CT scans used to monitor success of cancer treatments cause more cancer, study finds

Monday, April 18, 2011 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: CT scans, cancer, health news

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(NaturalNews) Men diagnosed with testicular cancer often choose to undergo regular computed tomography (CT) scans that monitor progress after treatment. But a new study published in the journal Cancer explains that these CT scans actually cause secondary cancers, and suggests that doctors consider this important fact before flippantly recommending it to their patients.

"This is the first study that I am aware of that shows that diagnostic CT scans cause cancer with statistical significance," said John Boone, coauthor of the study, professor in the University of California (UC) Davis Department of Radiology, and CT expert. "The organizations that recommend these protocols need to reevaluate this aggressive use of CT and maybe opt for MRI or ultrasound."

Conducted at UC Davis, the study evaluated the records of 7,301 men diagnosed between 1988 and 2006 with nonseminomatous germ cell tumors, which are the most common type that occur in testicular cancer patients. The team found that men who undergo the typical 15 CT scans in five years protocol after treatment are far more likely to get secondary cancers than men who opt for other forms of post-treatment monitoring.

"The side effect is worse than the disease," Chamie said, concerning CT scans. "More men are likely to get secondary malignancies than are liable to die from their active disease."

The study adds to the growing body of evidence concerning the very real dangers of CT scans and other forms of body imaging that involve the use of ionizing radiation. A 2010 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, for instance, warns about the very serious public health threat posed by the overuse of CT scans ( And an earlier 2010 study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found that CT scans cause roughly 29,000 cancers and 14,500 deaths every year in the US (

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