X-rays may increase childhood leukemia riskOctober 5th, 2010 - 2:59 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Oct 5 (ANI): A new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health has revealed that diagnostic X-rays may increase the risk of developing childhood leukemia.
Specifically, the researchers found that children with acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL) had almost twice the chance of having been exposed to three or more X-rays compared with children who did not have leukemia.
For B-cell ALL, even one X-ray was enough to moderately increase the risk.
The new findings come from the Northern California Childhood Leukemia Study, a population-based case-control study that includes 35 counties in the northern and central regions of the state.
Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, the soldiers in the body’s immune system responsible for detecting and destroying disease-causing agents.
The study included 827 children up to age 15 diagnosed with either ALL or AML. The children with leukemia were each compared with other children randomly selected from the California birth registry who were matched by factors such as age, gender, ethnicity and maternal race.
Interviews were conducted with mothers within four months of the diagnosis of leukemia, and the mothers were asked to report on the number of X-rays received by the child at least 12 months or more before the leukemia diagnosis.
Mothers were also asked about their exposures to X-rays during pregnancy and the year prior to pregnancy.
The study found an increased risk from X-rays for ALL, but not for AML or T-cell leukemia, and there was no association with age at first exposure.
Furthermore, there was no increased risk associated with prenatal exposure to X-rays or maternal X-rays occurring before pregnancy.
The study authors emphasized that health care providers are already cautious in their use of X-rays in children, and use them only when necessary to diagnose potential problems such as respiratory illnesses, broken bones and fractures.
The findings were published in the October 2010 issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology. (ANI)
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