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Professional/Education/Science Policies

Policy number Policy name Policy date Sunset date
PP 25-C AAPM Position Statement on Radiation Risks from Medical Imaging Procedures 4/10/2018 12/31/2023
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Policy text

The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) supports the position that medical imaging should be appropriate and should use the radiation dose necessary to accomplish the clinical task.

At the present time, epidemiological evidence supporting increased cancer incidence or mortality from radiation doses below 100 mSv is inconclusive. As diagnostic imaging doses are typically much lower than 100 mSv, when such exposures are medically appropriate, the anticipated benefits to the patient are highly likely to outweigh any small potential risks.

Given the lack of scientific consensus about potential risks from low doses of radiation, predictions of hypothetical cancer incidence and mortality from the use of diagnostic imaging are highly speculative. The AAPM, and other radiation protection organizations, specifically discourages these predictions of hypothetical harm. Such predictions can lead to sensationalistic stories in the public media. This may lead some patients to fear or refuse safe and appropriate medical imaging, to the detriment of the patient.

Medical physicists continuously strive to improve medical imaging by optimizing radiation doses while ensuring that the needed level of image quality is obtained, thereby contributing to the widely recognized benefits of medical imaging.

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