Clinical Benefits Of CT Outweigh The Potential Cancer Risk In Young Adults

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A study published in the journal Radiology indicates that the potential risk of radiation induced cancer due to exposure to the CT scan is much lower when compared to the threat laid by the health conditions that require the scanning.


CT or CAT scan is a specialised imaging technique that uses X-rays for the production of images. These images are used for the identification of internal abnormalities. It provides information about the exact size, shape and location of the abnormality, necessary data for the surgery and also the severity of some of the fatal medical conditions.


Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston concluded through their analysis that people who undergo CT scans normally are with serious health conditions such as trauma, breathing and circulatory problems, abdominal abnormalities and emergency room cases which pose a greater death risk than radiation exposure through CT scans.


In their study, they analysed imaging records of 22,000 young adults between the age group of 18 and 35 who underwent chest and abdomen or pelvic scans between the years 2003 and 2007. This age group supports the study as they are more likely to live for 10 to 20 years and are considered more susceptible to radiation exposure. In the follow-up studies for an average of 5.5 years showed that 7.1 per cent of those having chest and 4 per cent having abdominopelvic CT scan died. It was found that these figures are much higher when compared to the .1 per cent long-term risk of death due to radiation induced cancer and also much higher than 1 per cent chance of death in five-year period.


Experts believe that though exposure to the heavy doses of ionizing radiations may lead to cancer or leukemia after many years, the risk is much less when compared to the benefits of CT. With the evolution of modern technology radiation dose of CT scan is also reduced and the information can be acquired within seconds.

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