The U.S. population has nearly one radiographic examination per person per year and concern about cancer risks associated with medical radiation has increased. Radiologic technologists were surveyed to determine whether their personal cumulative exposure to diagnostic x-rays was associated with increased frequencies of chromosome translocations, an established radiation biomarker and possible intermediary suggesting increased cancer risk. Within a large cohort of U. S. radiologic technologists, 150 provided a blood sample for whole chromosome painting and were interviewed about past x-ray examinations. The number and types of examinations reported were converted to a red bone marrow (RBM) dose score with units that approximated 1 mGy. The relationship between dose score and chromosome translocation frequency was assessed using Poisson regression. The estimated mean cumulative RBM radiation dose score was 49 (range 0 – 303). After adjustment for age, translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing RBM dose score with an estimate of 0.004 translocations per 100 cell equivalents per score unit (95% confidence interval 0.002 to 0.007; P < 0.001). Removing extreme values or adjustment for gender, cigarette smoking, occupational radiation dose, allowing practice x-rays while training, work with radioisotopes, and radiotherapy for benign conditions did not affect the estimate. Cumulative radiation exposure from routine x-ray examinations was associated independently with increased chromosome damage, suggesting the possibility of elevated long-term health risks, including cancer. The slope estimate was consistent with expectation based on cytogenetic experience and atomic bomb survivor data.
Radiation exposure; diagnostic x-rays; chromosome translocations; FISH; risk factors
Informative studies of cancer risks associated with medical radiation are difficult to conduct owing to low radiation doses, poor recall of diagnostic X rays, and long intervals before cancers occur. Chromosome aberrations have been associated with increased cancer risk and translocations are a known radiation biomarker. Seventy-nine U.S. radiologic technologists were selected for blood collection, and translocations were enumerated by whole chromosome painting. We developed a dose score to the red bone marrow for medical radiation exposure from X-ray examinations reported by the technologists that they received as patients. Using Poisson regression, we analyzed translocations in relation to the dose scores. Each dose score unit approximated 1 mGy. The estimated mean cumulative red bone marrow radiation dose score was 42 (range 1–265). After adjustment for age, occupational radiation, and radiotherapy for benign conditions, translocation frequencies significantly increased with increasing red bone marrow dose score with an estimate of 0.007 translocations per 100 CEs per score unit (95% CI, 0.002 to 0.013; P = 0.01). Chromosome damage has been linked with elevated cancer risk, and we found that cumulative radiation exposure from medical X-ray examinations was associated with increased numbers of chromosome translocations.
Chromosome translocations are an established biomarker of cumulative exposure to external ionising radiation. Airline pilots are exposed to cosmic ionising radiation, but few flight crew studies have examined translocations in relation to flight experience.
We determined the frequency of translocations in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of 83 airline pilots and 50 comparison subjects (mean age 47 and 46 years, respectively). Translocations were scored in an average of 1039 cell equivalents (CE) per subject using fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH) whole chromo-some painting and expressed per 100 CE. Negative binomial regression models were used to assess the relationship between translocation frequency and exposure status and flight years, adjusting for age, diagnostic x ray procedures, and military flying.
There was no significant difference in the adjusted mean translocation frequency of pilots and comparison subjects (0.37 (SE 0.04) vs 0.38 (SE 0.06) translocations/100 CE, respectively). However, among pilots, the adjusted translocation frequency was significantly associated with flight years (p = 0.01) with rate ratios of 1.06 (95% CI 1.01 to 1.11) and 1.81 (95% CI 1.16 to 2.82) for a 1- and 10-year incremental increase in flight years, respectively. The adjusted rate ratio for pilots in the highest compared to the lowest quartile of flight years was 2.59 (95% CI 1.26 to 5.33).
This data suggests that pilots with long-term flying experience may be exposed to biologically significant doses of ionising radiation. Epidemiological studies with longer follow-up of larger cohorts of pilots with a wide range of radiation exposure levels are needed to clarify the relationship between cosmic radiation exposure and cancer risk.
