People are often concerned about being exposed to radiation during an X-ray. However, the part of your body being examined will only be exposed to a low level of radiation for a fraction of a second. Generally, the amount of radiation you’re exposed to during an X-ray is the equivalent to between a few days and a few years exposure to natural radiation from the environment. Being exposed to X-rays does carry a risk of causing cancer many years or decades later, but this risk is thought to be very small. For example, an X-ray of your chest, limbs or teeth is equivalent to a few days worth of background radiation, and has less than a 1 in  1,000,000 chance of causing cancer. The benefits and risks of having an X-ray will be weighed up before it’s recommended.

Talk to your doctor or radiographer about the potential risks beforehand, if you have any concerns.