CT x-rays triple the risk of leukemia and brain cancer in young childrenCT scans – high-tech x-rays that produce an image of the whole body – triple the risk of brain cancer and leukemia in children and adolescents. Researchers say the technology should be used more sparingly, and only when it is absolutely necessary.
Researchers from Newcastle University discovered “significant increases” in risks for the two cancers, especially after multiple CT (computed tomography) scans.
They analysed the records of 180,000 young patients aged less than 21 years, who had CT scans at UK hospitals between 1985 and 2008. In that time, 74 of 178,064 young people developed leukemia and 135 of 176,587 were diagnosed with brain tumours; overall, the cumulative doses of radiation from the scans tripled the risk for the two cancers.
(Source: Lancet, 2012; doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60815-0).