As genome-wide association studies of breast cancer are replicating findings and refinement studies are narrowing the signal location, additional efforts are necessary to elucidate the underlying functional relationships. One approach is to evaluate variation in risk by genotype based on known breast carcinogens, such as ionizing radiation. Given the public health concerns associated with recent increases in medical radiation exposure, this approach may also identify potentially susceptible sub-populations. We examined interaction between 27 newly identified breast cancer risk alleles (identified within the NCI Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility and the Breast Cancer Association Consortium genome-wide association studies) and occupational and medical diagnostic radiation exposure among 859 cases and 1083 controls nested within the United States Radiologic Technologists cohort. We did not find significant variation in the radiation-related breast cancer risk for the variant in RAD51L1 (rs10483813) on 14q24.1 as we had hypothesized. In exploratory analyses, we found that the radiation-associated breast cancer risk varied significantly by linked markers in 5p12 (rs930395, rs10941679, rs2067980, and rs4415084) in the mitochondrial ribosomal protein S30 (MRPS30) gene (pinteraction=0.04). Chance, however, may explain these findings, and as such, these results need to be confirmed in other populations with low to moderate levels of radiation exposure. Even though a complete understanding by which these variants may increase breast cancer risk remains elusive, this approach may yield clues for further investigation.
Objectives: US commercial airline pilots, like all flight crew, are at increased risk for specific cancers, but the relation of these outcomes to specific air cabin exposures is unclear. Flight time or block (airborne plus taxi) time often substitutes for assessment of exposure to cosmic radiation. Our objectives were to develop methods to estimate exposures to cosmic radiation and circadian disruption for a study of chromosome aberrations in pilots and to describe workplace exposures for these pilots.
Methods: Exposures were estimated for cosmic ionizing radiation and circadian disruption between August 1963 and March 2003 for 83 male pilots from a major US airline. Estimates were based on 523 387 individual flight segments in company records and pilot logbooks as well as summary records of hours flown from other sources. Exposure was estimated by calculation or imputation for all but 0.02% of the individual flight segments’ block time. Exposures were estimated from questionnaire data for a comparison group of 51 male university faculty.
Results: Pilots flew a median of 7126 flight segments and 14 959 block hours for 27.8 years. In the final study year, a hypothetical pilot incurred an estimated median effective dose of 1.92 mSv (absorbed dose, 0.85 mGy) from cosmic radiation and crossed 362 time zones. This study pilot was possibly exposed to a moderate or large solar particle event a median of 6 times or once every 3.7 years of work. Work at the study airline and military flying were the two highest sources of pilot exposure for all metrics. An index of work during the standard sleep interval (SSI travel) also suggested potential chronic sleep disturbance in some pilots. For study airline flights, median segment radiation doses, time zones crossed, and SSI travel increased markedly from the 1990s to 2003 (Ptrend < 0.0001). Dose metrics were moderately correlated with records-based duration metrics (Spearman’s r = 0.61–0.69).
Conclusions: The methods developed provided an exposure profile of this group of US airline pilots, many of whom have been exposed to increasing cosmic radiation and circadian disruption from the 1990s through 2003. This assessment is likely to decrease exposure misclassification in health studies.
circadian disruption; cosmic radiation; exposure assessment; flight crew; pilots
Ionizing radiation-associated breast cancer risk appears to be modified by timing of reproductive events such as age at radiation exposure, parity, age at first live birth, and age at menopause. However, potential breast cancer risk modification of low- to moderate radiation dose by polymorphic estrogen metabolism-related gene variants has not been routinely investigated. We assessed breast cancer risk of 12 candidate variants in 12 genes involved in steroid metabolism, catabolism, binding, or receptor functions in a study of 859 cases and 1083 controls within the US Radiologic Technologists (USRT) cohort. Using cumulative breast dose estimates from a detailed assessment of occupational and personal diagnostic ionizing radiation exposure, we investigated the joint effects of genotype on the risk of breast cancer. In multivariate analyses, we observed a significantly decreased risk of breast cancer associated with the CYP3A4 M445T minor allele (rs4986910, OR=0.3; 95% CI 0.1–0.9). We found a borderline increased breast cancer risk with having both minor alleles of CYP1B1 V432L (rs1056836, CC vs. GG, OR=1.2; 95% CI 0.9–1.6). Assuming a recessive model, the minor allele of CYP1B1 V432L significantly increased the dose-response relationship between personal diagnostic x-ray exposure and breast cancer risk, adjusted for cumulative occupational radiation dose (pinteraction=0.03) and had a similar joint effect for cumulative occupational radiation dose adjusted for personal diagnostic x-ray exposure (pinteraction=0.06). We found suggestive evidence that common variants in selected estrogen metabolizing genes may modify the association between ionizing radiation exposure and breast cancer risk.
