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2 in 3 patients who get CT scans aren’t told about risks

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 18, 2013

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About two-thirds of patients get computed tomography scans without discussing the potential cancer risk with their physicians, said a research letter published online March 4 in JAMA Internal Medicine, formerly Archives of Internal Medicine.

Only 17% of patients getting a CT scan said they shared the decision-making process with a doctor and covered the benefits and risks of the test. Sixty-two percent of the 271 Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center patients who responded to the survey said the final decision on whether to get the CT scan was mainly the physician’s.

A single CT scan delivers three times more radiation than an x-ray. The lifetime cancer risk linked to CT scanning has led some radiologists to call for mandating informed consent before ordering such tests, the research letter said (link).

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