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Is There a Way to Lower The Risk of Cancer for Children Undergoing CT Scan?

Children are more vulnerable to radiation than adults. According to research from the University of Melbourne, CT scans can exponentially increase a child’s rate of developing cancer. In conjunction with the World Congress of Public Health, the university is revising 2013 data that found children who had undergone CT scans had a 24 percent higher risk of developing cancer than those who never went through the machine. The beams of ionizing radiation can trigger cellular damage.

Study leader John Mathews and his team evaluated Medicare records of 10.9 million Australians 19 years and younger. They found that most individuals with cancer had developed it two years after they had undergone the CT scan. Out of the millions of youth records, the researchers found an “excess” of 608 cancers in those exposed to radiation via CT scans. The most common cancers were brain, leukemia, and other types of solid cancers.

Mathews told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the proliferation of cancer in younger people “had to do with the way cells ‘turn over’”. Every time the patient went through the scanner, they increased their chance of developing cancer by 16 percent.

The country’s medical societies encourage physicians to keep CT scans to a minimum for children. According to the National Cancer Institute, no amount of radiation is considered “absolutely safe” for children.  

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