The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Medical Tests That Can Give You Cancer

original photograph by philip cosson showing t...
original photograph by philip cosson showing the first comercial CT head scanner Image uploaded from the English Wikipedia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of modern medicine's most valuable tools is the X-ray. But it comes with a dangerous price: ionizing radiation, a known carcinogen. 

As recently as the early 1980s, X-rays accounted for just 11 percent of radiation exposure in Americans. Natural, background radiation accounted for most of the rest. 

In the last 30 years, the use of X-rays and other radiation-producing diagnostic tests have skyrocketed. CT (computed tomography) scans, also called CAT scans, have gone from 3 million in the U.S. in 1980 to 70 million in 2006. A CT scan of the chest has the radiation dose of 100 routine chest X-rays. 

A Columbia University study estimates that up to 2 percent of all cancers in the U.S. are caused by CT scans.
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