A new study from British researchers suggests radiation exposure from CT scans in childhood could triple the risk of leukemia and brain cancer.
The study by researchers at Newcastle University and at the National Cancer Institute looked at the records of more than 175,000 children and young adults over two decades. It included people up to 22 years old who underwent CT scans at British National Health Service hospitals between 1985 and 2002.
The researchers estimate that for every 10,000 head CT scans performed on children 10 years old or younger, one more case of leukaemia and one more brain tumour case would occur than would normally be expected.
"While the risks are small, the medical community needs to consider carefully its use of CT scans and refine their use as a priority. We need to look at worldwide regulation."
The researchers, though, emphasized that when a child suffers a major head injury or develops a life-threatening illness, the benefits of clinically appropriate CT scans should outweigh future cancer risks.
The study was published Thursday in the medical journal The Lancet.
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