Q: Does having a radiology exam involving radiation increase my risk for cancer?
A: Most people think the hazards of radiation are greater than the risks actually are. In fact, we are all exposed to small amounts of radiation every day from natural sources. And radiation exposure from common X-ray procedures ranges from as little as 10 millirem (a millirem is a unit used to measure radiation exposure) to 10,000 millirem or more. But studies have documented that small amounts of radiation exposure (less than 10,000 millirem) have not been shown to cause a measurable harmful effect. Please talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have before having a radiology examination or procedure.
Q: What is radiology?
A: Radiology is a branch of medicine that uses medical imaging to diagnosis disease. The physicians who are specially trained in medical imaging are called radiologists. These physicians receive extensive training: four years of medical school, four years of radiology residency, and from one year to three years of radiology fellowships.
Q: Are there any side effects from the dye used in some radiology procedures?
A: The "dye" is called a contrast agent or contrast medium. Depending on the procedure and the type of contrast agent used, some patients do experience mild adverse effects, such as a metallic taste in their mouth or flushing (a warming sensation). These sensations are temporary. After your procedure is completed, you will be instructed to drink plenty of fluids to flush the contrast agent from your system. Always tell the radiologist or the technologist if you have had allergic reactions to a certain type of contrast agent. At the time your appointment is made, the radiology scheduling desk should be advised if you are taking any type of prescription medications.
Q: How do I get my test results?
A: The radiologist who interprets your scans will send a written report to your doctor, who will discuss the results with you.