Q. Is it necessary and safe to take a chest x-ray every year?

Answered by
Dr. Hira Chaudhry
and medically reviewed by Dr. K Shobana
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 20, 2021

Hi doctor,

I was a chronic smoker, and I had quit smoking ten years ago. I used to smoke a pack for a day. My last chest x-ray was taken three years ago. But yearly chest x-ray is mandatory at my company's medical checkup. Do I need it now?




Welcome to

Chest x-rays are beneficial to check for suspected lung or heart disease, especially for people over the age of 50. I understand your concern is about radiation exposure. However, the benefits outweigh the risks. The amount of radiation that you are exposed to during chest x-rays is very low.

Therefore, a yearly x-ray would help diagnose any symptomatic or asymptomatic illnesses. So, I would recommend getting it done along with your annual complete medical check-up.

Have a great day ahead, and stay safe.


Thank you doctor,

Actually, I am checking my records and I had a chest x-ray two and a half months ago. Is it worth taking a CT chest sometimes or does only an X-ray show findings? Thanks.



Welcome back to

Greetings. Computed tomography or CT scan is done when the X-ray findings are inconclusive or there are signs of illness in the organs of the chest. It should only be done when your physician recommends it. Unlike X-ray, a CT scan takes several images of the chest clearly. However, you might be asked to ingest a dye before the test. Therefore, it is important to tell your physician about your current and past medical history in detail including allergies and any medication you are currently taking as they can react with the dye. So it helps the physician to choose an alternative.

A CT scan is often done to check for unexplained chest pain, blockages or injuries, infections, internal bleeding or tumors, and other lesions. So if your consultant has advised it, it must be a serious cause, otherwise, a chest X-ray would not be sufficient. I hope this clarifies your confusion. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future. Have a great day.

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