Intended for healthcare professionals


Radiography risks . . . and other stories

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 03 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l5720

Radiography and cancer

High energy radiation damages DNA and causes cancer. Even transient exposures, of the sort experienced during diagnostic radiographs, are potentially harmful. In a population based study of more than 12 million South Koreans aged 0 to 19, the incidence of cancer was 60% higher among those who had been exposed to diagnostic radiation than among those who hadn’t been exposed (JAMA Netw Open doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10584). Although this is a substantial increase, it’s hard to interpret because there was no information about the reason for the radiograph, which might have been to investigate symptoms related to the subsequent diagnosis …

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