This figure has researchers and health officials concerned because repeated and prolonged exposure to radiation may significantly increase the risk of cancer.
Some of the common screening tests like X-rays use little radiation. But other imaging tests such as CT scans emit far more radiation can raise the risk of cancer. Dental x-rays were not included in the survey.
Should we, as parents, be concerned?
Dr. Adam Dorfman of University of Michigan Medical School, the lead author of the study, thinks so. “Today’s children are undoubtedly getting many more of these studies than previous generations.”
The research shows that 42 percent of kids underwent one radiation procedure while 25 percent had two or three tests within a three year period. Eight percent had at least one CT scan and three percent had at least two.
Researchers are especially worried about radiation exposure of children since their tissues are more vulnerable. An earlier study shows that the risk of an infant developing cancer from a CT scan of the abdomen is eight times higher compared to a 50-year-old’s risk.
The important thing to note here is that radiation technology should be used properly, although this will prove to be challenging if physicians aren’t area of a patient’s previous scans. As a parent, we should keep track of our kids and the various tests they have done.
Dorfman added: “While I can’t say any given procedure was appropriate or inappropriate, I think as a whole we have to make sure when these studies are being used, they are used only when they are absolutely necessary.”