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November 17, 2010

Discussing Radiation Risks Associated With CT Scans With Patients

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Medical Imaging (Dr Baerlocher), Health Policy Management and Evaluation (Dr Detsky), and Medicine (Dr Detsky), University of Toronto, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital (Drs Baerlocher and Detsky), and Department of Medicine, University Health Network (Dr Detsky), Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

JAMA. 2010;304(19):2170-2171. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.1591

Technological advancements in diagnostic and therapeutic imaging have greatly increased physicians' ability to care for patients. As a result, use of medical imaging has increased exponentially. For example, Prokop1 estimated that since the 1980s, use of computed tomography (CT) has doubled almost every 2 years. The increase in utilization has led to a parallel increase in concern regarding radiation risks. Almost half (48%) of the total dose of ionizing radiation exposure for individuals in the United States (including background radiation) has been attributed to medical tests and procedures.1 It is estimated that use of CT may be associated with 1.5% to 2% of all cancers in the United States in the future.2

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