CT Scans: Not the Cancer Risk We Thought?

A report out this week from Stanford University researchers and presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America says the risk of developing radiation-induced cancer from computed tomography (CT) may be lower than previously thought. If confirmed by other data, it is indeed quite reassuring, as CT scans are a critical tool in diagnosing and managing illness.

Even with that potentially good news, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr. Len Lichtenfeld offered some words of caution to ABC News, challenging patients and clinicians to focus on the big picture, and where we’re headed in medicine.

“We as a nation are in love with technology,” said Lichtenfeld. “We’re going in the complete opposite direction where I think we should go. We need to take a step back, respect technology, but understand the limitations of technology and not assume everything must be used all the time.

“That being said, if a person needs a CT scan, they can have a significant impact on improving health and guiding further treatment.”

Dr. Len has blogged about this issue before, including discussing his personal decision not to be scanned based on concerns about radiation exposure.

About David Sampson

I am the director of medical and scientific communications for the American Cancer Society national home office.
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