Ionizing radiation are classified as Class I carcinogens. The exposure to this factor increases the risk of developing cancer, and researchers aim to establish the relationship between the exposure and the risk levels, as well as guidelines which would limit exposure to it. The risks were assessed through studies related to the atomic bomb survivors, to the populations exposed to radiation for the purpose of diagnosis or therapy and to the professionally exposed populations – radiologists, radiotherapists, workers in uranium mines, operatives in the nuclear industry. The population of Japanese survivors of the atomic bombs is the largest population exposed and studied with an extremely wide age range (from the irradiation in utero to old people). This population, made up of 93.000 people, represents a major source of information used to determine the potential risk of low dose radiation exposure. Health professionals working with ionizing radiation have been studied ever since the 1890’s. After the implementation of a radiation protection system, the doses received decreased only to increase again with the technical development and its use in a wide variety of specialties. Two recent studies on large cohorts and during long periods of time brought information about the cancer risk due to occupational exposure to ionizing radiation and shed light on the need to monitor exposed staff and re-evaluate radiological safety standards. This review is focused on recent literature concerning the radiation exposure of medical professionals.
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