CT Scans Increase Cancer Risk in Children



A new study estimates that CT scans performed on children this year will result in almost 5,000 new cases of cancer.


 

CT SCANS INCREASE CANCER RISK IN CHILDREN

As I discuss in my book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, exposure to medical x-rays has only recently been linked to a significant increase in cancer risk, particularly with the use of CT scans that expose patients to relatively large radiation doses at one time.  In fact, the prestigious Institute of Medicine has estimated that as many as 2 percent of all cancer cases are caused by exposure to medical x-rays.

Although cancer is more common during late adulthood, children are also at risk of developing cancer.  Moreover, due to ongoing rapid growth, children are more sensitive to the cancer-causing effects of radiation exposure than adults.

A newly published study, in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, further raises concerns about the current use of CT scans in children.

In this study, the use of CT scans between 1996 and 2010 in children under the age of 15 was analyzed.  Additionally, actual radiation doses were calculated for 744 CT scans performed on children between 2001 and 2011.

Between 1996 and 2006, the use of CT scans doubled among children younger than 5 years of age, and tripled among children between 5 and 14 years of age.  Between 2006 and 2007, the number of CT scans remained stable, and then began to decline somewhat after 2007.

After calculating the radiation dose associated with individual CT scans, the authors of this study calculated that one new case of cancer would be induced in girls for every 300 to 390 CT scans of the abdomen performed, and for every 330 to 480 CT scans of the chest.

When considering the estimated 4 million CT scans performed on children every year in the United States, the authors of this research study estimated that 4,870 children will go on to develop cancer as a result of having undergone a CT scan.  At the same time, they also estimate that reducing the highest 25 percent of CT scan radiation doses to lower levels could prevent at least 43 percent of these radiation-induced cancers.

CT scans can provide enormously important information to treating physicians, but many CT scans performed (on both adults and children) are of questionable clinical value.  Therefore, as a first step in reducing radiation exposure, CT scans should only be ordered when necessary, and only when other types of scans (e.g., plain x-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans) will not suffice.  Secondly, as I have discussed previously, both in A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race and on my website, there is great variability between hospitals, and even within individual hospitals, in the amount of radiation that is used to perform otherwise identical CT scans; and as the authors of this study note, simply reducing excess radiation levels when performing CT scans may cut the number of cancers induced by CT scans nearly in half!

 

For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.com Top 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.

 

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According to recent Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served on active duty between September 2001 and December 2011 is more than 12 percent.  A new website, Veterans in Healthcare, seeks to connect veterans with potential employers.  If you are a veteran who works in the healthcare field, or if you are an employer who is looking for physicians, advanced practice professionals, nurses, corpsmen/medics, or other healthcare professionals, then please take a look at Veterans in Healthcare. As a retired veteran of the U.S. Army, I would also like to personally urge you to hire a veteran whenever possible.


Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  Over the past 12 months, 3.5 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious readers.  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 


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CT Scans and Cancer Risk in Children





 

A new clinical study suggests that performing CT scans during childhood may significantly increase the risk of leukemia and brain cancer.


 

 

CT SCANS AND CANCER RISK IN CHILDREN

As I discuss in my bestselling book, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race, exposure to medical x-rays, and particularly exposure to radiation from CT scans, is an under-appreciated cancer risk factor.  Based upon even conservative estimates, exposure to medical radiation is thought to cause at least 1 to 2 percent of all new cancer cases, and most of this medical x-ray exposure comes from CT scans.  Additionally, as I also discuss in my book, there is enormous variation in the amount of radiation exposure associated with CT scans between different hospitals, and even within individual hospitals.  Now, a newly published clinical study suggests that the risk of cancer in children due to medical x-rays may be of particular concern.  This new paper appears in the forthcoming issue of the journal The Lancet.

In this study from the United Kingdom, nearly 180,000 patients who underwent CT scans as children, between 1985 and 2002, were followed.  The incidence of cancer in this very large group of patients was then monitored.

In this study, CT scans that delivered a cumulative radiation dose of at least 30 milligray were associated with three times the subsequent risk of leukemia as was observed in patients who received radiation doses less than 5 milligray.  The incidence of brain cancer was also three times higher among patients who received a cumulative radiation dose of 50 milligray or more from CT scans, when compared to patients who received less than 5 milligray.  Now, it is important to mention that these increases in cancer risk were increases in relative risk.  Since both leukemia and brain cancer are rare diseases, the absolute increase in cancer risk was actually quite small (one excess case of leukemia and one excess case of brain cancer per 10,000 CT scans of the head).  However, the findings of this important study point out the need to reduce radiation doses associated with CT scans to as low a level as is possible, especially for CT scans performed on children.  Moreover, alternative imaging studies to CT scans, such as ultrasound and MRI scans, should be used whenever possible to further reduce the exposure of both pediatric patients and adult patients to medical x-rays.


For a groundbreaking overview of cancer risks, and evidence-based strategies to reduce your risk of developing cancer, order your copy of my bestselling book, “A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race,” from AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks-A-MillionVroman’s Bookstore, and other fine bookstores!

Within one week of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was ranked #6 among all cancer-related books on the Amazon.com “Top 100 Bestseller’s List” for Kindle e-books. Within three months of publication, A Cancer Prevention Guide for the Human Race was the #1 book on the Amazon.comTop 100 New Book Releases in Cancer” list.




Disclaimer:  As always, my advice to readers is to seek the advice of your physician before making any significant changes in medications, diet, or level of physical activity


 

Dr. Wascher is an oncologic surgeon, professor of surgery, cancer researcher, oncology consultant, and a widely published author


 

I and the staff of Weekly Health Update would again like to take this opportunity to thank the more than 100,000 health-conscious people from around the world who visit this premier global health information website every month.  (More than 1.3 million pages of high-quality medical research findings were served to the worldwide audience of health-conscious people who visited Weekly Health Update in 2011!)  As always, we enjoy receiving your stimulating feedback and questions, and I will continue to try and personally answer as many of your inquiries as I possibly can.


 





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