The risk of cancer mortality from a single full-body computed tomography (CT) scan is modest, but not negligible, and the risks resulting from elective annual scans are much higher, according to a study published in the September issue of the journal Radiology.
The increasing popularity of elective, or self-referred, full-body CT screening has raised concerns regarding the radiation-related cancer mortality risk associated with full-body CT radiation exposure. Based on anecdotal evidence, these scans are performed on asymptomatic people to identify a variety of diseases, including colon and lung cancer and coronary artery disease.
"Our research provides definitive evidence that radiation risk is associated with full-body CT scans," said David J. Brenner, Ph.D., D.Sc., lead author of the study and professor of radiation oncology and public health at Columbia University in New York City. "The radiation dose from a full-body CT scan is comparable to the doses received by some of the atomic-bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where there is clear evidence of increased cancer risk." The researchers studied low-dose A-bomb survivors, not high-dose survivors.
Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
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