CT Scans Radiation Exposure and Future Cancer Risk

I attribute this post to Dr Gifford-Jones ( a well-known medical writer, who dedicated his life to

simplifying many medical matters for the public, in a simple and insightful way ) ….

Find him online at       http://docgiff.com/

I found this particular post timely in a world addicted to tests to ( improve) health

                                    What People Don’t Know About CT Scans

   CT scans can be life-saving when diagnosing cancer, internal bleeding, blood clots, broken bones and other problems. But what many people don’t realize is the greater the number of CT scans, the greater the risk of developing cancer. A report from the University of California estimates that CT scans will be the cause 14,500 cases of cancer in the future.

   To find out how much people know about CT scans, researchers interviewed 235 patients who were scheduled for a non-emergency CT scan. It’s shocking that one-third did not understand that their body was being exposed to  radiation. Those that were aware grossly underestimated the exposure. Researchers then asked what the patients were thinking about before the procedure was done. The majority replied they were more concerned about getting their parking tickets validated than possible radiation effects, This was not a very encouraging survey.

   The brutal fact is that a single CT scan exposes patients to the same amount of radiation as 500 X-rays of the lungs, 1,000 more than dental X-rays or bone mineral tests. So always ask your doctor if the CT scan is needed and if so, could an MRI or ultrasound which does not subject patients to radiation, provide the same result. It’s also wise to keep a record of your own radiation history.

   Remember that CT scans are the biggest source of radiation of all imaging technologies.  And every year about 10 percent of  North Americans are scanned!


I think that Dr. Gifford-Jones has a very strong argument here ….

Now I feel that we are in an era of electronic medical records …..BUT  who does keep track of an individual’s TOTAL LIFE TIME RADIATION DOSE.

Welll…simple….  NO ONE DOES !!!  ….  To me ,even in the age of electronic medical records, much of the information about you is only available to

the doctor having access ,because he is in the circle of care ….  but, as yet…much is not immediately available to the ER Department or the evening

Medical clinic you may attend from time to time … I believe we should all have a MEDICAL SMART CARD which records all your medical visits,tests,X-rays,pharmaceuticals

and the information can be shared with any medical provider who needs the information to guide your care. The efficiency in information availability is well worth the costs



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