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New Campaign to Curb Radiation From CT Scans

Experts Hope to Reduce Use of Excessive Imaging Tests

CTs and the Elderly continued...

"In younger patients we are always trying to do something that doesn’t involve radiation," Wintermark says. "We try to use MRI or ultrasound instead, if we can."

A limitation of the study was that cancer risk was estimated using the National Academy of Sciences data. Patients were only followed for up to four years, a short period during which radiation-associated cancers might not develop.

Also, "you would expect cancer risk to be lower in the elderly, who may die due to other reasons before a secondary cancer has time to manifest," Hendee says.

Basu says a study in which people's radiation exposures and subsequent cancers are tracked over time is needed.

The new studies were presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

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