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Biological Effects of Radiation

Course Number: 572

Late Somatic Effects of Radiation

Regardless of the radiation dose to which a patient is exposed, there is always the risk of stochastic, i.e., random, effects. Radiation can cause cancer by modifying DNA. Most of these cancers appear 10 years after exposure. It is important to note that radiation will not cause development of new cancers, rather it will increase the risk of developing additional cancers in the population. It is of note that the risk of late somatic effects in children is twice that noted in adults.2,5,6,8,11