Thursday, 30 June 2011

Studies find just one CT scan exposes you to radition equivalent to 309 chest X-rays

Medical studies published in VOL 169 (NO. 22), DEC 14/28, 2009 edition of the Archives of Internal Medicine have found that radiation from just one computed tomographic (CT) scan actually causes cancer decades after patient exposure.

CT scans are used to diagnose various medical conditions, including heart blockages, colon cancer, brain tumours and pneumonia. The research shows that the risk of developing cancer increases with just one CT scan. CT scans blasts X-radiation in a test that allows doctors to see a three-dimensional image of a targeted organ or tissue.

The first study, undertaken in four San Francisco hospitals, found that the doses of radiation are four times higher than they are supposed to be. Just one CT scan exposes every patient to the equivalent of 309 chest X-rays. This study found that one in 270 women and one in 600 men who underwent a CT coronary angiography (a heart scan) would develop cancer as a result of the test.

Amy Berrington de Gonzalez of the radiation epidemiology branch of the U.S. National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., and her team found 14,000 additional U.S. cancer cases a year were caused by CT scans of the abdomen and pelvis, 4,100 from chest scans, 4,000 from head scans and 2,700 from CT angiography.

A second study led by Rebecca Smith-Bindman of the department of radiology and biomedical imaging at the University of California, San Francisco found that of the 72 million CT scan images done in the United States in 2007 (up from three million in 1980) 29,000 of those scanned developed supplementary cancers. Cancers caused by the CT scan radiation appear 20-30 years after the procedure,the study found. With a 50-percent mortality rate the CT scans will cause approximately 15,000 deaths annually.

The studies conclude that there is far more radiation from medical CT scans than has been recognized previously. CT scans do more harm than good as they inflict tens of thousands of people with cancer annually.

The studies also warns that CT scans are being used inappropriately. In a study published by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, John You found that CT scans of the brain were commonly ordered for headaches, but fewer than 2 per cent of those scans revealed a treatable abnormality.

Do you have a choice? Yes! There are other less harmful forms of medical imaging that allow physicians to see inside the body. Ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans do not involve radiation. Do physicians give you a choice?

No! Instead of ordering these less harmful medical imaging scans more and more physicians are exposing their patients to the ionizing radiation from CT scans and X-rays which we now know causes mutations in our DNA and eventually leads to cancer.

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