Diagnostic and Screening X-rays
X-rays, mammograms, and radiation therapy all involve exposure to ionizing radiation. An X-ray of the chest exposes a patient to only a small amount of radiation--about the same as one gets from two airplane flights across the United States.
Studies have not shown an elevated cancer risk associated with X-rays taken to diagnose a disease or condition. One exception to this is in children whose mothers received X-rays while pregnant: the children were found to have increased risks of leukemia and other types of cancers. Because of this finding, X-rays to diagnose a condition in pregnant women are no longer recommended.
Talk with your doctor about the need for each X-ray that he or she suggests. Ask about shields to protect other parts of your body during an X-ray.