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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2011 Feb;9(2):177-83. doi: 10.1586/erc.10.184.

Radiation exposure from imaging tests: is there an increased cancer risk?

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5111, USA.


The increasing exposure to low-dose radiation from diagnostic testing has prompted renewed interest in evaluating its carcinogenic risk, but quantifying health risk from low-dose radiation exposure remains controversial. The current approach is to adopt the linear non-threshold model, which is commonly applied to high-dose exposure, and apply it to assess risk from low-dose exposure. However, existing data are conflicting and limited to epidemiological studies and/or in vitro analyses. In this article, we will discuss the potential cancer risk from low- and high-dose radiation, their effects on DNA repair response pathways, and the best course of action for patients and providers to minimize risk.

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