Efforts to improve monitoring and protective equipment have paid off, researchers say
TUESDAY, July 19, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Radiologists who graduated from medical school after 1940 are not at greater risk of death from chronic exposure to low levels of radiation, according to a study published online July 19 in Radiology.
Amy Berrington de Gonzalez, D.Phil., chief of the National Cancer Institute’s Radiation Epidemiology Branch in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues analyzed records from the American Medical Association Physician Masterfile. This database was created in 1906 and includes information about more than 1.4 million U.S. doctors, residents, and medical students. The researchers compared rates of cancer and death among 43,763 radiologists and 64,990 psychiatrists who graduated from medical school between 1916 and 2006. Psychiatrists were selected because they were unlikely to be exposed to radiation while on the job.
Radiologists who graduated medical school before 1940 faced increased death rates from conditions related to radiation exposure, such as acute myeloid leukemia, melanoma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the researchers found. They noted, however, that male radiologists who graduated after 1940 fared better than the psychiatrists. The newer radiologists had no evidence of increased radiation-related deaths.
“The authors found no evidence of excess mortality in radiologists who graduated more recently, possibly because of increased radiation protection and/or lifestyle changes,” the authors write.
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