Docs sound cancer alert over unnecessary CT scan, imaging

New Delhi: People should avoid unnecessary CT scans or other imaging tests as there is a greater lifetime risk of cancer with increased exposure to radiation, doctors at Sir Ganga Ram hospital today said.

“Up to 10 per cent of invasive cancers are related to radiation exposure. During any medical imaging test, the quantum of radiation emitted gets deposited and probability of occurrence increases with effective radiation dose.

“Thus, if a person receives less radiation, the chance of radiation-induced cancer decreases,” said Dr TBS Buxi, chairperson of the CT and MRI Department at SGRH.

“So, it is important that patients ask their doctors why they are ordering an imaging test and whether their problem could be managed without it,” Buxi said.

To minimise health risks, doctors at SGRH have started using low-dose iterative reconstruction technique through the latest CT scanner installed at the hospital.

“This scanner leads to significantly-reduced radiation dose. CT and MRI are used in the diagnosis of cancer and also to follow up patients on treatment. MRI has no radiation potential though CT emits a powerful dose of radiation.

“Any radiation increases the risk of cancer and the more the radiation, the higher is the risk of cancer. The risk of developing cancer after a CT scan is approximately 1 in 2000 (according to the US FDA) and more so in children, who are more sensitive to radiation,” said Dr Samarjit Singh, consultant in the CT and MRI Department of SGRH.

The hospital also conducted a study in which 986 patients’ scans were evaluated and an average dose reduction of 33.2 per cent in Thorax, 32.455 per cent in Abdomen/Pelvis and 49.706 per cent in head examinations was achieved.

The aim of the study was to create awareness on the harmful effects of radiation, including diagnostic radiation, and the impact of low-dose CT imaging. (PTI)