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Q. Can radiation exposure during x-ray cause cancer?

Answered by
Dr. Kumar Indubhushan Sureshprasad
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 20, 2015 and last reviewed on: Feb 06, 2019

Hi doctor,

I am an 18 year old male. I am obese with weight more than 130 kg. I got plenty of tests done in a single year. Last year, I got my CT scan of full abdomen followed by five chest x-rays. One CT scan of the brain plain and bone densitometry (DEXA) scan in June and a CT PNS yesterday. Now I am scared to go and meet a doctor. I am absolutely worried about getting cancer because I had received a very great amount of radiation with repeated scans and x-rays. Please help.

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#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

X-ray and CT scan uses ionizing radiation. Though these are harmful rays, in diagnostic radiology it is generally safe for the patients.

Though you have undergone many investigations it is well below the maximum allowable safe dose for the patient.

Amount of radiation delivered to the patient varies with the organ for which imaging is done like an x-ray of L/S (lumbosacral) spine causes maximum radiation during an x-ray. It depends on the voltage and milliampere used during taking x-rays.

  1. Chest x-ray may deliver 0.1 mSv.
  2. CT exposure also varies with an organ like CT brain may deliver 2.0 mSv whereas CT abdomen may deliver 8.0 mSv radiations.
  3. Nowadays, CT scan uses spiral technology and it delivers very less radiation as compared to the previous one.

Please do not worry about radiation hazard; the total added dose is far below the maximum allowable dose. There is almost no chance of cancer due to radiation.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply. I am getting headache, fever and some fatigue. Is it alright or something serious?

#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Generally, fever and headache are due to viral infection. You may need symptomatic treatment like antipyretics (Paracetamol), antihistamines (Cetirizine).

  1. You may also need clinical correlation and routine investigations.
  2. Investigations include routine hemogram, MP (malarial parasite), widal test, etc.
  3. You may need to take antibiotics after assessment.

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