Cancer risk 'raised' by CT scan15th December 2009
Studies have revealed that computed tomography (CT) scanners could lead to an increased risk of cancer.
Findings from two studies carried out in the United States show that as many as one in 80 people could be at risk of developing cancer as a result of being scanned.
This makes them significantly more dangerous than previously thought.
With CT scanners producing higher radiation doses than conventional x-rays, the US scientists say the extra exposure could result in a 10-fold greater risk of cancer than is usually cited.
There is also wide variation in doses received, depending on medical conditions.
Records of 1,119 patients undergoing the 11 most common types of CT diagnostic treatment in four US institutions were analysed for the studies.
Rebecca Smith-Bindman, professor of radiology at the University of California San Francisco, led one of the research teams.
She said: “The risk associated with obtaining a CT is routinely quoted as around one in 1,000 patients who undergo CT will get cancer.
“In our study, the risk of getting cancer in certain groups of patients for certain kinds of scans was as high as one in 80.
“In day-to-day clinical practice, we found significant variation in the radiation doses for the same type of computed-tomography procedures within institutions and across institutions.
"Our results highlight the need for greater standardisation because this is a medical safety issue.”
The Health Protection Agency in the UK said that it was surprised by the findings, which have been published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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Title: Cancer risk 'raised' by CT scan
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 13524
Date Added: 15th Dec 2009