It’s understood that scans, CT scans, do put children at a risk for possible cancer. The statistics project a possibility for close to 29,000 future cancers. A big part of the risk comes from exposure to radiation. An article published in jamanetwork.com stated that “According to a study of seven U.S. healthcare systems, the use of computed tomography (CT) scans of the head, abdomen/pelvis, chest or spine, in children younger than age 14 more than doubled from 1996 to 2005, and this associated radiation is projected to potentially increase the risk of radiation-induced cancer in these children in the future.” It’s understandable that there is a concern because of possible future side effects.
While scans are a necessity sometimes, and they showed increased in use, there are safety measures being taken in order to work on the dosage of radiation used. The concern is making sure that it isn’t used recklessly; especially when it seems like the easy way out for an isolated headache is a scan. In a medscape.com article it was stated that while there was a need for better organization and observation of guidelines, there is a decrease in scans showing since 2008. A lot of the problems may have a lot to do with patient parents or guardians, as well as scan happy practitioners.
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It’s vital that a child’s parents educate themselves on symptoms and understand the difference between what may be serious and what’s routine. It’s difficult to tell what’s what with a newborn, but as kids grow and are able to manifest themselves, things change. A lot of times the scans are necessary, especially if a child already has, or shows the possibility of having some complex condition. A lot of the past studies focusing on risks also explained that there were multiple variables outside of radiation doses.
The key to minimizing risks for children is a better understanding of when it becomes imperative to treat a child. If the symptoms initially presented are treatable, the scan is not nearly as imperative. Other studies have questioned if physicians are relying more on scans because they feel it will render a better diagnosis and help them create a better treatment plan. When it comes to pediatrics there are some difficulties that also relate to patients. Children often times don’t explain how the feel correctly and on top of that there’s that barrier with parents. Parents may not understand procedures, be too young, or even have a language barrier with the Pediatrician.
As time progresses the use of scans in a pediatric setting will only be improved. A CT scan can only be improve as time progresses. Hopefully there will be new ways to improve patient factors that could prove difficult to overcome.
If you have any questions about CT Scanners , or a CT scan procedure, please feel free to contact us anytime. We look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.