Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Cancer Awareness - Are X-rays bad for health?

Many of us believe that exposure to x-rays is bad for health.
Letters below published in The Sunday Star and The Star will shed
some light.

This is reproduced letter published in The Sunday Star, October 30, 2005:

Annual checkups should not include x-rays
Staying in an apartment block, I get to know more of my
neighbours' maids than my own neighbours.

Day in and day out, we get to exchange neighbourly greetings
with them and if we have some time to spare, we get to chat
with them.

Quite a number of them must be good to be trusted by their
employers that they have been working here more than the
basic two years.

One such maid is now in her sixth year of employment.
Her employer's wife just died and she was asked to stay on
to help the family with four schoolgoing children who are
now without a mother.

It is almost time to renew her work permit again. Every year,
she has to undergo a full medical check-up as past of the

I am aghast to think that this will be the seventh time in
seven years that she has to have an x-ray done. Isn't too
much radiation bad for our health?

I believe the authorities concerned should limit the x-ray
part to once every three or five years.

I dread to think that when these good maids return to their
country, instead of living a happy life after years of working,
they have to suffer from cancer caused by too much x-ray

Can the authorities concerned look into this matter as soon as

Kuala Lumpur

The response:
Radiation from an x-ray is minimal
I refer to your letter, "Annual check-ups should not include
x-ray", (Sunday Star, Oct 30).

While I am unsure of the indications of requiring a maid to
obtain an annual chest x-ray, I would like to reassure
Concerned Lady the radiation exposure from a regular x-ray
is minimal.

In some practices, an annual chest x-ray may be indicated.
For example, cancer surveillance, follow-up of lung nodules
in areas with no available CT.

The amount of radiation from one x-ray is minimal, close to
what one might get from a six-hour flight or from natural
environmental sources such as radon from soil.

I just thought this might be helpful information to consider.

Rochester, USA
The Star, Monday, Oct 31, 2005

There you have it. X-rays are not to be feared afterall.

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