Washington, July 16 : A new study conducted by experts at The University of Nottingham has cast light on a possible link between x-rays and prostate cancer risk.
The researchers have found that men who had a hip or pelvic X-ray or barium enema 10 years previously, were two and a half times more likely to develop prostate cancer than the general population.
They say that the link seemed to be stronger in men who had a family history of the disease.
In their study report, the researchers have revealed that 430 men who had been diagnosed with young onset prostate cancer-found to be suffering from the disease before the age of 60-took part in the study.
The exposure to radiation was part of normal medical procedures that were performed five, 10 or 20 years before diagnosis.
Procedures included hip and leg X-rays, for example taken after an accident, and barium meals and enemas, which are used to diagnose problems with the digestive system.
The researchers, however, admit that the evidence linking diagnostic radiation procedures and prostate cancer is still weak, and that further investigation into this link should be undertaken.
"Although these results show some increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer in men who had previously had certain radiological medical tests we want to reassure men that the absolute risks are small and there is no proof that the radiological tests actually caused any of the cancers," said Professor Kenneth Muir, from the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health at The University of Nottingham.
A research article published online in the British Journal of Cancer suggests that X-ray procedures used for diagnostic purposes deliver very small amounts of radiation per procedure.
The article also says that the use of X-ray procedures is minimised in current medical practice, and that they do not increase the risk of developing cancer for most people.