Radiation And Its Effects On Children

1933 WordsApr 20, 20178 Pages
While healthy babies are born every day, not everyone is so fortunate. In many cases, diagnostic radiology is required for patients during their childhood. Can having this radiation during the formative years lead to adverse effects later in life? The biggest concern from radiation is the risk of cancer. Cancer can occur at any dose from ionizing radiation because it is a stochastic effect, meaning that it is probabilistic. The probability of a stochastic effect, such as cancer, increases as the dose increases. While receiving this radiation may be necessary, it can cause some serious trouble later in life, such as breast cancer, leukemia, and thyroid cancer. These adverse effects could happen at any age; however, there is an increased…show more content…
That is 4.5 years’ worth of background radiation1 (10). With pediatric patients receiving multiple exams, this amount of radiation can quickly add up and cause serious concerns later in life. One potential stochastic effect that can occur with ionizing radiation is thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women. The diagnosis of thyroid malignancy has increased worldwide in the last few decades and is the most rapidly increasing cancer in the United States with a 5.1% increase from 2003 to 2012. Common symptoms of thyroid cancer are a lump on the neck, a tight feeling in the neck, difficulty breathing or swallowing, hoarseness, and swollen lymph nodes. However in many cases, no symptoms arise and the cancer is diagnosed because an abnormality is seen on an imaging test being performed for another reason2. At this time, it is not clear how much diagnostic radiation is contributing to the increase in thyroid cancer cases. It is possible that the increase in the diagnosis of thyroid cancer can be attributed to a greater rate of detection by use of ultrasonography and fine needle aspiration3. The thyroid tissue itself is among the tissues that are less sensitive to radiation, however, thyroid cancer is still such a concern because the thyroid is so superficial in the body1 (77). “Even doses as small as 50–100 mGy have been associated with an increased risk of thyroid malignancy in children, with a
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