Doctors who refer patients - especially children who are more sensitive to the effects of ionising radiation - for diagnostic procedures involving radiation (diagnostic X-ray, a computed tomography (CT) scan, or an isotope scan), and those who administer such procedures, are generally aware of using radiation cautiously. Typically, cancer risks associated with these procedures are very small, and when the procedure is justified the benefits outweigh any possible harmful health effects. However, the use of ionising radiation procedures should be restricted to diagnostics when a disease is suspected and not be performed as for instance routine “health checks”.

Importantly, these procedures are undertaken for the benefit of the patient, and refusing the examination can have very severe health consequences if, for this reason, a disease or injury is not diagnosed or the diagnosis is delayed or incorrect. However, if such examinations are performed repeatedly, patients should feel that they can ask their doctor to check that each examination is medically justified, to help to avoid unnecessary exposure to X-rays or CT scans. Sometimes alternatives exist, like ultrasonography or using an examination of lower radiation exposure, but the judgment of doctors should be trusted of what type of examination they need for proper diagnostics.