X-rays are an important part of the medical field when it comes to determining whether or not people have broken bones, blood clots, tumors, cavities and other medical conditions. X-rays are used commonly across the country by millions of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel. X-rays have helped to save lives over the past handful of decades by detecting tumors at an early stage. X-rays have also helped doctors determine the proper course of treatment for cancer patients and patients who have broken, shattered, or fractured bones. It is important though for doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel to examine each use of an x-ray on a patient so that the patient is not exposed to a large amount of cumulative radiation during their lifetime.
Hundreds of studies have been conducted over the past couple of decades regarding x-rays and the effect that radiation exposure has on the health of patients. Many of the studies have concluded that exposure to radiation does not increase the risk of developing cancer. Studies have found that there is no difference in the radiation people get from nature and the radiation people are exposed to by x-rays in terms of causing problems within the body or developing cancer. There are, on the other hand, two major hazards caused by exposure to x-rays. The two hazards caused by exposure to x-rays include the following:
- Damage to some cells: only a small amount of cells can be damaged and they will die prematurely.
- Genetic damage to reproductive cells: damage to an ovum in a woman or a sperm cell in a man can lead to a deformed baby or a miscarriage.
The cells in unborn children are growing rapidly, which means that they are incredibly sensitive to radiation from x-rays. The dose of radiation that an unborn child can be subjected to is regulated by United States Federal standards. The standards say that unborn children cannot be exposed to more than 0.5 rem during a nine month pregnancy. In layman’s terms, that number would equate to 10 x-rays during the pregnancy. Typically, a pregnant woman would not need 10 x-rays unless she was suffering from a serious medical condition or ailment. On the other side of things, dental x-rays should not affect the pregnancy of a woman because the x-rays are seriously focused on one area of the body and are at least 1/3 of the strength of a normal x-ray.
Studies regarding x-rays and the risk of developing cancer or suffering from cancer-related death show that patients will not experience an increase in the risk of developing cancer. In fact, studies show that it would take 300 x-rays in one calendar year for a patient’s risk to develop cancer to rise to one percent. There are not many people that need 300 x-rays in one calendar year, especially since doctors will determine whether or not the x-rays scheduled are actually needed for the patient. The doctor will be able to determine if the patient’s condition actually warrants an x-ray or if the patient’s condition can be cured with antibiotics.