Can Xrays Cause Cancer

Naturally occurring radiation is constantly all around us, in the ground, the soil, and the water. This means that we are exposed to radiation every day. X-ray technology, which is a form of controlled natural radiation, is used for medical imaging tests. It is believed that the type of radiation used in X-rays may be associated with increased risk of cancer, but only in higher doses. More information on X-rays and the potential risk associated with the scans are provided below.

Why Are X-Rays Used?

X-ray technology is commonly used in medicine and dental practice to take pictures of the inside of the body. If you have unusual symptoms, your provider will order an X-ray to help visualize what irregularities may be going on. With the X-ray images, the provider will be able to diagnose a condition and plan a course of treatment with confidence. The X-rays that are used for medical purposes only expose patients to a very small amounts of radiation. However, with X-ray imaging tests being used more frequently for many purposes, people are becoming more concerned about the possible risks of radiation exposure.

What Are The Risks from Different Types of X-rays?

There are several different types of medical imaging that use X-ray technology. Each type of imaging poses a different risk due to the different amounts of X-rays used and the area of the body being scanned. Here are a few examples of different medical images:
Radiographs: A radiograph is the simplest type of X-ray and provides a quick static image of the body. Simple X-rays use very little radiation and there is no evidence of increased risk of cancer in people who’ve received very low doses of radiation from basic X-rays.

Computed tomographic (CT) scans: CT scans are 3-D pictures of the organs and other tissues. CT scans use higher doses of radiation than most other types of imaging tests and therefore may lead to a slightly increased risk of cancer. Experts agree that CT scans should only be ordered when medically necessary.

Positron emission tomography (PET) scans: PET scans use gamma rays, which have a higher energy than basic X-rays. Instead of a snapshot of an organ, PET scans show an organ as its functioning. Prior to the test, a small amount of radioactive material needs to be injected into or swallowed by the patient.

Dental X-rays: Dental X-rays are very similar to radiographs. The amount of radiation used in a dental X-ray is very low. Today, the radiation dose of dental X-rays is even lower thanks to digital X-rays and more precise beams.

How You’re Protected During X-rays

Medical professionals and dental providers take several steps to limit the amount of radiation you’re exposed to during X-rays. The following are used to help protect you from radiation exposure:
* Only ordering X-ray imaging that is considered medically necessary
* Opting for the imaging with the lowest radiation dose
* Using digital X-ray technology and X-ray beam filters
* Limiting the area being X-rayed or scanned
* Placing shielding devices on the body to protect organs

How Harmful Are Xrays