X-ray Safety for Children: How safe is it?

A vast majority of the western world has had an X-ray taken at one point or another. X-rays help provide vital information to doctors on how to treat their patients. That said, X-rays use ionizing radiation which can increase the risk of cancer even in low doses.

When performing an X-ray exam on a child, healthcare professionals must use this technology carefully. Although the risks associated with diagnostic X-rays are small, particularly compared to the benefits of early diagnosis, healthcare professionals have to be especially cautious when it comes to children. Pediatric patients, in most cases, require less radiation than adults to acquire a quality X-ray image.

 

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the average child now gets seven scans that rely heavily on radiation before the age of 18.  X-ray scans are without a doubt helpful and in many cases, lifesavers, but we must ask the question, are they necessary?  Unless a patient needs one, especially a child, using X-rays may not be the first option of choice.

“No patients should be exposed to more radiation than they need at any age,” says pediatric radiologist Marta Hernanz-Schulman, MD, chair of the American College of Radiology’s Pediatric Imaging Commission. With the development of new X-ray technology, less radiation will be the key factor in introducing a new way to obtain images and reduce the risk of radiation exposure successfully.

A study at UC Berkeley has linked diagnostic X-rays to an increased risk of leukemia in children.  As quoted in the study “researchers found that children with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL) had almost twice the chance of having been exposed to three or more X-rays, compared to children who did not have leukemia.”

Precisely 827 children up 15 years old who were diagnosed with ALL or AML (acute myeloid leukemia) participated in the study. Society is in need of a safe X-ray technology that allows for more frequent use without the fear of radiation.

Although the connection between high amounts of radiation and cancer is recognized, there is still considerable debate regarding how low amounts of radiation affects one’s health. These forms of radiation came from both standard X-rays and radiographs.

At Luxbright, we are working on creating a technology that reduces the amount of radiation. Everyone, regardless of age, should be able to obtain safer diagnostic X-rays. Continue to follow our journey here and on social media.

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