Routine Checkups Expose Patients to Heavy Radiation

      December 21, 2015 13:12

      Even one excessively thorough medical checkup can expose people to the same amount of X-rays they are exposed to daily over 11 years.

      A research team led by Kim Moo-young at Seoul Medical Center analyzed the X-ray radiation doses a person is exposed to when going through medical checkup packages at 296 hospitals and clinics across the country.

      They found that a person selecting a basic package will be exposed to 2.49 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation.

      A chest X-ray exposes a patient to 0.02 mSv, mammography 0.27 mSv, and chest computerized tomography 8 mSv.

      The more optional screenings patients choose, the more radiation exposure they get. In some more comprehensive packages, a patient can be exposed to radiation of up to 40 mSv.

      Considering that the annual average radiation exposure is 3.6 mSv in Korea, one medical checkup can deliver up to 11 years' worth of radiation in just one day.

      The International Commission on Radiological Protection recommends exposure to annual doses of 1 mSv or under.

      The researchers said there is a definite rise in the cancer risk when a person is exposed to 100 mSv or more, but there are still disputes over the impact of doses under 100 mSv.

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