CT scans 'should be decided on a case-by-case basis'

7 June 2012

Medical professionals have been urged to monitor how many CT scans they carry out on children, after the procedure has been linked with a risk of youngsters developing brain cancer.

Researchers led by a team of scientists from Newcastle University have suggested that multiple CT scans can triple the likelihood of a person suffering from brain cancer or leukaemia if the procedures take place during childhood.

The study group discovered this finding after analysing the NHS medical records of almost 180,000 patients, all of whom were under the age of 21 years old.

Furthermore, the research – which was funded by the Department of Health (DoH) and the US National Cancer Institute – underlined that two or three scans are enough to increase the risk of brain cancer, while anywhere between five and ten scans could heighten the threat of leukaemia.

Looking into the findings, the DoH acknowledged: "Clinicians should make decisions on a case-by-case basis, making sure scans are given only when the benefits outweigh the risks."

Brain cancer is still a major health problem across Britain, with Cancer Research UK highlighting that 4,987 people were diagnosed with malignant brain and other CNS tumours in 2009, while 4,347 new cases non-invasive brain and other CNS tumours were recorded.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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