X rays give off low, safe levels of radiation. However, it is true that excessive x-rays do increase the risk of cancer over a lifetime. There’s no set amount that is “too much,” however. Some people can take very large doses of radiation and not get cancer, and others are going to get cancer no matter how many x-rays they have due to genetics or other factors. I would say go ahead and get the x ray since a broken bone is a more immediate concern than a possiblity of cancer down the road.
A study titled “Biological Effects of Ioninzig Radiation (BEIR) VII” found that cellular injury can result from even very low doses of radiation. Low doses were defined as being between “near zero” and “about 100 milliSieverts,” which is 10x the equivalent of a CT scan and 1,000x the equivalent of a mammogram. The study also found that women and children are more at risk for developing cancer after exposure to radiation.
X-rays are a form of ionizing radiation, which are proven to be carcinogenic. Single x-ray imaging is unlikely to give lethal doses of radiation but care should still be taken, especially around young children whose bodies are especially sensitive to radiation. Despite the small dosage of radiation given by x-ray imaging, we receive so much daily ionizing radiation from natural sources such ascosmic rays and radioactive elements in our soil that radiation exposure quickly adds up. Therefore, we want to limit ourselves from radiation as much as possible – too much x-rays have the possibility of increasing our risk of cancer for sure.
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