Why You Should Seriously Think Twice Before Getting a CT Scan

Learning More About Your Radiation Exposure Risk When Getting a CT Scan

We all know that certain medical tests can expose us to radiation. The question is how much radiation? Is the exposure more harmful than the benefit of the test? Many of us think about this, but no one asks and no medical providers are running around volunteering the details. So here is some information you should know, research, and consider before agreeing to your next x-ray or CT scan.

In the forefront has been the controversy about the CT scan. Doctors use this test to diagnose everything from concussions to cancers. Recent studies confirm that the frequency of drs. ordering CT scans has nearly tripled since 1996. One of the concerns is that for children, the risk of radiation exposure may be especially high.

An international study that was performed followed children who has CT scans for a 23 year period. The children who had these scans performed were THREE times as likely to develop a brain cancer and FOUR times as likely to develop a leukemia than those children who did NOT have any CT scans performed.

Scary statistics.

Sometimes there is no option and an x-ray or CT scan MUST be performed in order to rule out a life threatening condition. In those cases, where you are sure you have no other choices, the benefit far outweighs the risk. When the scan is an option, one must think long and hard before exposing yourself to that amount of radiation. Ask your doctor! Speak up! Can any other test be performed to diagnose me? Is this CT scan absolutely necessary for my health?

Studies reveal that the amount of radiation exposure from ONE CT scan is equal to:

100-250 chest x-rays

1,400 dental x-rays

240 Five Hour flights

70,000 airport scans

19 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day

NOW....if THAT information does not make you think...I don't know what will.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

So Much to Say July 15, 2012 at 07:37 PM
WOW....You work for a ambulance chaser attorney? If my doctors says I need a CAT, I will do whatever he says. Stop instilling fear, it discredits you. Your "About" makes this hogwash article make sense.
Joe R July 16, 2012 at 12:54 AM
From Time magazine, 6-27-08: "Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans help doctors detect everything from cancer to kidney stones. But some physicians are raising concerns about the safety of such procedures — most notably, an increase in cancer risk. A CT scan packs a mega-dose of radiation — as much as 500 times that of a conventional X-ray. If your doctor orders a CT scan for you or your child, should you think twice? Absolutely, say researchers behind two recent studies that sound the alarm about the increased cancer risk associated with multiple CT scans."
Corine Mogenis July 16, 2012 at 01:14 PM
These studies have been done internationally. Time, Newsweek and many other credible publications have printed articles on this starting in 2007 until recently. You can choose to do whatever you want regarding your healthcare. The point is everyone has a choice and needs to be informed. I am not here to instill fear, just RELAY THE FACTS. All you have to do is research it and you will find it is true fact and not "hogwash." PS - I do not work for an ambulance chaser attorney. We pride ourselves on taking only selective credible cases. Making that generalized statement is closed minded and ignorant, but then again, so is your assumption that the facts in this blog post are inaccurate. Maybe your time would be best spent researching the topic instead of attacking the truth in such a rude and ignorant way.
Corine Mogenis July 16, 2012 at 01:17 PM
All you have to do is search the internet for radiation exposure from CT scans. You will find numerous articles, stuides and information that wil provide you with this and more information. It is out there so you can make an informed decision. Thank you Dr. Salwitz for weighing in as well. Who is better qualified to comment than an onclogist as well?
Steven Kairys July 18, 2012 at 03:41 AM
An important discussion. CT scans are used for children because they are quick and easy to do. The children usually don't have to be sedated and even a small hospital can perform them. Sometimes they can give truly vital information. However there are three points to raise. First, CT scans are used too much because of the fear of malpractice. Children with headaches, children with minor trauma or concussions do not need CT scans; children with acute abdominal pain don't usually need them. Second, there are non radiation methods of obtaining the same or better information. Ultrasounds are also easy to do and there is no radiation; however, the test only works if there is a skilled technician to perform the study and an equally skilled radiologist to interpret the results. So sadly, ultrasounds are not available for children in most community hospitals and even in some children's hospitals. Third, the most sensitive and specific procedure, an MRI also contains no radiation, but takes a long time to perform and most young children need to be kept very still for those long periods, which means some form of sedation or even anesthesia. As advice to parents, I would always ask if the CT is really needed. If so, and the idea of transfer to a different center is too difficult, then at least ask that the most minimal amount of radiation be used for the CT. Yes, CT's can be done using lower amounts of radiation. Steven Kairys, MD


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