No dose of radiation is considered “safe” since we don’t ever know which interaction will damage a cell irreparably. However, we live on planet earth and are bombarded by radiation from the sun daily. Do you fly in airplanes? You can get the equivalent dose to a chest X-ray every time you fly a few hours. Will you get cancer from it? Probably not. But no one can say for sure.
The dose of radiation to the ankle will be minimal. Not something to worry about if there is appropriate benefit of gaining medical information. However, if you are looking for soft tissue injury, an X-ray radiograph cannot tell you much in that regard. It is excellent for evaluating bones and seeing fractures. For soft tissue pathology MRI is far better. I hope that helps.
An oncologist decides what treatment is appropriate for patients with breast cancer. There are different types of treatment. An oncologist will help determine what treatment is best based on the type of cancer and what kinds of treatments are available in your community. You may want to explore options at other institutions if you are not happy with the options provided. You should be aware that there are oncologists that specialize in radiation treatment. But you will usually not see that doctor first. A radiation oncologist is not a “radiologist” though, even though they plan the dose of radiation therapy. The terminology can be confusing.
Your wife may have been referred to a radiation oncologist by the primary oncologist. He will typically work with a radiation oncologist and a breast surgeon. The primary oncologist will decide the course of treatment and what options are best (Chemo and/or radiation and/or surgery and or clinical trials.) You should ask the oncologist about what treatment options are best for your wife. I hope that helps. Good luck to you both.
Dr. Jennifer Benjamin
A CT scan circles around your body and similarly captures the radiation that passes through, but it does so with greater capacity and detail. Allowing for more detailed imagery of the density of the different substances in your body. The “computed” part of “computed tomography” or “CT” computes or assembles the data collected into an image with greater detail than a single dimension chest X-ray. Also, the images acquired can be “windowed” to optimize the viewing of lung tissue, soft organs or bone to be more sensitive to pathology. The level of detail visible with a CT scan is much greater than that of a chest X-ray. Sometimes there is a hint of pathology on a chest X-ray that is better demonstrated on a more detailed CT scan. The reports for a CT will therefore be more detailed than for an X-ray since more of your body is demonstrated.
I hope that helps.
If you have ANY question about your study, I’d encourage you to get a copy and take it to be read by another radiologist at another facility for a second opinion. You are entitled to do this.
Dr. Jennifer Benjamin
There are different levels of image quality. You may not need the best to identify disc bulges which are easy to see. However, if you are looking for subtle nerve abnormalities you are going to want to generate the finest quality images with the ability to see great detail. Open MRs generate the lowest quality images. A 1.5 T (“T” stands for “Tesla” which is a unit of measurement that identifies the strength of the magnet) is better . A 3T magnet generates better quality images than a 1.5 T and a 7T magnet - usually only available in research facilities -gives even better image quality. 3T is the best commonly available. Open MR is designed for the claustrophobic- not best image quality though.
What we can do is identify the factors, exposures and behaviors that generally increase risk for anyone. Whatever your family history is, you can’t change it or do anything about it, so worrying about it is useless. You can’t change past exposures to toxins, radiation, or the sun.
What you should focus on is changing the things that are within your control. For example, you can choose to reduce the amount of sun exposure by covering up and using sun blocks. You can choose to get skin cancer exams if you are concerned about a lesion. You can choose to eat things that improve your health.
Be wise, be safe, worry less, and make good choices.