Radiation Exposure

How can I minimize my exposure to radiation and reduce my cancer risk?

Radiation has been in the news recently. As with other potential cancer-causing agents, the more you know, the better you can reduce your risks, especially from common sources of radiation.

Diagnostic tests: Medical tests can help diagnose health conditions and inform your treatment plan, but some tests involve radiation. Discuss the benefits and risks of these tests with your physician and avoid unnecessary tests.

Radiation from common medical tests and procedures ranges from 0 units for MRI and ultrasound to 57 mSv units for angioplasty.

The sun: The risk for skin cancer from the sun’s UVA radiation is well-documented. Always wear sunscreen. Continuously reapply when outdoors for extended periods. UVA radiation also comes in through windows (at home, at the office and in your car). Protective coatings and fabrics can keep it out.

Cell phones: Cell phones emit radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation commonly called radio waves. This has raised concerns about cell phones and brain cancer.

While several studies show conflicting data, most studies have found no consistent link between cell phone use and cancer. However, current studies have only involved adults and have not followed people for long periods of time. (It often takes years or decades before carcinogen exposure may result in cancer.)

Until we know more, use an earpiece, preferably wired, to reduce your exposure to radiation from cell phones and minimize use of cell phones by children.

Keep your phone away from your body as much as possible and limit cell phone use when you receive a weak signal, as your phone will emit more radiation.

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