Repeated CT Scans in Childhood Tripled the Risk of Cancer

    Multiple CT (computerized tomography) scans in childhood can triple the risk of brain or blood cancer (leukemia). A team of experts from the University of Newcastle in the United States conducted a study on 160,000 young patients and claimed to have received this information. Their research article was published in the medical journal Lancet, the BBC reported online.

    According to the report, the researchers conducted CT scans in various hospitals to study the medical data of 160,000 patients under the age of 22.

    In the first long-term study conducted in this regard, the experts reviewed various data of patients under the age of 21 who underwent CT scan from 1985 to 2002. Radiation-related cancers usually take a long time to develop. Therefore, in this latest study, various data on cancer patients and their mortality rate up to 2009 were reviewed.

    From the results of this study, the researchers claim that multiple CT scans in childhood nearly tripled the risk of developing brain or blood cancer. Explaining the reason, they said that children under the age of 15 are exposed to much more radiation during CT scans than adults. This tripled their risk of having a CT scan two or three times. However, X-rays do not spread at the same rate in the human brain and bone marrow. So the case of leukemia is a little different. In that case, five to 10 CT scans are enough to triple the risk of cancer.

    CT scans are convenient for children to diagnose because they do not require anesthesia or any such procedure. In America, CT scans of patients are done only on the advice of doctors. Researchers at the University of Newcastle have emphasized this point in their research.

    Alan Kraft, a research associate and pediatrician, said that if doctors had advised a child to have a CT scan, parents would have to be sure that it contained radiation-like radiation. However, it can also be a big risk if the CT scan is not done despite the doctor’s advice.

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