CT Scans Increase the Risk of Cancer
While technology is a wonderful thing, it often comes with a price. The warning that every form of treatment comes with certain risks is not stated often enough or plainly enough. Two recent studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine relates the risk of having a computed tomography examination (CT scan) in more meaningful terms, dependent on age, gender and the type of scan.
“An estimated 1 in 270 women who underwent CT coronary angiography at age 40 years will develop cancer from that CT scan (1 in 600 men), compared with an estimated 1 in 8100 women who had a routine head CT scan at the same age (1 in 11,080 men). For 20-year-old patients, the risks were approximately doubled, and for 60-year-old patients, they were approximately 50% lower.”
A second study published in the same issue does the math to determine that “approximately 29,000 future cancers could be related to CT scans performed in the US in 2007.” Of these, an estimated 14,000 would be from abdomen and pelvis scans, 4,100 from chest scans and 4,000 from head scans.