Radiology body calls AIIMS Director’s ‘CT scan causes cancer’ statement unscientific, irresponsible

The Association has mentioned that Dr. Guleria’s claims of a CT scan being equal to 300-400 X-Rays, upping Cancer risk are wrong and outdated. 

Radiology body calls AIIMS Director’s ‘CT scan causes cancer’ statement unscientific, irresponsible
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Chennai: Indian Radiological & Imaging Association(IRIA), a registered body has issued a statement clarifying that Computerized Tomography or CT scans are not harmful as was projected by the AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria in a media interaction.

The Association has mentioned that Dr. Guleria’s claims of CT scan being equal to 300-400 X-Rays, upping cancer risk are wrong and outdated. IRIA says that one CT-Scan being equal to the radiation exposure of 300-400 X-rays is a thing of the past (at least 30-40 years ago). They argue that modern ultra low dose CT Scanners emit radiation that is comparable to barely about 5-10 X-rays.

Dr. Guleria had said in Delhi that there was a tendency for every COVID-19 positive patient to do a chest CT scan. He added that for mild COVID-19 cases, such CT scans did not serve any purpose, when the oxygen saturation is normal and person is under home isolation. The senior Doctor also made a comparison and equated the radiation from one CT scan to 300-400 X-Rays. Quoting a report said to be of the International Atomic Energy Commission, Dr. Guleria said that younger people being exposed to CT scans ups the risk of cancer, as they age.

The IRIA maintained that CT scans are most useful in cases where patients display COVID-19 symptoms, but test negative on RT-PCR, owing to various factors such as mutant virus, technical errors or low viral load. They added that the Chest CT scan helps diagnose such persons early and prevents them from being super-spreaders and harming medical professional and other persons. They also compared how quick the Chest CT scan was, as opposed to the RT-PCR, which takes at least a few hours.

They added that Chest CT helps to identify the severity of COVID-19 infection in symptomatic patients, as it helps them decide whether the patient required home isolation or hospitalization.

“CT Chest is helpful to identify the disease mild, moderate or severe and helps in clinical management, also the progression of disease can be monitored by CT in deteriorating patients” read the statement by IRIA.

“As CT is much more sensitive in detecting lung damage than pulse oximetry, initiating steroid medication can holt lung damage and save lives,” it added.

Regarding the efficiency of CT scans over X-rays, IRIA said how CT scans are highly sensitive, unlike X-rays which can only be used for monitoring patients with severe COVID-19 pneumonia.

“Radiologists world over use the ALARA Principle (As low as reasonably achievable) and give the minimal rendition possible during the process. Also, the statement that CT Chest scan can cause Cancer is alarming, as the radiation from a single Chest CT is almost equivalent to the background radiation received by any person over a year” said the statement signed by Prof. C. Amarnath, president of IRIA.

It concluded by saying that Dr. Guleria’s statements were “unscientific and irresponsible”, could create confusion among the masses. It emphasized that in the case of CT scans, the benefits far outweighed the risks.

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