You may want to think twice before getting another CT (computed tomography) scan if you’ve had one before. Several studies have suggested that many people have received unnecessary CT scans raising their risk of certain cancers.
Don’t get me wrong, this diagnostic tool has it’s advantages in giving radiologists clear views of internal organs by combining information from multiple x-ray images. But as you add up repeated exposure of this radiation from having multiple scans, studies have shown a sharp increase in cancers and deaths.
We have become much more conscious of the efficiency of screening tests (PSA-prostate tests and mammograms) in evaluating whether these tests truly save lives, and there have been no clinical studies showing that CT imaging saves lives.
The number of CT scans are over 70 million a year. We know that x-ray exposure causes mutations in DNA that leads to cancer. Research has indicated that not all CT machines are created equal. One CT scan is the equivalent to 100 chest x-rays. Some scanners were giving the equivalent of 440 x-rays! WOW! A single test may have a small risk compared to the benefits of an important diagnosis but repeated scans comes with a price.
Women tend to be more vulnerable to radiation and the younger a patient is at the time of the scan, the higher the risk of cancer eventually developing.
We all need to be accountable of our own health and know the number of scans that we’ve had. Ask your doctor questions of why repeat studies are necessary and what other options are available. Discuss the risks and benefits of recommended tests and try to choose tests without radiation such as MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging.