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July 2, 2008

Do CT Scans Cause Cancer?

I have had a CT scan before. I did think about the risks that may be associated with having one but I had a concussion and did not have that much choice in the matter. I was not really in a position to deny one. First of all, I was kind of foggy because of the concussion and I had a train to catch ten hours later. I needed to know if I had to postpone my long awaited vacation or not.

Turns out the results did not come through that day so I took the vacation, which I should not have (got disorientated and almost ended up in Guelph instead of London, Ontario) and found out I really did have a concussion a few days later. Of course that is all said and done but the risk for cancer may not be. According to what researchers say I have little to worry about because I only had one CT scan. However, apparently doctors are saying that patients need CT scans when they really don’t, exposing people to super high dosages of radiation.

I have always had a theory that because health care is such big business in the United States most people are prescribed meds and procedures that they don’t need. CT scans are no different. Of course, there are typically side effects when it comes to treatments and this is what researchers are saying about CT scans. One of the causes, researchers say, is the fact that doctors do not communicate with one another. It is feared that 20 million adults and 1 million children are getting radiation from procedures that they do not need.

Recently my mother went for a mammogram. She said that that doctor told her everything was fine but that they wanted to do a CT scan just to be sure. This sounded strange to me because it seems like if the mammogram is fine, why move on and get the CT scan too? I guess that this is common although it doesn’t seem to make much sense. Since we know that radiation exposure can contribute cancer, why would doctors expose patients to more of it after they get information that the patient does not have cancer?

If your doctor recommends a CT have the one done. However, if a second CT scan is recommended probe and ask as many questions as possible. You might even want to get a second opinion about it. Increasing your risk for cancer is definitely not something you want to do. We have enough materials in the world that contribute to the cancer rate that we can not really control. There is no reason to unnecessarily add to these risks. Be proactive and do research on your own to find out if your doctors are recommending too many treatments that involve high dosages of radiation. Remember, it is always your responsibility to make sure that you are getting the best treatment possible. Stay on top of your on care and be aware of the amount of high dose radiation treatments you are being signed up for.

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