An international team of scientists led by Michael Hauptmann from the Netherlands Institute for Cancer Research has announced the results of new work. The researchers said that computed tomography may increase the risk of developing brain tumors, writes Science Daily.
Recall that computed tomography (CT) is one of the most commonly used imaging methods (by the way, its creators received the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine). CT sanitation is used by specialists in various fields: biologists, archaeologists and, of course, doctors.
This type of scan significantly expands diagnostic capabilities and, accordingly, increases the effectiveness of treatment. However, there is an important point: studies of human internal organs are carried out using X-rays.
This fact has long caused certain concerns among doctors. By itself, computed tomography assumes minimal exposure compared to other types of radiation diagnostics. However, there is speculation that children and adolescents who receive higher doses of radiation become vulnerable to developing cancer. In particular, we are talking about malignant neoplasms in the brain, as well as leukemia.
To test this hypothesis and assess the risks, Hauptmann's team conducted a study involving more than 168,000 Dutch children and adolescents under the age of 18. Between 1979 and 2012, they all underwent one or more CT scans.
Scientists analyzed the medical records of all of these patients. They were interested in cases of cancer, as well as how many people died during this period and for what reasons.
As a result, the overall cancer incidence among the participants was one and a half times higher than expected. Experts have indeed found a link between CT scans and the development of various types of brain tumors. So, the higher the radiation dose was, the higher was the risk of a terrible disease. In patients who underwent tomography several times, the risk of developing oncology increased two to four times.
But with regard to leukemia, the assumptions did not come true: radiation, apparently, does not have a significant effect on the development of tumors and disruption of the functioning of blood cells and bone marrow, the authors of the work clarify.
However, they also note that some of the children were forced to undergo CT scans because they already had a suspicion of cancer. In this case, it is not entirely clear whether the procedure could somehow affect the development of the disease.
Doctors insist that work in this direction be continued: they want to determine all the existing risks associated with the widespread method of radiation diagnostics.