In the last few years, there has been much media speculation and sensationalization around increased risks of cancer for children who undergo radiological exams. As a concerned parent, you want what’s best for your children and want to keep them safe.
There are several things to take into consideration when your child is slated to have an X-ray.
- The amount of radiation used in X-rays is lower than the amounts of background, environmental radiation children are exposed to on a regular basis. We are exposed to low-frequency (non-ionizing) and high-frequency (ionizing) radiation daily. This comes from sound and radio waves, microwave ovens, sun rays, and radon in the soil. Diagnostic imaging is a form of ionizing radiation, and although it is a higher frequency, occasional X-rays don’t expose your child to a much greater amount of radiation than they would encounter over time.
- X-rays involve extremely low doses of radiation. One American Heart Association study of 337 6-year-old children found that the radiation from standard X-rays is low enough that it does not raise lifetime cancer risks for average children. By comparison, CT scans expose patients to 200 times the levels of radiation from X-rays. In many cases, an X-ray will suffice instead of a CT scan, or non-radiation imaging such as an MRI can even be used. It is true that little bodies are affected more by radiation. So in other words, if the imaging machinery is set to the adult levels of radiation needed to produce the images, that amount of radiation will affect children more than adults. This should not to be cause for concern though, because we are able to calibrate the settings to a child-appropriate level of radiation, decreasing any potential risks. If you are concerned, you can ask if the imaging equipment is set up for children. Hopefully this will ease your mind.
- Know that our doctors weigh the risk of exposure to radiation against the risk of more immediate health concerns. There are many situations that warrant the evaluation of radiological exams for children. Depending on the situation, our doctors will expose your child to the lowest amount of radiation possible. We only utilize radiological procedures when they are absolutely necessary to diagnose your child’s condition.
Most importantly, keep in mind that the levels of radiation associated with being X-rayed are so low that there is virtually no risk of adverse effect to your child’s health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will both help prevent illness and injury for your children and help ensure they recover well when illness or injury do strike. There is no need to fear X-rays in relation to your child’s health.
Dr. Stickle is a board-certified radiologist and is fellowship trained in musculoskeletal radiology. Who better to administer your family’s X-ray exams? Request an appointment online or call (561) 795-5558 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stickle or one of our other radiology specialists today. We offer three convenient locations in Wellington, Belle Glade, and Lake Worth to better serve you.