PET-CT ImageDiagnostic Imaging Services shares a Reuters news story about medical scans. This topic is visited nearly annually, discussing the “increased risks” of getting scans that involve ionizing radiation, such as x-rays or Computed Tomography (CT) scans.

The important point is this. The medical community needs to, and has in our opinion, been much better at understanding the appropriate use of imaging tests. These tests are often critical, if not vital, to a physician’s diagnostic process. But, when news stories come out that more tout risk than benefit, we speak up.

In the vast majority of cases, the test involving radiation FAR OUTWEIGHS any associated risk. One research report issued six years ago stated that a person’s lifetime risk of developing cancer is 22%. Having one CT scan made that risk 22.5%. It could be argued that overexposure to the sun could increase a person’s risk of cancer far more than an imaging scan.

DIS always recommends discussing the need for an exam with their doctor. In some cases, a test that does not involve radiation may be able to be performed first. We also provide numerous resources to health care offices to provide them with criteria developed by the American College of Radiology that identifies the best exam to recommend, based on the medical indication(s) of their patient (i.e. severe headache; pain on the right side).

We never, ever advocate needless use of ionizing radiation. When ordered correctly, the tests can be invaluable. They often are tools used to diagnose cancer, identify appendicitis, find a tumor or a see a broken bone.