Majority of parents don’t know lifetime CT scan cancer risks
NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 29, 2013
Most parents whose children visit the emergency department for head injuries are unaware of the increased lifetime risk of malignancy linked to the radiation exposure of computed tomography scans, said a study posted online July 8 in Pediatrics.
Of the 742 parents surveyed, 47% knew about the cancer risks of CT scans, which expose patients to between 60 and 80 times more radiation than an x-ray. The Food and Drug Administration says an adult’s lifetime risk of developing a CT-related cancer is 1 in 2,000.
After learning about the potential hazards of CT scans, 21% of parents said they were less willing to have their children get physician-recommended imaging studies, and 6% said they would decline the scans for their children. Most parents were under the impression that such scans exposed their children to similar levels of radiation as x-rays. Nine in 10 parents said they wanted to be informed of the malignancy risks linked to CT scans, said the study (link).