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

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What are the chances that the X-rays from a scan will end up causing a problem? It depends on your age, gender, and the part of your body that's being scanned. Overall, your odds are very low -- the chance of getting a fatal cancer from any one CT scan is about 1 in 2,000.

Some organs are more sensitive to radiation than others. It tends to do more damage to cells that grow and divide quickly. The breasts, lungs, thyroid gland, and bone marrow all have fast-dividing cells, so they are more sensitive than other body parts, like the brain.

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

NEXT QUESTION:

How often does cancer from computed tomography (CT) scans affect men and women?

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