Radiation Safety in Medicine
Recommendations for Population on Radiation Protection during Diagnostic Procedures with the Use of Radiation Sources
Throughout the life each human being undergoes dozen diagnostic and, if necessary, therapeutic tests and measurements with the use of ionizing radiation sources. These medical exposure procedures are prescribed by the doctor as planned ones and carried out in medical institutions. Often people diagnose their ailments by means of the X-ray equipment (mammograph, photofluorographic equipment, dental X-ray units, computerized tomographs, orthopantomographs, angiographs, etc.).
Annually each human being undergoes minimum one X-ray diagnostic procedure. As a rule these procedures are necessary for correct diagnosis of ailments and cancer. At the same time, such procedures have certain risks of stochastic effects caused by the exposure. It is necessary to pay special attention to the avoidance of the wrongful prescription of medical exposure or failure to ensure patient radiation protection during these procedures.
Worldwide the special attention is paid to the investigation and optimization of the doses for the patients at diagnostic procedures to prevent negative consequences of medical exposure.
What should the patient know?
The list of the most popular questions to the SNRIU made by population:
Is the X-ray diagnostics dangerous?
The radiation dose at X-ray diagnostics is small. But one can see the increase of the cancer risks in view of the repetition frequency of such risks from year to year. The patient takes comparatively high radiation dose as a result of the diagnostics at computerized tomographs, angiographs and due to the interventional procedures that can cause cancer.
What does the “radiation dose” mean?
The effective dose, specified by means of corresponding calculations with the use of the value of absorbed dose to the member of the body and indicated in mSv (10-3 Sv), is used to assess possible potential risks to the human being health.
Is there any difference between medical and natural exposure?
Each human being undergoes natural exposure due to the cosmic rays (space radiation), earth, food and our body radiation. This radiation (γ-radiation) is equal to that X-rays taken during medical diagnostics. The annual natural background radiation dose for the human being makes 1-3 mSv (2,4 mSv in a mean) depending on the region where the human being lives. On the Earth, one can find places where human being radiation dose can exceed 10 mSv for a year.
Whether all X-ray diagnostic procedures are characterized by high radiation doses or no?
No. The different types of X -ray diagnostic procedures cause different radiation doses. In average this dose makes 0,2 mSv. In comparison to natural radiation, this dose is low.
The ranges of the radiation dose standard values for standard X-ray diagnostics are given below in comparison to the natural background radiation:
Whether X-ray doses comply with ranges specified in the Table or not?
Not always. Patient actual dose depends on many factors, in particular: equipment technical state, medical staff qualification, peculiarities of medical diagnostics, etc. The continuous improvement of medical equipment means that, most likely, the standard doses should undergo changes. Any X-ray diagnostics should be directed to minimization of radiation burden and to the use of more reduced impact diagnostics and of protective and other means of radiation burden minimization.
Why the mammography is not recommended to the young women as screening?
The mammography is not an effective method of screening for asymptomic young women (up to 40 years old) to reveal breast cancer. The screening (mammography) is applicable for the women that relate to the high-risk patient group (for example, for the women whose relatives had the breast cancer in young age or have another clinical signs of cancer). For such group of women the screening is justified from the point of view of radiation protection since they undergo the high risk of breast cancer in old age.