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Before Scanning the Kids

Recent studies are showing that region-specific scans may put kids at a higher risk of developing cancer in the future?

Whenever you take your children to get a scan of any sort you have to go through a million hurdles at home to get them to agree. Often times you have to tell the kids it’s going to be like an adventure in outer space, or like a ride in a theme park. The kids usually comply unless they fear the dark or have an undiagnosed case of claustrophobia. Do you know that recent studies are showing that region-specific scans may put kids at a higher risk of developing cancer in the future?

The doses of radiation used in scans for children are often higher and as a result, patients are left exposed to the possibility of cancer. While it may sound alarming that a CT scan could expose the kids to future dangers, the statistics can put us at ease. In one of the studies done it was estimated that of the 85 million scans done on 2011, roughly 5 to 11% were performed on children. Those numbers reveal that about 5 million kids get scans every year.

The higher risks are in areas like the head, abdomen, pelvis, chest, and spine. In a wider scheme it’s fair to say that while the risks for radiation-induced cancer do exist, they are fairly minimal. This type of discovery does call for different protocols in establishing a diagnosis for a child. Rest easy, though, it was revealed that for every five million CT scans there is a possibility for about 5,000 cancers. The word possibility is one that needs to be emphasized because it isn’t a guarantee that cancer will happen.

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Numerous factors need to be considered before CT Scans are dismissed as a high-risk proposition. Often times children’s hospitals know how to apply the right amount of radiation. The statistics cited refer to children younger than 5 years of age and specific areas. While everything dealing with our health often carries at least a minimum risk, sometimes we need to accept that risk in order to improve our health.

If you have any questions about CT scans or any other imaging procedures please feel free to contact us, we would be happy to take your call.

Posted by:

Bobby Serros
MRI & CT Specialist




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