July 26, 2011 Leave a comment
By Alina Hsu
There’s been a lot of discussion recently about the risks of CT scans, partly in response to the new imaging data reported by Hospital Compare.
According to an article by Rita F. Redberg, M.D., M.Sc., in Engineering a learning healthcare system: A look at the future: Workshop summary, (p. 128) “[an estimated] 2 percent of all cancers in the United states are attributable to radiation from CT scans, and…some 3 million additional cancers can be expected in the next decade because of increased use of CT scans.” Further, the increased use of CT scans has not been associated with decreases in mortality or improved health outcomes. According to the FDA, CT screening is also associated with false positives, which may necessitate costly, painful, invasive and unneeded follow-up procedures that may themselves present additional risks. The incremental increase in cancer risk for an individual is very small compared to the baseline risk, but at a population level there is reason for concern.