News in Parenting: Follow Up on CT Scans
A month or two back I posted about how the government is pushing for better designed CT Scan machines for children. While there hasn’t been an update on where the request stands, the Philadelphia Inquirer just published a short article about the cancer risk related to these scans. I wanted to keep you all up to date on the latest news covering the risks involved with CT Scans – I know some of us make frequent trips to the doctor’s office for more than just tummy aches.
In this Inquirer article, Maria Cheng discusses an international study that followed nearly 180,000 patients under the age of 22 who had a CT Scan in British hospitals between 1985 and 2002. The patients were followed until 2008, at which point it was discovered that 74 had leukemia and 135 had brain tumors. One of the most distinguishing factor for those who developed cancer was their frequency of scans.
So what are the doctors saying about this study? They seem fairly unconcerned (which I personally find a bit disconcerting). They state the obvious: a lot of times the short term return you recieve from getting the scan is well worth the long term risk. If you are seriously considering a CT Scan, then your little one most likely desperately needs it. But that doesn’t mean that it’s okay!
The article plays it down, saying that the frequency of these scans only increases the likelihood of rare diseases, making them only slightly less rare….but still rare. The fact the state is: “the risk of leukemia in children is about 1 in 2,000, so having several CT scans would bump that up to about 1 in 600″. But the way I see it, that turns it from a disease that I don’t even worry about to a disease that takes one kid in every preschool. It turns something that’s not real into something I can actually imagine. So let’s all hope that the new guidelines for CT Scans go through, but in the mean time, don’t forget to talk to your doctor about weighing the risks for your family!