X-rays triple cancer risk – study

Original story from The Australian  June 7th, 2012

THE risk of children developing leukaemia and brain cancer later in life is tripled if they have multiple CT scans, an international study has found.

But Australian experts say the risk from ionising radiation is already well-documented and the recent study emphasises the importance of minimising patient exposure to computer tomography (CT) scans.

The study published by The Lancet today found children under 15 years who had two to three CT scans were three times more likely to develop brain cancer later in life.

Around five to 10 scans in childhood could triple the risk of developing leukaemia, the study found.

Almost 180,000 patients who had CT scans between 1985 and 2002 at 70 per cent of UK hospitals were studied.

But the absolute risks were small. One head scan before the age of 10 years would result in one excess case of leukaemia and one excess case of brain tumour per 10,000 patients a decade after exposure.

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