The United States is higher in its use of computed tomography (CT) scans than any other industrialized country. There were about 3 million scans done in the U.S. in 1980. By 2007 that number had risen to 70 million. A number of articles published in medical journals over the past few years have reported that excess radiation delivered by these scans will cause cancer deaths in some patients they were meant to help. One study from The National Cancer Institute estimated there would be about 29,000 future cancers related to scans done in 2007 alone. Experts have estimated that as many as a third of all imaging exams do not help the patient or contribute to better outcomes.
Let me repeat that: Experts have estimated that as many as a third of all imaging exams do not help the patient or contribute to better outcomes.
Do patients understand the risk of CT scans? A new study from the University of Washington showed 1/3 of people getting a CT scan didn’t even know the test exposed their body to radiation. They also underestimated the amount of radiation delivered by a CT scan.
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