Radiologist: Why weighing radiation risk is a must prior to cancer screening

While there is a small "but very real" risk of radiation induced cancer from CT that could become significant at a population level with widespread use of CT-based screening, the benefits of screening high-risk patients for lung cancer and using CT colonography for colon cancer "may significantly" outweigh the risk from radiation, according to a review of literature published in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

On the other hand, whole-body CT may not be worth the risk, the researchers say. According to study author Jeffrey Albert, M.D., a recent survey of radiologists found that just 1.9 percent of those surveyed supported using whole-body CT.

"CT is being actively explored for cancer screening, including lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and whole-body screening," Albert wrote. "Given the radiation risk from CT, it is important to balance the benefit of early cancer detection with the potential risk of screening-induced malignancy." Article

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