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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18757
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I'm getting an X-ray done today but in two minds about it

Resolved Question:

Hi I'm getting an X-ray done today but in two minds about it as in worried about radiation. I had tb 2 years ago and had about 7 chest X-rays then. Now I have this cough for two months and am going for another chest X-ray.
Will my chances of cancer increase cos I've had so many chest X-rays
And about my cough I've had it for 2 months now. Sometimes dry and sometimes with green pheglm. What could it be. I'm worried it might be cancer or something. Maybe my tb has come back. I had a blood and sputum test for tb which were negative. But would a sputum test really rule out tb if it's negative.
I've tried doxycycline but that made no difference. I've tried inhaler. Nothing seems to work.
I'm 32 years old. And female
Also we are trying for a baby. That's another thing worrying me about having this chest X-ray
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.

Hello from JustAnswer.

The amount of radiation exposure from a plain chest x-ray is very small. It is about 1% of the radiation exposure from a single chest CT scan. Or to look at it from another perspective, a single set of chest x-rays involves an amount of radiation exposure equivalent to three plane trips from coast to coast in the US, and most people do not hesitate to travel by plane.

There is no appreciable risk of cancer incidence from the number of chest x-rays that you have received. We still would rather only perform a chest x-ray, or any x-ray, when it is indicated, but when it is otherwise indicated, there is no reason for concern about the amount of radiation in a plain chest x-ray.

As for the cause of the cough, the likelihood of cancer in a 32 year old is very remote. It is much more likely to be an inflammatory condition, either a primary condition within the lung, such as chronic bronchitis, or in response to an irritation of the lungs, such as through acid reflux. It is possible that TB can come back, but if you completed a full course of treatment, the likelihood is low. Several negative TB cultures are reassuring, but does not completely exclude the diagnosis. At the present time, a chest x-ray is an appropriate next step, but it may also require further evaluation, depending upon the findings on the chest x-ray.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm not worried abt one single X-ray but worried about the fact I've had 10.
So you think I should go ahead with the X-ray. This is my 8th or 9th week that I've had this cough. My own gp doesn't think it's serious but surely if it isn't my cough would have gone by now
And in terms of trying for a baby. Would this X-ray affect it if I do get pregnant in the next month or so
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
I understand that you have had 10, and as I said, there is no appreciable risk of cancer incidence from the number of chest x-rays that you have received.

Yes, it would be appropriate to go ahead with the chest x-ray.

This chest x-ray would not affect any pregnancy that occurs in the next month. If it is possible that you are currently pregnant, then they will want to shield the abdomen and pelvis.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So you don't think I should wait and try other things before. Why does my gp think I don't need an X-ray. He says I'm exposing myself to unnecessary radiation. I appreciate your help.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Without being able to examine you, I cannot say that it is indicated, but if your doctor says that it is indicated, there is no reason for you to be concerned.
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