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Radiation Exposure - How much is too much?

todd121's picture
Posts: 1425
Joined: Dec 2012

I was wondering if anyone tries to keep track of all their radiation exposure? One of the things that bothers me, is that there is no central "person" or "doctor" or anyone really keeping track of how much radiation I'm being exposed to. Each doctor makes a decision to perform a CT or MRI in isolation, without having information at hand about how many other radioactive tests I've had done. I counted them up, and in the past 18 months I've had 8 CT scans (most of those were multiple parts of the body such as chest/abdomen/pelvis so this is really 24 CTs), 3 MRIs, 3 Xrays. I also had a kidney function test, which I think was a very high dose of radiation, since it was something like a movie being made using a CT scanner like device (or it might have been an xray like machine).

The second thing I'm wondering, is is it total number of radiation that you receive that is bad, or is it radiation in a specific time frame. If they are spread out over a long period of time, does that help? Worse if squished into a small time frame?


My tests were spread over 4-5 different hospitals and emergency rooms, and that's one of the things that worries me, that a doctor at each institution might not be aware I've had all those others done.


Frank302's picture
Posts: 71
Joined: Feb 2013

But I do think about it now and then . I'll be having my twenty - sixth ct scan since starting Nivolumab tomorrow . Plus I don't know how many ct scans and bone scans , one brain scan and a whole load of exrays before I started the current tretment . Before Nivolumab I was too sick to keep count or to care . That was almost three years ago .

Once , a scan tech said I looked very familier and asked how often I get scans . When I told him every six weeks his response was " Wow , that's a lot of radiation . "  Then he tried to put my mind at ease by telling me that I don't have to worry about it so much at my age . I guess that is supposed to be one of the many benefits of being older . I'm 61 . Less time for the radiation to have a bad effect . Yeah that takes a big load off my mind . Maybe I'll get a job cleaning up nuclear spills . What the heck .

Day in and day out I don't let it bother me . I need the scans . So it's a tradeoff I'm willing to live with .

Glowingly ,


foxhd's picture
Posts: 3183
Joined: Oct 2011

Frnk, I'm in the same group as you. I'm still 61 with about the same number of scans. But I could be dead from not having scans, so I don't worry. Yep. Good trade off.

twinthings's picture
Posts: 409
Joined: Jun 2013

I think Fox and Frank make valid points...ya gotta have em!  But, it's certainly food for thought! 

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