It’s not exactly a secret that CT technology, although useful in its diagnostic application, has harmful effects due to the large amounts of ionizing radiology associated with it. But it wasn’t until just weeks ago that anyone was aware that the cost of treating cancers induced by CT scanning in the US numbered in the hundred millions.
“CT imaging has a small theoretical risk of inducing cancer,” said Dr. Matthew Covington of the University of Arizona, one of the authors of a new body of research that analyzed data about the correlation between CT scans and cancer costs. “…the costs of treating even a proportionally small number of CT-induced cancers may be significant, given the high expense of cancer treatment,” he said.
In their study, the researchers estimated that the risk for developing CT induced cancer in a lifetime is 5.5 out of 10,000. Using the data they collected–85 million CT scans performed in 2012–the researchers determined these scans will cause 46,750 new incidences of cancer over the lifetime of the population.
“Providing the first estimates of these costs allows more accurate economic valuation of CT imaging and argues for continued dose reduction,” Covington said.
The future of diagnostic imaging really is in MRI.