Milwaukee, US: From long-term cancer risks to radiation overdose mistakes, CT scans pose a growing danger to the American public and need more regulation to improve their safety, imaging experts have noted in a leading medical journal. The articles in today`s New England Journal of Medicine come a week after a story by The Associated Press detailed the overuse of imaging tests and how much the average American`s radiation dose has grown in recent years. CT scans are super-sharp X-rays that have transformed medicine by helping doctors quickly diagnose or rule out injuries and diseases. But they use far more radiation thanordinary X-rays, and too much radiation raises the risk of cancer over time.
"That`s really the area we should focus on," said the author of one of the articles, Dr Rebecca Smith-Bindman. She is a radiologist at the University of California at SanFrancisco on temporary leave to do radiation research at the National Cancer Institute.The FDA regulates scanning equipment, but lacks authority to say how doctors use it, or when tests are appropriate. No federal standards exist for how much radiation a CT scan should use, and a study Smith-Bindman led found a 13-fold variation in the dose that patients at four California hospitals received for the same type of scan.Bureau Report
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