How High Are the Possibilities of Leukemia Being Caused by Radiation?


Quick Answer

The exact numbers are murky, but there is a higher chance of developing leukemia when a person is exposed to radiation, according to the American Cancer Society. Small amounts of radiation from X-rays and CT scans may increase the risk of certain cancers, including leukemia in children who have been given CT scans.

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Full Answer

The evidence that cancer, such as leukemia, is caused by radiation comes from a number of sources, states the American Cancer Society. Studies have been done on survivors of the atomic bomb attack in Japan and from the Chernobyl nuclear accident. Studies have also been done on people who have been exposed to high levels of radiation from work or due to previous cancer treatments.

It is difficult for scientists to determine how high the risk of developing leukemia is from low levels of exposure to radiation, explains the American Cancer Society. Most of the studies that have been done did not detect an increased risk of developing cancer in people who are exposed to low levels of radiation. However, most scientists also agree there is a very small risk of developing cancer from small doses of radiation. This tells scientists that the risk of developing cancer increases with more radiation exposure. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how much radiation, if any, is safe.

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