The aim of this study was measurement of the radiation doses received by patients for common radiology examinations in hospitals under control of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
Materials and Methods:
Thermoluminescence (lithium fluoride chips, LiF: Mg, Tl) dosimeter was used to measure patient dose for four (chest, posterior-anterior and lateral and skull anterior-posterior, or posterior-anterior and lateral) common radiographic views in six hospitals (seven X-ray machines). The entrance surface dose was measured on 20 randomly patients for each X-ray room.
The maximum (8.85 ± 0.62 mGy) and the minimum (0.62 ± 0.22 mGy) values of ESD was obtained for X-ray machines of Shimadzu and Varian located in Ashrafi-Khomeini-shahr and Kashani hospitals, respectively. As results shows, the values of ESD of skull were higher than that of chest examinations.
The results of this study indicated that ESD measured doses were slightly greater than the ICRP and NRPB reference doses. Efforts should be made to further lower patient doses while securing image quality. In addition, the need to provide relevant education and training to staff in the radiology sections is of utmost importance.
Diagnostic radiology; patient dose; X-ray examinations
The study aim was to determine the risk of cataract among radiologic technologists with respect to occupational and nonoccupational exposures to ionizing radiation and to personal characteristics. A prospective cohort of 35,705 cataract-free US radiologic technologists aged 24–44 years was followed for nearly 20 years (1983–2004) by using two follow-up questionnaires. During the study period, 2,382 cataracts and 647 cataract extractions were reported. Cigarette smoking for ≥5 pack-years; body mass index of ≥25 kg/m2; and history of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or arthritis at baseline were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) associated with increased risk of cataract. In multivariate models, self-report of ≥3 x-rays to the face/neck was associated with a hazard ratio of cataract of 1.25 (95% confidence interval: 1.06, 1.47). For workers in the highest category (mean, 60 mGy) versus lowest category (mean, 5 mGy) of occupational dose to the lens of the eye, the adjusted hazard ratio of cataract was 1.18 (95% confidence interval: 0.99, 1.40). Findings challenge the National Council on Radiation Protection and International Commission on Radiological Protection assumptions that the lowest cumulative ionizing radiation dose to the lens of the eye that can produce a progressive cataract is approximately 2 Gy, and they support the hypothesis that the lowest cataractogenic dose in humans is substantially less than previously thought.
cataract; radiation; technology, radiologic; x-rays
Orthopedic surgeons depend on the intraoperative use of fluoroscopy to facilitate procedures across all subspecialties. The versatility of the C-arm fluoroscope allows acquisition of nearly any radiographic view. This versatility, however, creates the opportunity for difficulty in communication between surgeon and radiation technologist. Poor communication leads to delays, frustration and increased exposure to ionizing radiation. There is currently no standard terminology employed by surgeons and technologists with regards to direction of the fluoroscope.
The investigation consisted of a web-based survey in 2 parts. Part 1 was administered to the membership of the Canadian Orthopedic Association, part 2 to the membership of the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists. The survey consisted of open-ended or multiple-choice questions examining experience with the C-arm fluoroscope and the terminology preferred by both orthopedic surgeons and radiation technologists.
The survey revealed tremendous inconsistency in language used by orthopedic surgeons and radiation technologists. It also revealed that many radiation technologists were inexperienced in operating the fluoroscope.
Adoption of a common language has been demonstrated to increase efficiency in performing defined tasks with the fluoroscope. We offer a potential system to facilitate communication based on current terminology used among Canadian orthopedic surgeons and radiation technologists.
