While CT scans are an excellent way to detect problems that may not otherwise be detected by common X-rays, there is a growing concern that the exposure to radiation increases the risks for cancer. A part of the problem now goes beyond radiation and into proper education on the risks of the scan itself.
Physicians normally explain the reason for the scan and why a patient would benefit from it. Part of the growing concern for radiation exposure lies not only with the amount of radiation used but also the number of times a patient has to have the test done. There are occasions in which patients have to have a scan more than once for reasons such as insufficient data for an accurate diagnosis, and looking for an alternate mode of treatment.
In an article published by the Wall Street Journal it was stated that: “Scientists at Duke University, for example, recently showed that radiation in CT abdomen scans could be cut by 50% and still allow doctors to accurately detect appendicitis. Some doctors are using computer simulations to help them calculate how much to vary radiation doses between, for instance, small and large people and men and women, factors that can affect how much radiation is absorbed.”
A big concern of radiation reduction is the quality of the picture but if a reduction can still detect a condition, and studies show it, chances are that there is a way to dial the radiation back while still being effective. The cancer risk is real but as early as five months ago articles were stating that the medical community had yet to determine the long term risks from CT scans.
An article in published in Reuters cited that one study from the National Cancer Institute put out an estimate of 29,000 future cases of cancer from scans performed in 2007 alone. While these statistics are alarming, it’s important to stay optimistic and consider that those cases could also be a product of numerous other factors.
If you have any questions about CT Scanners, or procedures please feel free to call us anytime.
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