X-rays have been around for over a century. Presently, they are the most common medical imaging techniques in use, and they’re powerful. However, even though X-rays are safe, there are still some myths surrounding them. But this is not surprising as radiation is an emotive word.
The truth is that there’s no need to worry. X-rays have many benefits, benefits that outweigh their very negligible potential risk.
In this article, we will discuss 5 popular myths of x-ray radiation.
Overview of X-ray & Radiation
An X-ray is a form of imaging test that has been around for decades. With an x-ray, your doctor can see what’s inside your body without doing an incision. By seeing what’s happening inside your body, your doctor can diagnose your medical condition, and also treat as many medical conditions as possible.
There are different kinds of x-rays, and each has a unique purpose. For instance, a mammogram is used for breast examination. Some doctors may ask that you do an x-ray using a barium enema to have a better view of your digestive tract.
Of course, like every other thing, undergoing an x-ray does have a couple of risks. However, there are far more benefits than there are risks. You must discuss with your doctor to know what is best for you.
Why Do You Need an X-ray?
There are several reasons why your doctor may order an x-ray. He or she may order one to:
Medical conditions that may require an x-ray include:
5 Myths About X-rays Debunked
Myth 1: X-rays are cancerous
Frankly, x-rays are somewhat harmful. As they move through your body, they can cause damage to the DNA that is written in your cells.
Studies have shown that the alteration of these DNAs can lead to cancer. However, the amount of radiation that you receive during a medical examination can be compared to the amount you’re exposed to daily in your environment.
X-rays can emanate from sources like cosmic rays, radon gas, and even from food. People who fly in a plane usually receive three times the amount of radiation from an x-ray examination.
But this isn’t something you should worry about. If you were to undergo dental x-rays twice yearly for the rest of your life, then your risk of having cancer would only increase by 1/100th of a percent.
Myth 2: X-ray radiation causes infertility
Modern machines used in x-ray examinations emit a very small dose of radiation. There are no medical studies or documented cases establishing a link between exposure to small amounts of x-ray radiation and infertility.
To be on the safer side though, you must do your examinations in a reputable diagnostic center. These centers usually have expert radiologists who will supervise your examination strictly, and ensure that you are not exposed to high doses of radiation.
Myth 3: Medical scanners are dangerous
Yes. CT scans, medical scanners, and airport scanners emit small amounts of radiation. But then, they have negligible health risks. You see, if your doctor recommends a scan, then it means that the benefits outweigh the risks.
An airport scanner doesn’t deliver more than 0.00002 mSv. On average, you’re exposed to around 2.4 mSv of radiation every year from breathing, eating, and walking around.
Myth 4: X-ray radiation can cause people to become radioactive
Whatever negligible amount of radiation we’re exposed to does not remain in our body. It passes out. So, your body can’t become radioactive.
Myth 5: X-rays are outdated
X-ray technology is still needed in the medical field. It is an important tool for diagnostic imaging. X-rays are not harmful. In fact, without it, there would be many cases of misdiagnosis and even death in our health facilities.