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Br J Radiol. 2014 Mar;87(1035):20130629. doi: 10.1259/bjr.20130629.

What we know and what we don't know about cancer risks associated with radiation doses from radiological imaging.

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Center for Radiological Research, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.


Quantifying radiation-induced cancer risks associated with radiological examinations is not easy, which has resulted in much controversy. We can clarify the situation by distinguishing between higher dose examinations, such as CT, positron emission tomography-CT or fluoroscopically guided interventions, and lower dose "conventional" X-ray examinations. For higher dose examinations, the epidemiological data, from atomic bomb survivors exposed to low doses and from direct epidemiological studies of paediatric CT, are reasonably consistent, suggesting that we do have a reasonable quantitative understanding of the individual risks: in summary, very small but unlikely to be zero. For lower dose examinations, we have very little data, and the situation is much less certain, however, the collective dose from these lower dose examinations is comparatively unimportant from a public health perspective.

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