Americans Over Exposed to Radiation: Is Modern Medicine Making You Sick?

It’s not so much the cell phone, the power lines or the microwave oven. It’s modern medicine.

Do you really need that PET scan, CT scan, or x-ray? How will the results alter the course of treatment? Those are questions you should be asking your doctor.

The increased risk of cancer from radiation exposure to any single test is small, but the risk of cancer increases as the dose of radiation increases.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that nobody in the world is exposed to more medical radiation than people in the United States, accounting for half of all medical procedures that use radiation. How much radiation we receive has grown by six times over the last several decades.

There are no federal rules on radiation dose, except for mammograms, and no one is really keeping track of the amount of radiation patients receive. Children and young women sometimes get too much when imaging centers don’t adjust for patient size.

According to The American Cancer Society

In general, the risk of cancer from radiation exposure increases as the dose of radiation increases. The types of cancer linked to radiation are also affected by the part of the body that is exposed. For example, people who get pelvic radiation therapy would not be expected to have higher rates of cancers in the head and neck because these areas weren’t exposed to radiation.

The increased risk of cancer from exposure to any single test is likely to be very small. Still, concerns have been raised in recent years as the average amount of radiation a person is exposed to from medical tests has risen. Children’s growing bodies are especially sensitive to radiation.

Because of the very small but real risk, and the fact that radiation exposure from all sources can add up over one’s lifetime, imaging tests that use radiation should only be done if there is a good medical reason to do so. The usefulness of the test must always be balanced against the possible risks from exposure to the radiation. In some cases, other imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI may be an option. But if there is a reason to believe that an x-ray or CT scan is the best way to look for cancer or other diseases, the patient will most likely be helped more than the small dose of radiation can hurt.

Doctors fearing malpractice lawsuits and insurers requiring such tests are part of the reason for over use.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is pushing for industry standards on common tests.

In the meantime, if falls on patients to be the squeaky wheel and ask the question. Do I really need this test?

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to


Kerrie G.
Kerrie G7 years ago

That's why I'm glad there are such things as MRI machines. They only work with magnets, and no radiation like the CT and x-ray machines. I've had to have a few scans over the years, and I know I've been concerned about the radiation coming from these machines.

Gwendolyn Krupa
Gwendolyn Krupa7 years ago

Thanks for the article. It's an important heads-up. I'm concerned about cell phones and cordless phones and gadgets. We are electromagnetically effected.

Dave Tohunga
Dave te tohunga7 years ago

watch sicko and weep.
Corrupt politicians spend twice as much on warfare as the rest of the planet but health is not an option for americans unless provided by the corporate or govt to employees, or criminally fraudulent insurance companies pocket your money but fail to deliver when you get sick.
Glad i'm not american.

Serena P.
Serena P7 years ago

Barbara S-I'm with you 100%.

We have become a society where anything goes. There is a pill for everything and when one doesn't work, try another one, then another, until we are all hooked. If people would stop and think-if I eat healthy, exercise, talk out my problems, etc, we wouldn't need a lot of these items.

As long as we have anything technological, there will be radiation poisoning. And does anyone ever read what's on those shampoo bottles? There is an ingredient used in some of them that are used in household cleaning chemicals-and I'm not talking the 'green' versions either.

Doctors also order all these tests because of their fear of being sued. 'The human race will be it's own self-destruction'.

valerie g.
valerie g.7 years ago

I got rid of my microwave a year ago. look into EMF protection folks, electro magnetic frequency. we all have one! our cell phone use, even long distance flights compromise our electro magnetic well being. yes, I use a cell, but it's very important not to just "trust" doctors and people selling us products! eat clean food, try to limit your exposure to toxins, both chemical and electromagnetic! do a little research online...some of it may seem woo woo to you, but kirlian photography has established our EMF field, and shown what happens when it is compromised.

Borg Drone
Past Member 7 years ago

A-Ha, so this stuff Doesn't turn you into a super hero??

Marianne Good
Past Member 7 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Lika S.
Lika P7 years ago

Well, I wish that my doctors would figure that out. I have severe back pain, and I've been to see doctors for years. Every time, they do x-rays, and I even had 1 MRI and they've shown nothing. So if the first x-ray showed nothing, why have they done 10 more? They say ultrasounds show more and are better, but are reluctant to do them. Yet if I were to go back again, they'd order another x-ray. I wonder why.

Thing is, the pharmaceutical companies are what really scare me. I am not sure why they don't do more research on humans, and rely on animals? Why not use criminals instead?

Gillian no fwds please no
Gillian M7 years ago

A few years ago we had these concerns in the UK as, apparently, the body retains the radiation longer than we thought. Hospitals & dentists are now reluctant to X-ray unless there is a real need. When they thought my younger son had broken his arm they were somewhat reluctant even then!

Tom F.
Tom F7 years ago

Good reminder