Radiation-induced carcinogenesis

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

Radiation-induced carcinogenesis is widely but not universally believed to occur at exposures from ionising radiation used in medical imaging. It is thought to be a stochastic effect of ionising radiation, with the linear no-threshold theory (LNT) proposing no "safe" level of radiation exposure, and an increasing risk of cancer with increasing dose 1,2. The LNT is not universally accepted with some proposing an adaptive dose-response relationship where low doses are protective and high doses are detrimental 5.

The latency period between radiation exposure and cancer detection varies 3,4:

  • leukaemia: minimum of 2-3 years with a peak incidence at 10 years after radiation exposure
  • solid tumours: minimum of 10-15 years with a peak incidence of up to 50 years after radiation exposure​
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Article information

rID: 52957
System: Oncology
Section: Physics
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Radiation-induced cancer

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