Cancer risk seen in full-body CT scans

Aug. 31, 2004 at 10:29 AM
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OAK BROOK, Ill., Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Repeated full-body CT scans expose the body to radiation levels similar to survivors of the atomic bomb blast in Hiroshima, a study released Tuesday said.

The increasing popularity of elective, or self-referred, full-body computed tomography, or CT screening has raised concerns regarding the radiation-related cancer mortality risk, said David Brenner, lead author of the study and professor of radiation oncology and public health at Columbia University in New York City.

"The radiation dose from a full-body CT scan is comparable to the doses received by some of the atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where there is clear evidence of increased cancer risk," Brenner said in a statement.

The study found a 45-year-old person who underwent one full-body CT screening would have an estimated lifetime cancer mortality risk of approximately 0.08 percent, which would produce cancer in one in 1,200 people. However, a 45-year-old who has annual full-body CT scans for 30 years would accrue an estimated lifetime cancer mortality risk of about 1.9 percent or almost one in 50.

The study appears in the September issue of the journal Radiology, published by the Radiological Society of North America Inc.

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