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CT Scans Are More Dangerous Than Radon

CT Scans Are More Dangerous Than Radon

USA Today reports that overuse of diagnostic CT scans may cause as many as 3 million excess cancers in the USA over the next two to three decades, according to doctors familiar with the subject.

Researchers say they’re not trying to discourage all use of CT scans — CT stands for computed tomography — which superimposes multiple X-ray images to make 3-D pictures. Rather, they say, CT scanning is an invaluable tool in many cases. The problem is that doctors too often overlook its risks.

“About one-third of all CT scans that are done right now are medically unnecessary,” says David Brenner of Columbia University, lead author of the study reported in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Today, about 62 million CT scans are performed nationwide every year, up from 3 million in 1980, the authors say. Medical exposure to radiation, mainly through CT scans, has replaced environmental radon as the dominant source of radiation exposure for the U.S. population, the doctors say.

The initial signs and symptoms of treatable radiation sickness are usually nausea and vomiting. The amount of time between exposure and when these symptoms develop is an indicator of how much radiation a person has absorbed.

After the first round of signs and symptoms, a person with radiation sickness may have a brief period with no apparent illness, followed by the onset of new, more serious symptoms.

In general, the greater your radiation exposure, the more rapid and more severe your symptoms will be.

If you believe that you have developed radiation sickness please consult a physician immediately.

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