The "radiation issue" is the need to consider possible deterministic effects (e.g., skin injuries) and long-term cancer risks due to ionizing radiation in the risk-benefit assessment of diagnostic or therapeutic testing. Although there are currently no data showing that high-dose medical studies have actually increased the incidence of cancer, the "linear-no threshold" model in radioprotection assumes that no safe dose exists; all doses add up in determining cancer risks; and the risk increases linearly with increasing radiation dose. The possibility of deterministic effects should also be considered when skin or lens doses may be over the threshold. Cardiologists have a special mission to avoid unjustified or non-optimized use of radiation, since they are responsible for 45% of the entire cumulative effective dose of 3.0 mSv (similar to the radiological risk of 150 chest x-rays) per head per year to the US population from all medical sources except radiotherapy. In addition, interventional cardiologists have an exposure per head per year two to three times higher than that of radiologists. The most active and experienced interventional cardiologists in high volume cath labs have an annual exposure equivalent to around 5 mSv per head and a professional lifetime attributable to excess cancer risk on the order of magnitude of 1 in 100. Cardiologists are the contemporary radiologists but sometimes imperfectly aware of the radiological dose of the examination they prescribe or practice, which can range from the equivalent of 1-60 mSv around a reference dose average of 10-15 mSv for a percutaneous coronary intervention, a cardiac radiofrequency ablation, a multi-detector coronary angiography, or a myocardial perfusion imaging scintigraphy. A good cardiologist cannot be afraid of life-saving radiation, but must be afraid of radiation unawareness and negligence.
cancer; cardiology; imaging; risk
Background Skin cancers among commercial airline pilots have been reported to occur at increased rates in pilot populations worldwide. The reasons for these increases are unclear, but postulated factors include ionizing radiation, circadian disruption and leisure sun exposure.
Aims To investigate the potential association of these occupational and lifestyle factors, as well as medical history and skin type, with non-melanoma skin cancer in pilots.
Methods Data were collected using a confidential Internet survey administered in collaboration with the Air Line Pilots Association International to all active pilots in four US commercial airlines. Pilots with non-melanoma skin cancer were compared to those without using multivariable analysis.
Results The response rate was 19%. Among pilots flying <20 years prior to diagnosis, factors associated with increased odds of non-melanoma skin cancer were at-risk skin type, childhood sunburns and family history of non-melanoma skin cancer. Off-duty sunscreen use and family history of melanoma were protective. Among pilots with ≥20 years flight time prior to diagnosis, childhood sunburns and family history of non-melanoma skin cancer persisted as risk factors, with the addition of flight time at high latitude.
Conclusions Further investigation regarding the potential health impact of long-term flying at high latitudes is recommended. Additionally, occupational health programmes for pilots should stress awareness of and protection against established risk factors for non-melanoma skin cancer.
Aviation; epidemiological studies; skin cancer
The pKZ1 mouse chromosomal inversion assay is the only assay that has detected modulation of a mutagenic endpoint after single whole body X-irradiation with doses lower than 1 mGy. A non-linear dose response for chromosomal inversion has been observed in spleen and prostate between 0.001 mGy and 10 mGy, with doses between 0.005-0.01 mGy causing an increase in inversions and doses between 1–10 mGy causing a reduction below spontaneous inversion frequency. An adaptive response is a decreased biological effect induced by a low radiation dose. Adaptive responses contradict the linear-no-threshold model of risk estimation. We demonstrated that very low (0.001 mGy, 0.01 mGy, 1 mGy and 10 mGy) doses of X-radiation induced a chromosomal inversion adaptive response as measured by a reduction in the frequency of subsequent high dose (1000 mGy) induced inversions in prostate. These are the lowest X-radiation doses reported to induce an adaptive response for any endpoint. Adaptive response experiments were also performed where the high dose was administered four hours prior to a low dose of 0.01 mGy or 10 mGy In both cases an adaptive response was observed. Identification of the modifying factors involved in the adaptive response may provide candidates for radioprotection.
low dose X-radiation; pKZ1 inversion assay; adaptive response; non-linear dose response
Use of radiologic procedures in diagnosis now contributes a significant dose of ionizing radiation to our population. Whether this presents a real risk to the health of the present and future population cannot be determined with certainty from evidence available at this time. Hence, it appears proper to keep the dose to every patient as low as practical consistent with good medical practice. The average dose can be significantly reduced by having more physicians apply the known techniques for minimizing the exposure to the patient.
