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23 May 2013

CT scans a cancer risk for kids

A study finds that children exposed to radiation during CT scans are 24% more likely to develop cancer.

The researchers used data from Australian Medicare records and national cancer records to compare cancer rates among patients who had a CT scan by age 19 to those who had never undergone the test.

The study involved nearly 11 million young people born between 1985 and 2005. The average length of follow-up for those who underwent a CT scan was 9.5 years, and about 17 years for those who did not have a CT scan.

Children exposed before age 5 had the greatest risk. The older a patient is at first exposure to a CT scan, the lower their risk, the researchers said. But even among the oldest participants - between 15 and 19 - the study revealed that risk for all cancers combined was still higher.

The US National Institutes of Health has more about CT scans and the risks involved.

 
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