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Exposure to ionising radiation is an established risk factor for many cancers. We conducted a case-control study to investigate whether exposure to low dose ionisation radiation from diagnostic x-ray procedures could be established as a risk factor for prostate cancer. In all 431 young-onset prostate cancer cases and 409 controls frequency matched by age were included. Exposures to barium meal, barium enema, hip x-rays, leg x-rays and intravenous pyelogram (IVP) were considered. Exposures to barium enema (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.06, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01-4.20) and hip x-rays (adjusted OR 2.23, 95% CI 1.42-3.49) at least 5 years before diagnosis were significantly associated with increased prostate cancer. For those with a family history of cancer, exposures to hip x-rays dating 10 or 20 years before diagnosis were associated with a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer: adjusted OR 5.01, 95% CI 1.64-15.31 and adjusted OR 14.23, 95% CI 1.83-110.74, respectively. Our findings show that exposure of the prostate gland to diagnostic radiological procedures may be associated with increased cancer risk. This effect seems to be modified by a positive family history of cancer suggesting that genetic factors may play a role in this risk association.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Cancer

Publication Date





1852 - 1856


Case-Control Studies, Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation, Genetic Predisposition to Disease, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced, Prostatic Neoplasms, Radiography, Risk Factors, Urography