Scan Size-Up

Advances in medical technology are credited with early disease detection — which means higher survival rates and better prognoses. But are some diagnostic tools causing the illnesses they aim to expose? According to findings in the Archives of Internal Medicine, CT scans (also known as CAT or computer tomography) may encourage cancer development. Because the number of these tests performed between 1980 and 2007 soared, experts are concerned the electromagnetic snapshots could spawn 29,000 new cancer cases a year. Dial back your emission exposure with these reduction reminders:


Ban the scan if you can. If your doctor orders a CT scan, find out the clinical justifications and whether other screenings may be suitable alternatives.

Stay in the loop and give the scoop. Know your history — keep track of every test and imaging profile you receive over time to help you and your doctor assess your risk/benefit ratio.

Avoid the lure of a preventive cure. Some facilities promote the use of full–body CT scans as a proactive measure for mapping immature maladies. But the FDA, along with several medical associations, says the unverified benefits aren’t worth the risk.

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