The discovery of a new type of radiation by W.C. Röntgen in 1895, called X rays, was very soon followed by the publication of numerous papers describing the potential and actual applications of the new technique. Almost simultaneously with these early uses, the first observations on the harmful effects of radiation in the human body were also made. Alopecia, the loss of hair following X-ray photography, was reported in 1896, about four months after Röntgen’s discovery. Other skin lesions were eloquently described by several authors about the same time. The earliest case of radiation-induced skin cancer was recorded in 1902 in a radiologist who had made X-ray diagnosis during the preceding years. As early as 1911, four cases of leukemia among radiologists were also reported and it was stated that long continued exposure to X rays might cause this disease. In the meantime, acute effects of radiation on internal organs including blood-forming tissues and the intestinal tract had also been observed.
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