Not only is MRI technology the most effective form of diagnostic imaging, it is also the safest. Imaging solutions like X-rays are paradoxical; on one hand, they are able to address and diagnose immediate health concerns, but on the other hand they threaten future health by exposing the body to harmful radiation.
A new Chicago study has determined that CT scans can increase the risk of breast cancer in females–especially in the case of younger women and women who have had repeated exposure to nuclear medicine imaging. CT scans involve injecting a tiny amount of radioactive material into the patient in order to get a clear picture of the body’s internal organs through the scanner, and breast tissue is one of the most cancer-sensitive areas of the body in terms of absorbing radiation.
The researchers looked at 1,656 patients who had CT scans in which the breast was exposed to radiation. Each patient’s radiation does was estimated by an automated method, as was the amount of radiation absorbed by the breast.
“We found that the estimated breast radiation doses from CT were highly variable across patients, with with highest doses coming from multiple-phase cardiac and chest CT examinations, where successive images of the organ being studied are captured,” said Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman, senior author of the study.
Adding to that, co-author Diana Miglioretti stated: “Young women receiving several chest and or cardiac CTs had the greatest increased risk of developing breast cancer at approximately 20 per cent. A 15-year-old girl with no risk factors for breast cancer would double her 10-year risk of developing breast cancer at 25.”