High x-ray dose raises cancer risk in obese patients

The elevated radiation dose needed to acquire x-ray images of obese patients more than doubles their risk of developing cancer, according to a study published online on 20 December 2018 in the Journal of Radiological Protection.

In a new study, researchers from the U.K. examined the x-ray images of 630 obese patients with a body mass index of up to 50 who had previously undergone weight-reducing procedures. They found that the x-ray radiation dose used to acquire images of these patients was markedly higher than the dose used for individuals of average weight. This increase in radiation exposure consequently increased the obese patients' risk of cancer by more than 153%, compared with individuals who received the standard radiation dose.

"Although the risk of cancer from x-ray is very low, we urgently need more research in patients who are overweight and obese, so we can understand how to minimize doses in this group and feed into far more robust guidelines around radiation, in turn to minimize that risk," senior author Dr. Karen Knapp from the University of Exeter said in a statement.

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