A small Kuwaiti study used a conditional regression to found that x-rays are an increased risk factor for thyroid cancer (n=313, odds ratio = 2.1, 95% confidence interval: 1.4, 3.1) using a case-matched methodology.
X-rays being a carcinogen isn't surprising. Every time I've gone into my dentist they've tried to image my head. I've never had a cavity, and I generally decline the imaging; their recommended cadence of every two years has seemed too aggressive to me, in the past.
I've got my first dental appointment in more than 18 months next week, and.. I'm inclined to let them image. How should one think about this sort of risk/benefit trade off? Presumably catching a cavity or other issue early is [much?] better. But that itself assumes that the dentists who'd be treating you don't do more harm than good.
You can drown in a river that's on average 20 centimeter deep. Understanding how radiation causes permanent damage isn't easy.
There are models that suggest it causes permanent damage if enough damage is done within one cell that the cell repair mechanisms can't easily repair the damage in a short amount of time.
That suggests radiation for a small amount of time on a small area of the body is more problematic then average background radiation that's the same over a longer time frame and goes towards the whole body.