Answer to Question #13700 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Worker Issues

The following question was answered by an expert in the appropriate field:


Can a female radiation worker resume her work after radiation treatment keeping in mind the annual dose limits for a radiation worker?


The annual dose limits do not apply to or include any radiation dose to the individual due to medical procedures, so yes, a female or male radiation worker may resume work following breast radiation treatment (or other).

That said, medical exposures to men or women who are also radiation workers can (depending on the diagnostic or treatment technique) appear as occupational dose. When that happens—usually discovered when a dosimeter registers an unusually high dose—the patient/employee may be asked for what would normally be protected medical information so that the medical dose can be calculated and subtracted from what the dosimeter detected.

Another possibility is that the patient/employee wears a dosimeter issued specifically for the diagnostic/treatment so that occupational dose can be subtracted that way.

Deirdre H. Elder, MS, CHP, CMLSO
Margaret Cervera

Ask the Experts is posting answers using only SI (the International System of Units) in accordance with international practice. To convert these to traditional units we have prepared a conversion table. You can also view a diagram to help put the radiation information presented in this question and answer in perspective. Explanations of radiation terms can be found here.
Answer posted on 21 October 2020. The information posted on this web page is intended as general reference information only. Specific facts and circumstances may affect the applicability of concepts, materials, and information described herein. The information provided is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be relied upon in the absence of such professional advice. To the best of our knowledge, answers are correct at the time they are posted. Be advised that over time, requirements could change, new data could be made available, and Internet links could change, affecting the correctness of the answers. Answers are the professional opinions of the expert responding to each question; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Health Physics Society.