Consumer Reports, a widely read magazine in the U. S., has published more than half a dozen articles in the past couple of years warning people that every CT scan carries with it the risk of causing cancer. Here are the headlines of those articles.
- Consumer Reports: January 03, 2013. Many patients unaware of radiation risks from CT scans
- Consumer reports: April 2014. Dangers of too many CT scans. Some hospitals do more than needed, unnecessarily exposing you to cancer-causing radiation, Consumer Reports finds
- Consumer Reports: January 2015. When to question CT scans and X-rays? Radiation from these tests can increase your cancer risk.
- Consumer Reports: January 27, 2015. The surprising dangers of CT scans and X-rays
Patients are often exposed to cancer-causing radiation for little medical reason, a Consumer Reports investigation finds.
- Consumer Reports: January 28, 2015. What to do if you think your child has a concussion. Getting a CT scan when it’s not needed poses risks.
- Consumer Reports; February 6th, 2015
Can mammograms cause cancer? Radiation from CT scans, X-rays, and even mammograms can increase your risk of breast cancer. David Schipper
- Consumer Reports: March 05, 2015. The cancer risk that lurks in your hospital. Unnecessary CT scans are far too common in U.S.
Here is an excerpt from a note I received through the mailing list of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI).
In response to one of the Consumer Reports articles from 2015, Radiology Leadership sent a letter to Consumer Reports. This was signed by;
Alliance for Radiation Safety in Pediatric Imaging (Image Gently Alliance). Donald P. Frush, MD Marilyn J. Goske, MD
American Association of Physicists in Medicine. John M. Boone, PhD President
American Board of Radiology. Milton J. Guiberteau, MD President
American College of Radiology Bibb Allen, MD, FACR Chair
Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance. Gail Rodriguez, PhD Executive Director
National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement. John D. Boice Jr., ScDPresident
Radiological Society of North America. Mary C. Mahoney, MD, FACR. Board Liaison for Publications and Communications.
In the May 2015 issue, page 5, Consumer Reports has published a shortened version of the Radiology Leadership letter, and a comment from their Editor. I have attached these.
The Consumer Reports Editors note says that they do not agree with the letter and that the form of radiation used in medical imaging is a known carcinogen…many of the scans that doctors are ordering serve no useful purpose….more needs to be done to curb the current misuse of medical imaging. Wow!!!
Pediatric Radiologist and Emeritus Chairman of Radiology.
Here is a scanned copy of the referenced letter and response.
It is rare for editors of a publication to directly respond to a letter to the editor. It is even more rare for editors — especially in a general interest publication where the editors are chosen for their writing skills, not their scientific or medical expertise — to contradict a letter signed by a group of subject matter experts who represent responsible professional organizations.
Another member of SARI responded to the situation as follows.
“Wow” is right!!!
What an outrage. It demands followup. On the other hand if Consumer Reports can so confidently and arrogantly dismiss the perspective of leaders from the ABR, ACR, AAPM, NCRP, etc I don’t know what hope there is.
Thanks for making me aware.
James S. Welsh, MS, MD, FACRO
It’s important for people to be told that something like ionizing radiation, which is correlated with cancer incidence at high doses is safe at the doses associated with properly administered diagnostic procedures.
That’s what the professional radiologists were saying. There is no need for the editors at CR to modify that accurate message with fear mongering.