Why is x-ray bad for the fetus and good for cancer cells?

Have you ever been in a radiology or x-ray department before? If you already did, then you might be very familiar with this warning sign. Radiology or x-ray department is the place where you will undergo certain x-ray examinations either for physical examination or as requested by your physician. X-ray plays a main role in taking an image of a part of your body for diagnosis of illnesses.

X-ray is indeed hazardous for the fetus, most especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. The first trimester is a very crucial stage wherein essential organs have begun to form in the embryo’s tiny body. In some cases, the technologist will ask the patient’s last menstrual period (LMP) just to check if she may be pregnant. X-ray is bad for the fetus, as well as the baby.

On the other hand, because of the advancement of x-ray technology, x-ray is not used solely for diagnostic purposes. For the past few decades, x-rays have been used to treat cancers. X-ray is good for people who have cancers because it helps shrink cancer cells, thereby killing it.
So we might ask why x-ray is bad for the fetus or newborn and good for cancer cells. What are their similarities?

The answer: They are both developing.

Both fetus and cancer cells are both developing, making them more sensitive to radiation, unlike adults, they are not that sensitive to radiation because their bodies have already reached full development. Generally, x-ray is not good for people of all ages, however, it can cause detrimental effects on fetus and newborns because they developed to become mature. X-ray, therefore, is more sensitive to developing and reproducing cells like cancer and fetus. Though, x-ray affects normal (not cancerous) and mature (adults) cells, the damage are not as destructive as the effects of cancer and immature cells. Well, we can say that x-ray might be bad for you, but in some ways, it can be a life saver. We’ll never know what x-ray has to offer in the centuries to come!

Photo: taken from OSHA Caution website http://cdn.compliancesigns.com/media/osha-safety/300/OSHA-MRI-X-Ray-Microwave-Sign-OCE-8186_300.gif