Australian news, and some related international items

Caution advised on CT scans for chidren due to cancer risk

X-rays triple cancer risk: study 9 News,  Jun 7 2012 By Michelle Henderson, AAP National Medical Writer The risk of children developing leukaemia and brain cancer later in life is tripled if they have multiple CT scans, an international study has found.

But Australian experts say the risk from ionising radiation is already well-documented and the recent study emphasises the importance of minimising patient exposure to computer tomography (CT) scans.

The study published by The Lancet on Thursday found children under 15
years who had two to three CT scans were three times more likely to
develop brain cancer later in life.

About five to 10 scans in childhood could triple the risk of
developing leukaemia, the study found.

Almost 180,000 patients who had CT scans between 1985 and 2002 at 70
per cent of UK hospitals were studied….. Professor Bruce Armstrong
from the University of Sydney School of Public Health said the
increased risks from ionising radiation were not unexpected.

The cancer-causing effects of ionising, or nuclear radiation, were
well known, he said.

“This work emphasises the very great importance of only using this
form of imaging when it has a strong medical justification,” Prof
Armstrong said in a statement.

He said the technology should be used in a way that minimised the
patient’s exposure to radiation……
Study leader Mark Pearce from the University of Newcastle said the
immediate benefits of CT scans outweighed the risks.

He said it should still be widely used because of its diagnostic
accuracy and scanning speed which made anaesthesia and sedation in
young patients unnecessary.

“Further refinements to allow reduction in CT doses should be a
priority, not only for the radiology community but also for
manufacturers,” he said.

A US study published in April found children under 10 who had frequent
dental X-rays, which also emit ionising radiation, had a higher risk
of developing brain tumours as adults.

June 7, 2012 - Posted by | General News

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