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How Many X-tays (ct Scans, Pet Scans, Fluoroscopy) Have You Had?


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Just wondering how many x-rays or other forms of radiation exposure you all have had. I know I've had a lot due to this illness as well as other medical problems. Does anyone know the risks of too many x-rays? Does it really increase your chance of getting cancer?

I've had...

several dental x-rays

5 mammograms

2 abdominal x-rays

1 ct scan of abdomen

3 ct scans of neck

maybe 10 chest x-rays

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Jennifer,

the dose of radiation for different radiological tests can be very different. E.g. one abdominal X-ray is about equivalent to 50 Chest X-rays. It depends on what area of the body is being imaged - more dense structures (like the abdomen) need a higher intensity of X-ray beam to penetrate them. Barium studies, angiograms and CT scans have higher doses of radiation.

The dose of radiation is measured in milisieverts. You could probably do an internet search to find out the average doses used for different investigations. When ordering investigations the doctor should ablways be balancing the radiation risk against the diagnostic value of the test.

Flop

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Guest Eliza

Hi Jennifer,

I can say that I have had so many xrays and scans that they are too numerous to count. I know I usually get around 10 a year for one reason or another. Most of the machines are designed to put out the least amount of radiation needed for the test and a lot depends on your body size and the depth of penetration needed.

One thing you could do is talk to your doctor about choosing "non radiation" exams when possible.....like ultrasounds or MRI's. Typically the most concerning area is your THYROID....you want to protect that as much as possible since radiation affects it very easily. You can ask the xray technician to "protect" your thyroid with a lead shield EVERY time you have an xray.

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I've had too many scans to list. Probably at least a CT scan a year, plus a yearly mamogram, plus a chest x ray every time I've had a major upper respiratory infection, 2 full gi series, 16 hours of PET scanning (at NIH), and a multitude of MRIs' of my head and spine. I'm leaving out a few others like the gazillion mouth x-rays b/c of my missing portion of jaw bone that was grafted, and of course, my Dexa scan for osteoporosis that needs to be redone.

At this point, I ought to be glowing in the dark. :)

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Thanks for the replies. I guess I can't undo the x-rays and scans, but I will more careful in the future. The reason I started worrying is that I ended up in the ER this weekend for dehydration due to a stomach bug. The doctor did 2 abdominal x-rays. I knew the x-rays were stupid and unnecessary and almost refused, but then I didn't want to be noncompliant so I went ahead and let them do it. I was so miserable I didn't feel like arguing. Anyway, I'm sure I missed an x-ray or two in my list so I should probably be glowing too.

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Jennifer,

I wouldn't worry too much about about the abdo x-rays, plain films are much less radiation than CT scans/other tests.

A polite way of questioning tests would be to say "is the test really needed, I'm worried I've had a lot of radiation exposure already?" sometimes alternatives like MRI or ultrasound can be used but if you need the test don't be afraid to have it.

I've had 2 CTs this year already.

Flop

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