenage daughters, you will soon have many other things to worry about aside from airport scanners.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks everyone. I appreciate your comments. TSA pre check or global entry seems like a good option for us.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hank View Post

                        Don’t just get PreCheck, get Global Entry. It’s $100 per five years instead of $85 per five years. $3 per family member per annum is well worth it, especially if you cross the Canadian or Mexican border.

                        Also might want to get a genetic assay to determine if his daughters have the BRCA mutation. Worrying about it without knowing doesn’t do anyone any good.
                        Actually, if you are going to be crossing the Canadian border with any frequency, get Nexus. And it’s only $50. It includes pre-check and GE. Totally worth it if you live in WA. We have preferentially flown from Vancouver, BC rather than SEA due to airfare around school holidays. Super nice to cross the border in the Nexus lane. Both directions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Finally, it's my time to shine. I run a high-risk clinic.

                          It's not "just a blood test." With real respect to overworked PCPs and GYNs who must straddle well-woman primary care/pregnancy/surgery, this can be complicated. Young people can (and probably should) see a genetic counselor or high-volume specialist to discuss options prior to testing. I see over 500 patients a year for high-risk evaluation, and am part of a multidisciplinary program with genetic counselors, GYN oncologists, etc.

                          Strongly recommend delaying testing teenagers over 18 until one of the following happens:
                          1. they finish school and obtain LIFE INSURANCE first (as much as they can get),
                          2. prior to childbearing IF they would consider prenatal genetic diagnosis (IVF and embryo selection to allow a patient to have a child who does not inherit the BRCA mutation),
                          3. prior to 25, which is when breast MRI screening would start for women with a BRCA mutation, or
                          4. they threaten to run out and do it on their own

                          If education takes longer than 25 years, certainly an option to screen with breast MRI prior to having testing.

                          Sometimes teenagers (esp. young women) can be very headstrong about what is a very emotional decision, but taking a very practical and rational approach can minimize testing regrets.

                          I'm fine with the scanner for what it's worth. Would probably be more agitated about keeping them out of the sun or the **** tanning bed.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Bmac View Post

                            Actually, if you are going to be crossing the Canadian border with any frequency, get Nexus. And it’s only $50. It includes pre-check and GE. Totally worth it if you live in WA. We have preferentially flown from Vancouver, BC rather than SEA due to airfare around school holidays. Super nice to cross the border in the Nexus lane. Both directions.
                            My understanding is that NEXUS (Canada) and SENTRI (Mexico) were subsets of Global Entry, not supersets. Nevertheless, you won't pay too much more to get additional "fast pass" lanes in addition to PreCheck. Plus there are decent travel and perks credit cards that will pay for this for you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PreCancerDoctor View Post
                              Finally, it's my time to shine. I run a high-risk clinic.

                              It's not "just a blood test." With real respect to overworked PCPs and GYNs who must straddle well-woman primary care/pregnancy/surgery, this can be complicated. Young people can (and probably should) see a genetic counselor or high-volume specialist to discuss options prior to testing. I see over 500 patients a year for high-risk evaluation, and am part of a multidisciplinary program with genetic counselors, GYN oncologists, etc.

                              Strongly recommend delaying testing teenagers over 18 until one of the following happens:
                              1. they finish school and obtain LIFE INSURANCE first (as much as they can get),
                              2. prior to childbearing IF they would consider prenatal genetic diagnosis (IVF and embryo selection to allow a patient to have a child who does not inherit the BRCA mutation),
                              3. prior to 25, which is when breast MRI screening would start for women with a BRCA mutation, or
                              4. they threaten to run out and do it on their own

                              If education takes longer than 25 years, certainly an option to screen with breast MRI prior to having testing.

                              Sometimes teenagers (esp. young women) can be very headstrong about what is a very emotional decision, but taking a very practical and rational approach can minimize testing regrets.

                              I'm fine with the scanner for what it's worth. Would probably be more agitated about keeping them out of the sun or the **** tanning bed.
                              Great point about getting life insurance and disability insurance squared away while you're still young and likely don't face much risk from breast cancer or other inheritable diseases that you know you have a higher likelihood of inheriting. Also, tanning beds are right up there with Marlboro unfiltered extra tar cigarettes as far as stupid additional cancer risk with little in their favor on the "cost-benefit ratio".

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