How dangerous is the soaring use of medical imaging tests that rely on ionizing radiation?

The Hidden Dangers of CT Scans

CT scan image
Medical imaging tests are exposing more of us to potentially cancer-causing radiation. Health mag investigated when you really need that scan – €”and when you should just say no.

A growing number of doctors and medical organizations are worried about the soaring use of medical imaging tests that rely on ionizing radiation. This radiation can damage your cells’ DNA, which may, over time, lead to cancer. The more you’re exposed to, the riskier it is. And thanks to the increase in computed tomography (CT) scans – which typically emit far higher doses of radiation than traditional X-rays or even other imaging tests like mammograms – exposure has risen dramatically.

In 1980, only about 3 million CT scans were performed in the United States. By 2013, that number had skyrocketed to 76 million. Exactly how dangerous are all those zaps? In 2009, National Cancer Institute researchers estimated that the 72 million CT scans performed in 2007 could lead to as many as 29,000 future cases of cancer. ”

Read The Hidden Dangers of Medical Scans, Health, November 11, 2014, which covers:

  • Weighing the rewards and risks
  • The radiation equation
  • What doctors don’t know can hurt us
  • Making scans safer
  • Questions to ask before you have that scan
  • How much radiation you get from…
  • Your anti-radiation diet

Related post: How Much Do CT Scans Increase the Risk of Cancer? scientificamerican, Jun 18, 2013.

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