Nearly 30,000 Get Cancer EVERY Year in the US from this…

This is an excerpt from It really shows further evidence why health care comsumers must stay on top of what is recommended. To read the entire article follow the link.

This year, one in every 10 Americans will have a CT scan (computed tomography).

The amount of money spent on medical imaging doubled between 2000 and 2006 to about $14 billion a year—and that is just Medicare alone, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office.

More than 70 million CT scans per year are now performed in the US, including at least 4 million on children. This is up from just 3 million in 1980.

Nearly 30,000 Get Cancer EVERY Year in the US from CT Scans

According to a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine last year, CT scans alone will cause nearly 30,,000 unnecessary cancer cases (about 2 percent of cancer cases), which will lead to about 14,500 deaths.

But wait, there’s more bad news.

While 30,000 cancer cases is a large number, a New England Journal of Medicine study from 2007 estimated that overuse of diagnostic CT scans may cause up to 3 million excess cancers over the next 20 to 30 years.

For those slow on math that is 1,00X more deaths over the next 25 years.

David Brenner of Columbia University, lead author of the study, told USA Today:

“About one-third of all CT scans that are done right now are medically unnecessary … Virtually anyone who presents in the emergency room with pain in the belly or a chronic headache will automatically get a CT scan. Is that justified?”

Why are so many CT scans being done, when they result in so many unnecessary deaths?

There are several reasons:

  • Physicians fear being sued for malpractice if they miss something.
  • Some patients pressure their physicians for scans “just to be safe,” especially after hearing advertisements touting the benefits of new hi-tech tests (without disclosure of the risks).
  • Physicians are more often using scans to screen “the worried well” (such as scanning former smokers for lung cancer).
  • Many doctors have purchased their own imaging equipment for their practices. This adds a financial incentive into the mix and sets the stage for overuse of the technology.
  • There’s a trend toward commercially advertised full-body CT scans to “find everything wrong with you.” Consumers with extra cash lying around (in excess of $1,000 in most cases) are being encouraged to undergo a full-body scan as a preventive measure.

While high-tech imaging can be beneficial in certain cases, it must be used SPARINGLY because it exposes your body to dangerous radiation—radiation that is proven to cause cancer.

And you are being exposed to more radiation from your diagnostic test than was previously thought. Studies have recently found that radiation doses from CT scans tend to be higher than the amounts generally reported.

When the diagnostic procedure causes the disease you are trying to avoid, perhaps you should reconsider the procedure!

Becoming aware of the risks of medical scans is part of becoming a smart consumer and knowing your health care options. Research suggests that a dismal seven percent of patients are informed of the risks of CT scans.

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