Saturday, June 9, 2012

CT Scans and Childhood Cancer

CT Scans Increase Children’s Cancer Risk, Study Finds
Cancer | By DENISE GRADY| June 6, 2012, 6:30 pm

[excerpted] "CT scans in children can cause small but significant increases in the risk of leukemia and brain cancer, a new study finds

The new study, published online on Wednesday in The Lancet, a British medical journal, is based on the records of nearly 180,000 children who had scans from 1985 to 2002 in Britain. There were 74 cases of leukemia and 135 cases of brain cancer in the group. The authors estimated the radiation doses and found that the more scans the children had and the more radiation they received, the higher their risk.

Children under 15 who had two or three scans of the head had triple the risk of brain cancer compared with the general population, the researchers found, and 5 to 10 scans tripled the risk of leukemia. But the baseline risk is extremely low — 4.5 cases of leukemia per 100,000 people under 20, and 3.5 cases of cancer of the brain or central nervous system — so that even tripled, it remains small.

...An editorial in the same issue of the journal notes that Dr. Pearce’s findings, based on data from actual patients, support earlier risk estimates based on comparisons of the radiation dose from CT scans to the doses received by survivors of the atomic bombing of Japan, who had an increased risk of cancer. The editorial, by Dr. Andrew J. Einstein of Columbia University Medical Center, said that at least a dozen other research groups around the world were studying or planning to study CT effects on children...

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