Feature | April 24, 2012

Researchers Find Little Cancer Risk From CT Scans in Medicare Population

April 24, 2012 — The secondary cancer risk from multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) scans is low among older adults, according to a study from Stanford University in the April issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology. A high-speed imaging technique, MDCT is commonly used to diagnose a variety of diseases and conditions. 

Evidence shows that MDCT scanning offers important benefits through more accurate diagnosis and better disease management in a range of medical disorders. However, in the era of MDCT, it has been hypothesized that 1.5 percent to two percent of all cancers may be caused by CT-induced radiation.

“Our study estimates the number of excess cancers due to ionizing radiation in elderly adults. Seniors harbor most diseases that typically rely on CT scanning for diagnosis and management, and therefore receive the highest exposure to CT imaging. What our study found is that the risk of developing a secondary cancer from these CT scans may potentially be lower than previously thought,” said Aabed Meer, author of the study.

A retrospective cohort study was conducted using Medicare claims spanning eight years to assess CT use. The data were analyzed in two four-year cohorts, from 1998 to 2001 and 2002 to 2005. The number and types of CT scans each patient received over the four-year periods were analyzed to determine the percentage of patients exposed to threshold radiation of 50 to 100 mSv (defined as low) and >100 mSv (defined as high). The National Research Council’s Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VII models were used to estimate the number of radiation-induced cancers.

“Combining both low-risk and high-risk patient groups (50-100 and >100 mSv), as well as those who received <50 mSv, we estimate that 1,659 cases of cancer (0.03 percent of the study population) will develop in the 1998 to 2001 cohort and 2,185 (0.04 percent of the study population) in the 2002 to 2005 cohort,” said Meer.

CT scans of the head were the most common examinations in both Medicare cohorts, but abdominal imaging delivered the greatest proportion (43 percent in the first cohort and 40 percent in the second cohort) of radiation.

“Although modern CT imaging is a vital part of medical care, its utilization must include a conscious acknowledgment of radiation exposure and an awareness of the pursuant carcinogenic risk. As medical care continues its dependence on advanced technologies such as MDCT, we emphasize the importance of continuing research that encourages the exploration of lower radiation dose technologies,” said Meer.

For more information: www.jacr.org

Related Content

News | Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Devices (CRT)| August 30, 2016
August 30, 2016 — Medtronic plc announced results from the...
Siemens Healthineers, Somatom Drive CT system, FDA clearance
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| August 30, 2016
Siemens Healthineers announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the Somatom Drive computed...
Medtronic, Micra TPS pacemaker, transcatheter pacing system, global clinical trial, one-year results, ESC 2016
News | Pacemakers| August 29, 2016
August 29, 2016 — Medtronic plc announced new long-term results from the Medtronic Micra Transcatheter Pacing System
cardiac surgery, simulation training, University of Washington, case studies

Multiple repetitions of bypass grafts on a heart, using the Ramphal simulator. Courtesy of the University of Washington in Seattle.

News | Cardiovascular Surgery| August 25, 2016
August 25, 2016 — Simulation training fo
aortic dissection, family history, same age, clinical study, John A. Elefteriades, Annals of Thoracic Surgery
News | Structural Heart| August 25, 2016
People with a family member who had an aortic dissection — a spontaneous tear in one of the body’s main arteries —...
nanoparticles, blood clotting, internal bleeding, American Chemical Society study, Erin B. Lavik

Nanoparticles (green) help form clots in an injured liver. The researchers added color to the scanning electron microscopy image after it was taken. Image courtesy of Erin Lavik, Ph.D.

News | Hemostasis Management| August 24, 2016
August 24, 2016 — Whether severe trauma occurs on the battlefield or the highway, saving lives often comes down to...
Intact Vascular, TOBA clinical study, one-year results, Tack Endovascular System, Journal of Vascular Surgery
News | Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)| August 24, 2016
Intact Vascular Inc. announced that the one-year results from its Tack Optimized Balloon Angioplasty (TOBA) clinical...
News | Heart Failure| August 23, 2016
August 23, 2016 — A new study of more than 13,000 people has found that so-called morbid obesity appears to stand alo
Jason Burdick, injectable hydrogels, heart failure, heart attack, American Chemical Society

Compared to other types of hydrogels being developed (left), a new hydrogel (right) can form crosslinks after injection into the heart, making the material stiffer and longer-lasting. Image courtesy of American Chemical Society.

News | Heart Failure| August 23, 2016
August 23, 2016 — During a heart attack, clots or narrowed arteries block blood flow, harming or killing cells within
sleep apnea, hypertension, clinical study, Science Signaling, University of Chicago
News | Hypertension| August 22, 2016
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common cause of high blood pressure. In the Aug. 17, 2016, issue of the journal Science...
Overlay Init