Don't fear radiation, U.K. expert warns

2016 08 30 09 29 44 134 Radiation Symbol Circle 400

An Imperial College London professor has noted that patients' fear of radiation may sometimes exceed the actual risks from medical imaging, according to a news report from the college.

At a seminar at the college's Academic Health Science Centre, Prof. Gerry Thomas said the effect of radiation on public health is small compared to other health risks. Thomas is the chair in molecular pathology at Imperial College London and project director at the Chernobyl Tissue Bank.

"We have a problem with radiation and we are made to fear it," Thomas said during her presentation. "This is partly due to factors such as the use of atomic weapons during combat and exposure after nuclear accidents."

In a group of 100 people exposed to low-level radiation, one will develop radiation-induced cancer, she noted. In contrast, 42 people will develop cancer as a result of other factors.

"There is a real need to dismantle some of the myths and misconceptions around radiation to increase understanding, as well as policymakers having access to evidence-based science when making decisions on matters such as energy policy," she said.

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