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March 2, 2011

Cancer Risk From Multiple Imaging Tests

JAMA. 2011;305(9):887-888. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.219

To the Editor: The article by Dr Einstein and colleagues1 raised the concern that the cumulative effect of multiple radiologic studies puts patients at increased risk for cancer. In particular, the article noted that “More than 30% of patients received a cumulative estimated effective dose of more than 100 mSv, a level at which there is little controversy over the potential for increased cancer risks.” There is no controversy regarding the cancer risk of very high doses of radiation, but there is much controversy regarding whether the cumulative effect of low doses in the range emitted by diagnostic imaging devices increases the risk of cancer.

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