It is important for you to talk to your doctor about the tests you have had done or are considering having. This site is intended to provide information about your additional risk of cancer based on medical imaging, not to provide medical advice. We want patients to have accurate information when weighing the pros and cons of medical imaging. It is important to remember that in properly performed individual exams, the potential health benefits almost always outweigh the potential risks. Averages do not predict what is going to happen to you, but we provide this information to ensure patients and physicians are informed when making medical decisions.

# of exams
Dose (mSv)
Additional Cancer Risk(%)
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Comparison Doses
Natural Background 3.1 mSv/year10 Domestic Pilots 2.2 mSv/year11
Average US Exposure 6.2 mSv/year10 7 Hour Airline Flight 0.02 mSv12
Chest x-ray (2 views) 0.10 mSv Chest CT 7.0 mSv

Estimated Lifetime Risk of Death from Various Sources13

Motor Vehicle Accident
1% or 1 in 100 chances
0.1% or 1 in 1000 chances
Bicycle Accident
0.01% or 1 in 10,000 chances
0.001% or 1 in 100,000 chances

Keep in mind, the overall lifetime risk of developing an invasive cancer is 37.5% (1 in 3) for women and 44.9% (1 in 2) for men regardless of imaging history. These statistics are averages and do not predict what is going to happen to you. They do not take into consideration individual risk factors including lifestyle (smoking, diet, exercise, etc), family history (genetics) or radiation exposure. The majority of cancers occur later in life and the average lifetime risk of dying from cancer is 25% (1 in 4).


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