by Sylvia Anderson
October 25, 2010
There is no doubt that the use of
computed tomography (CT or CAT)
scans has many benefits.
They help doctors detect everything from
kidney stones to tumors. Thatís partly because CT scans yield much
higher resolution images than conventional medical x-rays. The
downside is that they also expose the patient to sometimes thousands
of times the amount of radiation of a medical regular x-ray.
Many experts recognize that this is a big problem.
There's been an explosion in unnecessary CT scans over the past 10
years which means hundreds of thousands of Americans are facing
unnecessary, horrible deaths from CT scan induced cancers.
you do if your doctor orders CT scan for you or your child?
Researchers say you should think twice.
The extremely large doses of radiation
from these scans are not innocuous. Many patients are prescribed
multiple, unnecessary CT scans which often stems from a lack of
communication between physicians. Having the same scan done twice
simply because one doctor ďdidnít get the memoĒ is simply
Actually, itís tragic when you consider
itís a mistake that could double the chance of developing cancer
from the procedure.
Developing radiation-induced cancer is at higher risk for
children. The reason is children are much more sensitive to
radiation because of the way their cells divide. Their DNA is much
more susceptible to damage.
While the risk of an adult developing
cancer from a CT scan is about 1 in 2000, for a child the risk goes
up to 1 in 500.
In some cases a CT scan is a necessity. To diagnose severe head
trauma or internal injuries, to diagnose an existing cancer, or
acute abdominal pain, an ultrasound or MRI will not do the job.
But that doesn't make the fact that
nearly 30,000 people in the US alone get cancer every year from CT
scans any less alarming.
Why are so
many CT scans prescribed in the first place?
There's a long list of reasons but here are a few:
Doctors are worried that be sued
for malpractice if they'll cover all the bases
Full body CT scans are
advertised as a way to find everything that could be wrong
with you. Many peoples see a full body scan as a proactive
Some patients request a scan
because they're worried there may be a hidden problem that
simply hasn't shown up yet Ė former smokers fit into this
Why CT scans
are hazardous to your health
The radiation from CT scans causes:
DNA changes that lead to cancer
Chromosomal mutations that lead
to aggressive cancers
Misdiagnosis and false positives
How to protect
Whenever possible, simply avoid x-rays. Keep in mind that sometimes
a CT scan is necessary.
But always ask your doctor if an
MRI or an
ultrasound can be performed
instead. They have fewer harmful side effects and many times can do
the job just as well.
Donít put you or your child at
risk for the perceived benefit of high tech scanning.