Answer to Question #14123 Submitted to "Ask the Experts"

Category: Medical and Dental Patient Issues — Diagnostic X Ray and CT

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


I am 66 years old and was born prematurely. I had a full body fluoroscopy shortly after birth. I have two questions.

  1. After all these years do I have a higher risk of cancer? 
  2. Could either the meningioma that I had eight years ago or the thyroid nodules I currently have be caused by the fluoroscopy?

Both were determined to be benign, but I am concerned.


Many people have concerns about radiation exposure and whether it caused an increased risk of cancer or other effects. I want to reassure you that the radiation you received as a newborn is highly unlikely to have caused the meningioma or the thyroid nodules, or an increased risk of cancer. For the doses that can be received from a fluoroscopy exam, the risk is too low to measure or does not exist. As we get older, we are more likely to experience all of these issues, whether or not we have been exposed to medical or occupational radiation. We are all exposed to natural background radiation every day, and those who live in areas with the highest background radiation doses, such as Colorado, do not have higher cancer rates.

Deirdre H. Elder, MS, CHP, CMLSO

Answer posted on 23 August 2021. 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.