Radiation exposure. Cancer. These scary words are sometimes used in association with the field of x-ray radiology. In some circles there is the belief that x-ray technicians may be vulnerable to long-term or terminal illness just from doing their jobs.
But these claims have no merit in the world of modern-day x-ray technology. The profession of x-ray technician is completely safe. Not only that, it is well-paying and in demand as Baby Boomers age and develop more and more medical needs. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth for x-ray technicians will rise by 17 percent by 2018 – a faster than average rate, according to the department.
In short, this is a promising career choice that should not be overlooked due to dubious claims of unhealthy radiation exposure.
In fairness, there is some truth to the radiation claim in the distant background history of x-ray radiology. Certain practitioners were diagnosed with cancers and other maladies that were believed to be related to radiation exposure. But most of those cases occurred prior to the 1950s. The technology itself was developed in the 1940s, especially during World War II, so much of that occurred in the field’s infancy. Frankly, mistakes were made, and some people surely got sick, but we didn’t know a fraction of what we do now about the effects of exposure and how to avoid it.
Nowadays, x-ray technicians are under no more threat from radiation exposure on their daily job than they would be diagnosing a yeast infection. In other words, the risk of radiation exposure is virtually non-existent. Think about it for just a moment: If there was considerable vocational risk for x-ray technicians, wouldn’t regulatory agencies have something to say about the dangers?
X-ray technicians work under multiple safety protocols that ensure they are kept well-away and safe from the radiation used in the process of creating internal imagery. In addition, radiographers work behind protective shields, wear lead aprons and gloves and must wear exposure badges that are tested on a regular basis to ensure intolerable radiation levels are not developing in the body of the technician. In addition, there have been significant advances in radiology technology itself so that the process requires less radiation and is much safer than in previous decades.
The truth of the matter is anyone who spends more than a minimal amount of time outside in the sun – basking at the beach for example – runs a higher risk of absorbing unhealthy radiation and suffering from cancer or a related ailment.