A new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that CT scans, commonly used in medical imaging, may increase the risk of brain tumors.
The use of computed tomography (CT) scans has increased dramatically over the last two decades. CT scans greatly improve diagnostic capabilities (which improve clinical outcomes) but they deliver higher radiation doses than other tests. Therefore, radiation protection is a concern, especially among children, who may receive higher radiation doses, are more susceptible to radiation-related malignancies than adults and have more time to show effects from the potential risk.
The most common malignancies caused by radioactivity among children and young adults are leukemia and brain tumors. Researchers therefore evaluated leukemia and brain tumor risks following exposure to radiation from CT scans in childhood.
For a nationwide group of 168,394 Dutch children who received one or more CT scans between 1979 and 2012, researchers obtained cancer incidence and vital status by record linkage. They surveyed all Dutch hospital-based radiology departments to ascertain eligibility and participation. In the Netherlands, pediatric CT scans are only performed in hospitals.
Overall cancer incidence was 1.5 times higher than expected. For all brain tumors combined, and for malignant and
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