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Support for testing plunges when radiation risk revealed

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Around four million computerized tomography scans, known as CT scans, are done on children each year, and a new study says parents may not be aware of the associated risks, including a lifetime increased risk of cancer.

But the study reveals when they are made aware, many more choose to withdraw their children from those tests.

Dr. Kathy Boutis, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, was the lead researcher of the study published in the July 8 edition of Pediatrics.

The researchers surveyed parents who brought their children to emergency rooms because of a head injury. When discussing the use of CT scans for their child’s diagnosis, only 47 percent of parents knew of the increased cancer risk.

Ninety percent of the parents were willing to allow their children to undergo the CT scan before being informed of the risk. After being provided with information on the risks associated with the scans, the percentage dropped to 70 percent, the study revealed.

CT scans take several scans and combine them to create a 3D image. During a CT head scan, patients can be exposed to 20 times more ionizing radiation than during a similar X-ray.




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