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Does frequent computed tomography (CT) scans raises your chances of cancer?

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A CT scans uses powerful X-rays, a type of radiation called ionizing radiation, to create detailed pictures of the inside of your body. Radiation can damage the DNA in your cells and raise the chance that they'll turn cancerous. But the chances of getting cancer from CT scans is very low.

Everyone is exposed to ionizing radiation every day, just from natural radioactive material in their surroundings. In a year, the average person gets about 3 millisieverts (mSv), the units that scientists use to measure radiation. Each CT scan delivers 1 to 10 mSv, depending on the dose of radiation and the part of your body that's getting the test. A low-dose chest CT scan is about 1.5 mSv. The same test at a regular dose is about 7 mSv.

The more CT scans you have, the more radiation exposure you get. But that shouldn't stop you from getting them if your doctor says you need them.

From: Can CT Scans Lead to Cancer? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Can I avoid exposure to radiation from x-rays and gamma rays?"

FDA: "What are the Radiation Risks from CT?"

Mayo Clinic: "CT scan: Definition," "CT scan: Why it's done," "Tests and Procedures: CT Scan."

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Scan Safety: A Radiation Reality Check."

National Cancer Institute: "Computed Tomography (CT) Scans and Cancer," "Radiation."

Radiological Society of North America: "I've had many CT scans. Should I be concerned?"

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 27, 2017

SOURCES:

American Cancer Society: "Can I avoid exposure to radiation from x-rays and gamma rays?"

FDA: "What are the Radiation Risks from CT?"

Mayo Clinic: "CT scan: Definition," "CT scan: Why it's done," "Tests and Procedures: CT Scan."

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: "Scan Safety: A Radiation Reality Check."

National Cancer Institute: "Computed Tomography (CT) Scans and Cancer," "Radiation."

Radiological Society of North America: "I've had many CT scans. Should I be concerned?"

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on June 27, 2017

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What are the chances of computed tomography (CT) scan leading to cancer?

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