My cousin is worried about cancer since his daughter is scheduled for a head CT soon? How can I convince him that the head CT dose would not lead to cancer?

Every diagnostic imaging exam is prescribed only if the benefits associated with it outweigh the potential risks. The information obtained from a CT exam can improve the clinical outcome for the patient by providing physicians with insights into what is going on inside the patient. As with every medical procedure, there are risks associated with a diagnostic imaging exam. A typical way to describe the risk associated with radiation from a CT exam is the effective dose. For a standard head exam, the effective dose is generally lower than 2 mSv (milli Sievert). To provide a comparison, the average annual natural background radiation in the US is 3.1 mSv. This means that by simply living on earth, each person in the US is naturally exposed every year to a radiation dose higher than the dose associated with a standard head CT exam. Therefore, we can reasonably say that the risk associated with a single head CT procedure is negligible, and the benefit to the patient from a medically necessary brain CT scan outweighs the radiation risk.

Answered by Francesco Ria

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