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Risks From Radiation Treatment

Risks From Radiation Treatment

When it comes to radiation imaging and radiation treatment, there has been rising concern over possible risks, leading some patients to neglect to participate in scans and treatments that could lead to the overall improvement of their health.

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If you’re worried about the risks of radiotherapy and radiology scans, this information will help.

What Is Radiation Treatment?

While radiation therapy is a treatment used to decrease or eliminate the detrimental effects of medical conditions like cancer, blood disorders, thyroid disease or noncancerous growths, radiological scans like X-rays and CT scans are used to search for and diagnose cancer, tumors, blockages, broken bones and other conditions.

Both methods use radiation for their respective purposes — either to target and eliminate dangerous cells or to take images with the help of electromagnetic radiation waves. Because of their employment of modest amounts of radiation — which, in very large doses, can be dangerous to the human body — both radiation therapy and radiological scans are often a source of concern when it comes to potential health risks.

What Are the Risks of Radiotherapy?

When the body absorbs radiation, the exposure can cause damage to molecular structures and potentially lead to physical harm, which is why some are concerned with receiving radiation treatment or undergoing radiological scans. However, the damage that can occur as a result of radiation — including skin burns, hair loss and theoretically increased cancer risk — only happens in the case of exposure to very high doses of radiation.

When it comes to the low doses of radiation used in radiological imaging and radiation treatment, there’s little to no increased risk of cancer. In fact, a patient’s chance of developing cancer following a radiation treatment is only 1 in 2,000 — meaning there is a 99.9995 percent chance of not developing any adverse conditions from medical radiation. In comparison, the average American has a much higher percentage chance of dying of appendicitis — 1 in 263 — or developing lung cancer — 1 in 714 — than suffering from any radiation therapy side effects.

It’s also important to understand the difference between external and internal radiation exposure. While many patients are concerned with the possibility of retaining radiation within their bodies after a radiological scan or radiotherapy session, these procedures are forms of external exposure, which only submit the body to penetrating radiation that passes straight through.

Internal exposure, on the other hand, occurs when a person comes into contact with radioactive material — through direct inhalation, ingestion or physical contact — and is much more dangerous. While internal exposure is likely to have hazardous risks, it never occurs in medical procedures, and the external exposure of radiation treatment poses very little risk.

Come to ADI for Reliable Radiology

Now that you’re confident about the relative safety of radiation therapy and radiology, you’ll want to be just as comfortable with the professionals performing your procedure. Offering compassionate care and a background of comprehensive experience, Adams Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) provides the top radiologists to expertly administer radiological imaging services. Contact us today to get more information or arrange an appointment.