Ethics in Medicine

More on Radiation Risks

Kristen Sparrow • June 14, 2012

Any readers of the blog are familiar with the risks of radiation, a recent study on children and the panel of specialists who have cautioned against CT scans for rhinosinusitis and for early breast and prostate cancers.  The risk is relatively small, but best to minimize the exposure if possible.  Something that Dr. Redberg said in her presentation over a year ago, was that these sorts of tests should never be done to satisfy curiosity if they won’t change treatment.

June 12, 2012
Radiation Concerns Rise With Patients’ Exposure
Even in health care systems in which doctors do not bill for each test they administer, the use of diagnostic imaging like CT and PET scans has soared, as has patients’ radiation exposure, a new study has found.
The study, published online on Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, says that while advanced medical imaging has undoubted benefits, allowing problems to be diagnosed earlier and more accurately, its value needs to be weighed against potential harms, which include a small cancer risk from the radiation…
The number of CT scans tripled over the study period, to 149 per 1,000 patients in 2010, while the number of M.R.I.’s quadrupled, to 65 per 1,000 patients in 2010….