“CT Scan Overuse?”
CT scans can be a double-edged sword. CAT scans or CT scans (computerized tomography) can be a godsend to physicians in finding everything from cancers to kidney stones. However, are they always necessary or safe, especially in radiation sensitive children? The frequency of CT scans is increasing and in 2009 there were over 70 million performed, even though the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported that CT scans may cause as many as 1 in 50 future cases of cancer. CT scans require a mega-dose of radiation, which can be as much as 500 times that of a conventional plain film X-ray. Shockingly, a NEJM study found that as many as one-third of all CT scans performed in the United States are unnecessary and reported that multiple unneeded scans were common and 30% were on their third scan, 7% had five or more, and 4% had more than nine.