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Obese Get Higher Doses of Radiation for X-Rays
Date:6/30/2009

ill small and probably not dangerous. However, were you to do repeated X-rays at 40 times the regular dose, eventually the additive effect could be dangerous because your body never forgets an X-ray. It's cumulative over time. So the more you do over a lifetime, the more you have a chance of causing cancer due to radiation exposure."

Dr. Raul N. Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital and an assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, noted that doctors dealing with overweight patients are caught between a rock and a hard place because of the absence of definitive information about long-term side effects of high-dose radiation.

"The image quality among obese patients is not sufficient unless something is done to adjust exposure upwards to deal with the problem," he noted. "That is a bottom line. But, of course, we're always trying to balance what's safe with what's needed. So certainly I think, when you have no other option but to increase dosage exposure, you do want to come back and monitor these patients and see if their risk of cancer is any higher. Ultimately, that's the critical information needed to determine what dosages are, in fact, safe."

More information

The Radiological Society of North America has more on radiation exposure in X-rays.



SOURCES: Jacquelyn C. Yanch, Ph.D., professor, department of nuclear science and engineering and department of biological engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.; Levon Nazarian, M.D., professor, radiology, and vice chairman, education, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia; Raul N. Uppot, M.D., radiologist, Massachusetts General Hospital, and assistant professor, radiology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; July 2009, Radiology


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