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No, X-Rays Are Not Harmful! Here Are Some Facts To Prove It

Doctor standing near the x ray scan machine and holding X ray report
Anderson Team
March 20, 2020
Est. Reading: 3 minutes

Doctors and healthcare practitioners have been using X-rays for over a century to diagnose patients. As of today, they are the most powerful tools doctors have around the world to find out what is wrong with a person’s health. They are also the most prevalent medical imaging technique used.

While it is true that the first versions of X-Rays (used about 100 years ago) were a little iffy, modern-day machines are very, very safe. Thanks to advancements in technology, present X-rays give out a minute amount of radiation.

Read Also: All You Need to Know About Gene Therapy and Genetic Counselling

Even though technology has made X-rays safer, there is still a lot of misinformation out there. People believe in myths and untruths and therefore decide not to undergo an X-Ray. In this article, we bust those myths once and for all.

What Are X-Rays?

Before we dive into X-rays facts, let’s understand what they are. An X-ray is a high-energy radiation. It can penetrate clothes, body tissue, and even internal organs. While X-rays do pass through fat and muscles, they cannot pass through dense material inside the body like our bones.

So, when an x-ray of a patient is taken, all the denser material creates a shadow on the film. It is these shadows that doctors assess to diagnose a person. Essentially, a healthcare practitioner can find out what is going on inside a body through an X-ray without cutting it open!

Common Myths About X-Rays And The Real Truth

  • Myth: You can get cancer through X-Rays.
  • Truth: No, the dosage is too small for it.

Doctor checking patient hand with x ray machineThe most common misbelief about X-Rays is that you can get cancer because of it. This is not true. The dosage of radiation you receive in a single examination is as small as the radiation you get from your everyday environments such as food, cosmic rays, and radon gas. Rather, flying in a plane gives you three times the radiation that an average x-ray examination will expose you to!

Thus, put your mind at ease. Even if you get two dental X-rays every year for all your life, the chances of you getting cancer are infinitesimal.

  • Myth: You can get radioactive through X-Rays.
  • Truth: There is no lingering radiation.

The very nature of X-rays is to pass through the body, meaning they do not stick around in your body. As a result, you cannot expose other people to radiation after your own examination! The only way you can be radioactive is if you swallow a radiation source.

For the purpose of clarity, we should specify that some foods like fruits and vegetables can absorb radioactive chemicals from the soil. If you eat these foods, your saliva and some other body fluids do become radioactive, but it is a negligible amount.

  • Myth: All X-Ray scanners are harmful.
  • Truth: The exposure is very slight and not dangerous at all.

Image of CT scannerMedical scanners like CT scans are not the only machine that uses X-Rays. Airport scanners are another conventional device that utilizes them. People think that all these scanners are harmful to us. The truth is that the amount of radiation they give out is insignificant.

For instance, a scanner at the airport gives 0.00002 mSv radiation, while the background radiation we get in a year by devices, food, and environment around us is typically 2.4 mS!
As long as you don’t opt for leisure scans, there is no danger to your health. Leisure scans are private X-rays that hale and hearty people get just to make sure that nothing may be wrong with them. These scans, done yearly, expose a person to about 10mSv, which is equal to the background radiation of five years!

  • Myth: You can become infertile through X-Rays
  • Truth: There is no scientific evidence of it.

Till now, there are no known cases of infertility due to X-rays and studies have shown that the effect on fertility is almost zero. That said, X-Ray tests are not allowed when a woman is pregnant as it exposes the fetus to a very high dosage of radiation. This can lead to malformations, restricted growth, and even miscarriage.

Summarising X-Rays And Their Effect

Anderson Diagnostics, a renowned diagnostic services centre in Chennai for all scanning and imaging solutions, has tested over one lakh patients in the last 10 years. In our vast experience, we know that the negligible side effects of X-rays far outweigh their benefits. With experienced senior doctors and technicians, like the ones we have, X-Rays are safe as houses for patients. Instead, they help you get better faster by detecting what is wrong in an easy, quick & precise manner.


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