30,000 Cancer Cases Caused Each Year By Common Medical Device. Have You Been Exposed?

30,000 Cancer Cases Caused Each Year By Common Medical Device. Have You Been Exposed?

By Sylvia Anderson, InsidersHealth Editor

There is no doubt that the use of computed tomography (CT or CAT) scans has many benefits. CT scans can help doctors detect everything from kidney stones to tumors. That’s partly because CT scans yield higher resolution images than conventional medical x-rays. The downside is that they also expose patients to sometimes thousands of times the amount of radiation of a medical x-ray.

Many experts recognize that this is a huge problem.

There’s been an increase of unnecessary CT scans in the past 10 years which means hundreds of thousands of Americans are facing unnecessary, horrible deaths from CT scan induced cancers.

What should you do if your doctor orders a CT scan for you or your child?

Researchers say you should think twice. Extremely large doses of radiation from these scans are not innocuous. Many patients are prescribed multiple, unnecessary CT scans which often stems from a lack of communication between doctors. Having the same CT scan done twice just because one doctor “didn’t get the memo” is downright scandalous. Actually, it’s tragic when you consider it’s a mistake that could double the chance of developing cancer from the procedure.

Children are at much higher risk for developing radiation-induced cancer. Children are are much more sensitive to radiation because of the way their cells divide. Their DNA is much more susceptible to damage. While the risk of an adult developing cancer from a CT scan is about 1 in 2000, for a child the risk goes up to 1 in 500.

In some cases a CT scan is necessary. To diagnose severe head trauma or internal injuries, to diagnose an existing cancer, or acute abdominal pain, an ultrasound or MRI will not do the job. But that doesn’t make the fact that almost 30,000 people in the US alone develop radiation-induced cancer every year from CT scans any less alarming.

Why are so many CT scans prescribed in the first place?

There is a long list of reasons but here are a few:

  • Doctors are worried they will be sued for malpractice if they don’t cover all the bases.
  • Full body CT scans are advertised as a way to find everything that might be wrong with you. Many peoples see a full body scan as a proactive measure.
  • Some patients request a scan because they are concerned that there may be a hidden problem that simply hasn’t shown up yet – former smokers fit into this category.

Why CT scans are hazardous to your health.

The radiation from CT scans causes:

  • DNA changes that lead to cancer.
  • Chromosomal mutations that lead to aggressive cancers.
  • Misdiagnosis and false positives.

How to protect yourself.

Whenever possible, simply avoid x-rays. Keep in mind that sometimes a CT scan is necessary. But always ask your doctor if an MRI or an ultrasound could be performed instead. They have fewer harmful side effects and often can do the job just as well. Don’t put yourself or your child at risk for the perceived benefit of high tech scanning.

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