Finally, some good news to share about CT scans for a change.
In The Innocent Little Test that Could Kill You I told about the all-too-common and dangerous practice of ordering unnecessary CT scans. Careless overuse of these radiation-emitting tests has led to an additional 29,000 cases of cancer a year. And a staggering 15,000 deaths.
20 times less radiation exposure from CT scans
Now, researchers at the Mayo Clinic have figured out a way to be able to utilize this valuable diagnostic tool while using up to 20 times less radiation!
With a traditional CT scan the higher the dose of radiation the better the quality of the images. But the new perfusion-CT-scanning process takes a number of passes across the area being imaged, using much lower doses of radiation and a special image-processing technique.
The result is significantly less radiation exposure for you and, at the same time, higher-quality images for the radiologist to work with. This is very welcome news, since some medical issues are not easily detectable with a simple physical exam and a CT scan may be necessary to get the best treatment possible.
Still seek out alternatives
This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t still remain vigilant about the overuse of CT scans.
In fact, I encourage you to be as squeaky of a wheel as you possibly can when it comes to getting your doctor to offer you alternatives. The lower dosage could provide a ready-made excuse for docs to order up even more of these potentially dangerous tests. Which means we’re liable to see another climb in unnecessary scans in the future. Plus this new CT scanning technique isn’t yet in wide use.
Remember, the effects of radiation exposure are cumulative; so once exposed, the damage is done. CT scans skyrocketing an astounding 2,300% (no, that’s NOT a typo) between 1980 and today. Which means your own good judgment may be the only thing standing between you, or a loved one, and cancer.
So don’t hesitate to ask about alternatives before you submit to a scan. Join me in asking docs to be less apt to zap.