Frequently Asked Questions about CT - Press
Medical professionals Parents
What is The Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging?
The Alliance is a consortium of professional societies who are concerned radiation exposure children receive when undergoing medical imaging procedures. As of March 2011, 63 societies representing the fields of radiology, pediatrics, and medical physics and radiation safety are involved. The Alliance recognizes the often life-saving value of medical imaging.. However, techniques used in pediatric imaging may not be tailored to children’s smaller bodies, resulting in radiation exposures that are greater than necessary. This is especially true for CT scans.
Do children really undergo many CT scans
The population of the United States is second only to Japan in per capita CT exams performed. There are approximately 7 million CT studies performed in children every year in the United States, and the number is increasing approximately 10% per year. CT is widely used among all ages of children, with 33% performed in children under 10 years of age. CT is the largest contributor to medical radiation dose in the United States.
Does CT radiation really pose a risk to children?
The amount of radiation that people are receiving from medical sources is increasing, and this includes children. It is difficult to show directly that radiation doses from CT lead directly to cancer. However, good data from other sources of exposure show that there are increased cancers in people who have been exposed to radiation at levels now encountered by patients undergoing CT scans. This is particularly important in children, whose tissues are more radiosensitive, who receive a larger effective dose for a given level of radiation, and who have a longer time to develop cancers resulting from radiation exposure. For any one person, the risk of death from cancer is about 1 in 5. While estimates vary, for a child undergoing a single CT of the abdomen and pelvis increases that risk by 1 in 1,000. The risk is cumulative, however, and each subsequent CT scan will increase the risk accordingly. While for any one individual the increased risk is very small, given the large number of CT scans performed the risk to the population as a whole is much larger.
Where can I find out more information about The Alliance and these issues?
Links to other useful sites and information sources can be found on this website. Specific questions or interview requests should be directed through the “Contact Us” section of this website.