The medical profession has a direct professional concern for the actual or potential risk of damage resulting from the radiation that patients are exposed to during diagnostic x-ray procedures, since these procedures constitute the largest single man-made source of genetically significant radiation our population is now exposed to.
It is important to distinguish two distinctly different types of radiation effects—somatic effect, in which the damage affects the health of the person irradiated, and genetic effect that is capable of producing constitutional defects in future progeny over many generations.
Nepal has a long history of medical radiology since1923 but unfortunately, we still do not have any Radiation Protection Infrastructure to control the use of ionizing radiations in the various fields. The objective of this study was an assessment of the radiation protection in medical uses of ionizing radiation. Twenty-eight hospitals with diagnostic radiology facility were chosen for this study according to patient loads, equipment and working staffs. Radiation surveys were also done at five different radiotherapy centers. Questionnaire for radiation workers were used; radiation dose levels were measured and an inventory of availability of radiation equipment made. A corollary objective of the study was to create awareness in among workers on possible radiation health hazard and risk. It was also deemed important to know the level of understanding of the radiation workers in order to initiate steps towards the establishment of Nepalese laws, regulation and code of radiological practice in this field. Altogether, 203 Radiation workers entertained the questionnaire, out of which 41 are from the Radiotherapy and 162 are from diagnostic radiology. The radiation workers who have participated in the questionnaire represent more than 50% of the radiation workers working in this field in Nepal. Almost all X-ray, CT and Mammogram installations were built according to protection criteria and hence found safe. Radiation dose level at the reference points for all the five Radiotherapy centers are within safe limit. Around 65% of the radiation workers have never been monitored for radiation. There is no quality control program in any of the surveyed hospitals except radiotherapy facilities.
Dose limit; personnel monitoring; quality control; workload
Ionizing radiation, an established breast cancer risk factor, has been shown to induce oxidative damage and chronic inflammation. Polymorphic variation in oxidative stress and inflammatory-mediated pathway genes may modify radiation-related breast cancer risk.
We estimated breast cancer risk for 28 common variants in 16 candidate genes involved in these pathways among 859 breast cancer cases and 1,083 controls nested within the US Radiologic Technologists cohort. We estimated associations between occupational and personal diagnostic radiation exposures with breast cancer by modeling the odds ratio (OR) as a linear function in logistic regression models and assessed heterogeneity of the dose–response across genotypes.
There was suggestive evidence of an interaction between the rs5277 variant in PTGS2 and radiation-related breast cancer risk. The excess OR (EOR)/Gy from occupational radiation exposure = 5.5 (95%CI 1.2–12.5) for the GG genotype versus EOR/Gy < 0 (95%CI < 0–3.8) and EOR/Gy < 0 (95%CI < 0–14.8) for the GC and CC genotypes, respectively, (pinteraction = 0.04). The association between radiation and breast cancer was not modified by other SNPs examined.
This study suggests that variation in PTGS2 may modify the breast cancer risk from occupational radiation exposure, but replication in other populations is needed to confirm this result.
PTGS2; COX-2; Inflammation; Breast cancer; Radiation
In April 2007, the American College of Radiology released the "White Paper on Radiation Dose in Medicine". The Blue Ribbon panel members included private practice and academic diagnostic radiologists, medical physicists, representatives of industry and regulatory groups, and a patient advocate. The panel concluded that the expanding use of imaging modalities using ionizing radiations such as CT and nuclear medicine may result in an increased incidence of radiation-related cancer in the exposed population in the not-too-distant future, and this problem can likely be minimized by preventing the inappropriate use of such imaging and by optimizing studies that are performed to obtain the best image quality with the lowest radiation dose. The White Paper set forth practical suggestions to minimize radiation risk, including education for all stakeholders in the principles of radiation safety and preferential use of alternative (non-ionizing) imaging techniques, such as MRI and ultrasound. These recommendations are especially relevant for cardiologists, who prescribe and/or practice medical imaging examinations accounting for at least 50% of the total effective dose by radiation medicine, which amounts to an equivalent of about 160 chest x-rays per head per year in US. Were they be enacted, these simple recommendations would determine a revolution in the contemporary way of teaching, learning and practising cardiology.
