X-rays, one of the most common diagnostic tools used by medical providers, have come a long way since its first use over 100 years ago. Along the way, x-rays gained a bad rep due to being labeled as a carcinogen, which carries a risk of cancer. But are x-rays as unsafe as some fear?
The short answer is no…and yes. All three types of x-rays including radiography, the most common type which emits the lowest amount of radiation, carry a certain risk of cancer. CT scans, which emit the highest amount of radiation, are responsible for an estimated 0.4 percent of cancers in the United States. Those risks are tripled in children which is why pregnant women should always inform their radiographer or medical provider of their condition before undergoing an x-ray of any type.
Though all types of x-rays carry a certain risk of cancer, the risk is quite low compared to other carcinogens. Medical experts agree that the benefits of x-rays far outweigh the risks. For a more in-depth look at the risks and safety of x-rays, check out this excellent article by Medical News Today.