It has been generally accepted that both natural and man-made sources of ionizing radiation contribute to human exposure and consequently pose a possible risk to human health. However, accumulating evidence has shown that the biological effects of low-dose radiation (LDR) are different from those of high-dose radiation. LDR can stimulate proliferation of normal cells and activate their defense systems, while these biological effects are not observed in some cancer cell types. Although there is still no concordance on this matter, the fact that LDR has the potential to enhance the effects of cancer therapeutics and reduce the toxic side effects of anti-cancer therapy has garnered significant interest. Here, we provide an overview of the current knowledge regarding the experimental data detailing the different responses of normal and cancer tissues to LDR, the underlying mechanisms, and its significance in clinical application.