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Is radiation from a CT or PET scan dangerous?

Every day, patients come to me for imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT) scans and X-rays.

Occasionally, patients are concerned because they’ve heard that these types of tests expose them to radiation. Is the radiation going to hurt me or cause problems down the line? What about the contrast agents I have to drink for the test – are they safe?

These are valid questions, and the truth is, imaging tests do expose patients to a small amount of radiation. There is a potential, small risk that being exposed to radiation can induce cancer in a patient. But in most cases, the benefits of imaging tests far outweigh the risks from radiation exposure.

I’ve put together answers to some commonly asked questions about radiation exposure to ease patients’ minds the next time a doctor recommends an imaging test.

Full story can be found on UT Southwestern Medical Center.

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