How many times have you been X-rayed?
Not sure? You’re not alone.
If you grew up in Canada it is likely that you were X-rayed as a child or young teen at your dentist’s office. Then again: if you needed braces, suspected a cavity, or needed your wisdom teeth taken out. If you moved cities, your new dentist probably ordered X-rays to better understand your oral health. Compound these dental X-rays with any CT scans or mammograms and you’re looking at an unknown number of medical imaging tests from which you’ve been exposed to an uncertain level of ionizing radiation.
Although radiation doses for tests like these should be minimal, new research has linked CT scans performed in childhood to increased risk of cancer.
So, does this mean that patients should avoid medical imaging altogether? Of course not! MRI is the best option; not only is it completely free of ionizing radiation, it is also the most powerful imaging tool available in medicine today. And, despite the exposure they subject patients to, X-rays and CT scans save lives more often than they cause cancer. What it does mean, though, is that Canadians–especially parents of young children–should be more mindful of how many of these tests they are having done.
A solution may be found in My Imaging Records, a new App-for-iPhone developed by Dr. Stacey Funt, a New York radiologist with over 15 years’ experience. The free* app, designed to help people keep track of their medical imaging appointments, also lets users enter in their estimated radiation dose, tallying up these results in order to notify when radiation levels have reached the danger zone.
The app also includes:
-a comprehensible Education section
-the ability to set up multiple profiles for each family member
-additional password protection to ensure medical confidentiality
-the ability to organize radiology results by date and study type
-the ability to enter the type of study (MRI, CT, X-Ray), date, place, reason for exam, results, radiation dose, etc.
*For $0.99, you can purchase a deluxe version of the app which allows you to scan written imaging reports directing into your phone.