The 600% increase in medical radiation exposure to the US population since 1980 has provided immense benefit, but potential future cancer risks to patients. Most of the increase is from diagnostic radiologic procedures. The objectives of this review are to summarize epidemiologic data on cancer risks associated with diagnostic procedures, describe how exposures from recent diagnostic procedures relate to radiation levels linked with cancer occurrence, and propose a framework of strategies to reduce radiation from diagnostic imaging in patients. We briefly review radiation dose definitions, mechanisms of radiation carcinogenesis, key epidemiologic studies of medical and other radiation sources and cancer risks, and dose trends from diagnostic procedures. We describe cancer risks from experimental studies, future projected risks from current imaging procedures, and the potential for higher risks in genetically susceptible populations. To reduce future projected cancers from diagnostic procedures, we advocate widespread use of evidence-based appropriateness criteria for decisions about imaging procedures, oversight of equipment to deliver reliably the minimum radiation required to attain clinical objectives, development of electronic lifetime records of imaging procedures for patients and their physicians, and commitment by medical training programs, professional societies, and radiation protection organizations to educate all stakeholders in reducing radiation from diagnostic procedures.
The growing use of interventional and fluoroscopic imaging in children represents a tremendous benefit for the diagnosis and treatment of benign conditions. Along with the increasing use and complexity of these procedures comes concern about the cancer risk associated with ionizing radiation exposure to children. Children are considerably more sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of ionizing radiation than adults, and children have a longer life expectancy in which to express risk. Numerous epidemiologic cohort studies of childhood exposure to radiation for treatment of benign diseases have demonstrated radiation-related risks of cancer of the thyroid, breast, brain and skin, as well as leukemia. Many fewer studies have evaluated cancer risk following diagnostic radiation exposure in children. Although radiation dose for a single procedure might be low, pediatric patients often receive repeated examinations over time to evaluate their conditions, which could result in relatively high cumulative doses. Several cohort studies of girls and young women subjected to multiple diagnostic radiation exposures have been informative about increased mortality from breast cancer with increasing radiation dose, and case-control studies of childhood leukemia and postnatal diagnostic radiation exposure have suggested increased risks with an increasing number of examinations. Only two long-term follow-up studies of cancer following cardiac catheterization in childhood have been conducted, and neither reported an overall increased risk of cancer. Most cancers can be induced by radiation, and a linear dose-response has been noted for most solid cancers. Risks of radiation-related cancer are greatest for those exposed early in life, and these risks appear to persist throughout life.
Radiation risks; Carcinogenesis; Diagnostic radiation; Therapeutic radiation
With the exponential increase in minimally invasive fluoroscopically guided interventional radiologic procedures, concern has increased about the health effects on staff and patients of radiation exposure from these procedures. There has been no systematic epidemiologic investigation to quantify serious disease risks or mortality. To quantify all-cause, circulatory system disease and cancer mortality risks in U.S. radiologic technologists who work with interventional radiographic procedures, we evaluated mortality risks in a nationwide cohort of 88,766 U.S. radiologic technologists (77% female) who completed a self-administered questionnaire during 1994–998 and were followed through 31 December 2003. We obtained information on work experience, types of procedures (including fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures), and protective measures plus medical, family cancer history, lifestyle, and reproductive information. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to compute relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Between completion of the questionnaire and the end of follow-up, there were 3,581 deaths, including 1,209 from malignancies and 979 from circulatory system diseases. Compared to radiologic technologists who never or rarely performed or assisted with fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures, all-cause mortality risks were not increased among those working on such procedures daily. Similarly, there was no increased risk of mortality resulting from all circulatory system diseases combined, all cancers combined, or female breast cancer among technologists who daily performed or assisted with fluoroscopically guided interventional procedures. Based on small numbers of deaths (n=151), there were non-significant excesses (40%–0%) in mortality from cerebrovascular disease among technologists ever working with these procedures. The absence of significantly elevated mortality risks in radiologic technologists reporting the highest frequency of interventional radiography procedures must be interpreted cautiously in light of the small number of deaths during the relatively short follow-up. The present study cannot rule out increased risks of cerebrovascular disease, specific cancers, and diseases with low case-fatality rates or a long latency period preceding death.
