Whole-body computed tomography (CT) is not a cost-effective screening method, according to a study published in the February issue of the journal Radiology.
The use of whole-body CT as a screening tool for cancer and other diseases is the focus of an ongoing debate. Proponents of whole-body CT emphasize the potential benefit of early detection of disease, but others caution that the costs, false-positive findings and unnecessary radiation might render the procedure more harmful than beneficial. "Our findings show that the average person should think twice before having a whole-body CT examination," said study author, G. Scott Gazelle, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment and associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "When money is wasted on ineffective interventions, it drives up the cost and decreases the availability of other necessary healthcare interventions," he said.
The researchers evaluated the cost-effectiveness of a single whole-body CT screening examination, which they believe to be the most representative use of whole-body CT. They estimated the cost to be $900 in 2001 dollars, based on advertised prices at the time.
Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
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