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What Is the Connection between CT Scans and Cancer?

Article Details
  • Written By: Esther Ejim
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 09 July 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Computed Axial Tomography (CAT) or (CT) scan is a type of method utilizing computer imagery to project a view of the insides of a person’s anatomy with the aim of utilizing the process to expedite medical diagnosis. Usually, this process is applied when a patient has a condition that requires further investigation in order to either make an accurate diagnosis or find out the exact scope of a condition that is known but still needs further elaboration. In this sense, it is clear to see just how beneficial the CT scan is to physicians in terms of their ability to effectively provide competent care for their patients. The problem is that there is a valid fear regarding the use of this process stemming from the link between CT scans and cancer, based on the various studies that establish a direct link to the use of CT scans and the incidences of the onset of cancer in those who may have been subjected to the process.

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The link between the use of CT scans and cancer is based on the fact that those who utilize the procedure are exposed to quite a significant amount of radiation. To put this in proper perspective, another type of imaging process that is used to view the inside of the body is the x-ray, a process that is also fraught with cancer risks due to the levels of radiation to which the people who use it are exposed. As risky as the x-ray process is, the CT scan is much more so due to the fact that the level of intensity of radiation to which those who use it are exposed is many times more than that for an x-ray. As a consequence of this connection between CT scans and cancer, most physicians would rather try every other option they can use to make their diagnosis or to treat their patient without resorting to the use of the CT scan, if at all possible.

Due to their more fragile constitution children are usually at a greater risk of suffering the consequences flowing from CT scans and cancer concerns. To this end, such children are even more rigorously shielded from the process and will only be subjected to it when there really is no other choice than to do so. Another contributing factor to CT scans and cancer is the rate of use, meaning that the risk for contracting cancer increases exponentially in direct proportion to the frequency of using the machine.

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