Radiologic technologists; Interventional radiography; Occupational radiation exposure; Mortality
Patient awareness and concern regarding the potential health risks from ionizing radiation have peaked recently (Coakley et al., 2011) following widespread press and media coverage of the projected cancer risks from the increasing use of computed tomography (CT) (Berrington et al., 2007). The typical young and educated patient with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may in particular be conscious of his/her exposure to ionising radiation as a result of diagnostic imaging. Cumulative effective doses (CEDs) in patients with IBD have been reported as being high and are rising, primarily due to the more widespread and repeated use of CT (Desmond et al., 2008). Radiologists, technologists, and referring physicians have a responsibility to firstly counsel their patients accurately regarding the actual risks of ionizing radiation exposure; secondly to limit the use of those imaging modalities which involve ionising radiation to clinical situations where they are likely to change management; thirdly to ensure that a diagnostic quality imaging examination is acquired with lowest possible radiation exposure. In this paper, we synopsize available evidence related to radiation exposure and risk and we report advances in low-dose CT technology and examine the role for alternative imaging modalities such as ultrasonography or magnetic resonance imaging which avoid radiation exposure.
Imaging methods that use ionizing radiation have been more frequent in various medical fields with advances in imaging technology. The aim of our study was to make residents be aware of the radiation dose they are subjected to when they conduct radiological imaging methods, and of cancer risk.
Materials and Methods
A total of 364 residents participated in this descriptive study which was conducted during the period between October, 2008 and January, 2009. The questionnaires were completed under strict control on a one-to-one basis from each department. A χ2-test was used for the evaluation of data obtained.
Only 7% of residents correctly answered to the question about the ionizing radiation dose of a posteroanterior (PA) chest X-ray. The question asking about the equivalent number of PA chest X-rays to the ionizing dose of a brain CT was answered correctly by 24% of residents; the same question regarding abdominal CT was answered correctly by 16% of residents, thorax CT by 16%, thyroid scintigraphy by 15%, intravenous pyelography by 9%, and lumbar spine radiography by 2%. The risk of developing a cancer throughout lifetime by a brain and abdominal CT were 33% and 28%, respectively.
Radiologic residents should have updated knowledge about radiation dose content and attendant cancer risks of various radiological imaging methods during both basic medical training period and following practice period.
Residents; Radiological imaging methods; Ionizing radiation, Risk of cancer
We conducted a radiological safety and quality assurance (QA) audit of 118 medical X-ray diagnostic machines installed in 45 major hospitals in India. The main objective of the audit was to verify compliance with the regulatory requirements stipulated by the national regulatory body. The audit mainly covered accuracy check of accelerating potential (kVp), linearity of tube current (mA station) and timer, congruence of radiation and optical field, and total filtration; in addition, we also reviewed medical X-ray diagnostic installations with reference to room layout of X-ray machines and conduct of radiological protection survey. A QA kit consisting of a kVp Test-O-Meter (ToM) (Model RAD/FLU-9001), dose Test-O-Meter (ToM) (Model 6001), ionization chamber-based radiation survey meter model Gun Monitor and other standard accessories were used for the required measurements. The important areas where there was noncompliance with the national safety code were: inaccuracy of kVp calibration (23%), lack of congruence of radiation and optical field (23%), nonlinearity of mA station (16%) and timer (9%), improper collimator/diaphragm (19.6%), faulty adjustor knob for alignment of field size (4%), nonavailability of warning light (red light) at the entrance of the X-ray room (29%), and use of mobile protective barriers without lead glass viewing window (14%). The present study on the radiological safety status of diagnostic X-ray installations may be a reasonably good representation of the situation in the country as a whole. The study contributes significantly to the improvement of radiological safety by the way of the steps already taken and by providing a vital feed back to the national regulatory body.
