Low-Dose Ionizing Radiation Seen As Healthful

International evidence suggests that chronic exposure reduces cancer incidence and mortality

MONDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic whole-body exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation -- principally gamma radiation -- could reduce the incidence of cancer and cancer mortality, according to an article published in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.

T. Don Luckey, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine, cited evidence including state surveys on more than 200 million residents of the United States, cancer hospital data on 200 million residents of India, and data on 10,000 residents of Taipei who lived in cobalt-60 contaminated homes.

Luckey found that chronic exposure to low-dose radiation was consistently associated with decreased cancer mortality rates. He suggests the reason was because of the biopositive effects of low-dose radiation, including increased immune competence, faster wound healing, increased resistance to large doses of ionizing radiation, increased DNA and cell repair systems, increased reproduction, decreased morbidity and mortality, and increased average life span.

"Evidence suggests that some of the more than 500,000 cancer deaths in the United States each year could be prevented by increased exposure to ionizing radiation," Luckey states. "Is it ethical for physicians to withhold a modality that might provide significant cancer prevention? Research into the hormetic effects of ionizing radiation should be pursued and encouraged, and physicians should not be hindered from applying existing evidence in making optimal irradiation available to patients who choose it."

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