Diagnostic installations; quality assurance tests; safety audit
Exposure to ionizing radiation at mammography screening may cause breast cancer. Because the radiation risk increases with lower exposure age, advancing the lower age limit may affect the balance between screening benefits and risks. The present study explores the benefit–risk ratio of screening before age 50.
The benefits of biennial mammography screening, starting at various ages between 40 and 50, and continuing up to age 74 were examined using micro-simulation. In contrast with previous studies that commonly used excess relative risk models, we assessed the radiation risks using the latest BEIR-VII excess absolute rate exposure-risk model.
The estimated radiation risk is lower than previously assessed. At a mean glandular dose of 1.3 mGy per view that was recently measured in the Netherlands, biennial mammography screening between age 50 and 74 was predicted to induce 1.6 breast cancer deaths per 100 000 women aged 0–100 (range 1.3–6.3 extra deaths at a glandular dose of 1–5 mGy per view), against 1121 avoided deaths in this population. Advancing the lower age limit for screening to include women aged 40–74 was predicted to induce 3.7 breast cancer deaths per 100 000 women aged 0–100 (range 2.9–14.4) at biennial screening, but would also prevent 1302 deaths.
The benefits of mammography screening between age 40 and 74 were predicted to outweigh the radiation risks.
breast cancer; mammography; screening; radiation
Digital radiography (DR) has recently emerged as an attractive alternative to computed radiography (CR) for the acquisition of general radiographic studies in a digital environment. It offers the possibility of improved spatial and contrast resoltuion, decreased radiation dose due to improved effieincy of detection of x-ray photons, and perhaps most improtantly, holds out the promise of increased technologist productivity. To achieve maximum efficiency, DR must be completely integrated into existing information systems, including the hospital and radiology information systems (HIS/RIS) and, when present, the picture archival and communication system (PACS). The early experience with the integration of DR at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) has identified several challenges that exist to the successful integration of DR. DR has only recently been defined as a separate Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) modality and images obtained will, at first, be listed under the category of CR. Matrix sizes with some DR products on the market exceed the current size limitations of some PACS. The patient throughput may be substantially greater with DR than with CR, and this in combination with the larger size of image files may result in greater demands for network and computer performance in the process of communication with the HIS/RIS and PACS. Additionally, in a hybrid department using both CR and DR, new rules must be defined for prefetching and display of general radiographic studies to permit these examinations to be retrieved and compared together. Advanced features that are planned for DR systems, such as dualenergy subtraction, tomosynthesis, and temporal subtraction, will likely require additional workstation tools beyond those currently available for CR.
Computed tomography (CT) is a major source of ionizing radiation exposure in medical diagnostic. Compared to adults, children are supposed to be more susceptible to health risks related to radiation. The purpose of a cross-sectional survey among office-based physicians in Germany was the assessment of medical practice in paediatric CT referrals and to investigate physicians' knowledge of radiation doses and potential health risks of radiation exposure from CT in children.
A standardized questionnaire was distributed to all paediatricians and surgeons in two defined study areas. Furthermore, the study population included a random sample of general practitioners in the two areas. The questionnaire covered the frequency of referrals for paediatric CT examinations, the medical diagnoses leading to paediatric CT referrals, physicians' knowledge of radiation doses and potential health risks of radiation exposure from CT in children.
A total of 295 (36.4%) physicians responded. 59% of the doctors had not referred a child to CT in the past year, and approximately 30% referred only 1-5 children annually. The most frequent indications for a CT examination in children were trauma or a suspected cancer. 42% of the referrals were related to minor diagnoses or unspecific symptoms. The participants underestimated the radiation exposure due to CT and they overestimated the radiation exposure due to conventional X-ray examinations.
In Germany, the frequency of referrals of children to computed tomography is moderate. The knowledge on the risks from radiation exposure among office-based physicians in our sample varied, but there was a tendency to underestimate potential CT risks. Advanced radiological training might lead to considerable amendments in terms of knowledge and practice of CT referral.