The mortality risk associated with the underlying reason for computed tomography (CT) imaging in young adults outweighs the risk for radiation-induced cancer, reassure US researchers.

As reported in Radiology, over the average 5.5 years of follow-up after imaging, 7.1% of 8057 chest CT patients and 3.9% of 13,888 abdominal CT patients died.

This is a whole order of magnitude larger than the expected 0.1% predicted risk for death from CT-induced cancer in patients aged 18-35 years, say Robert Zondervan (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA) and co-authors.

“When advising on radiation concerns, the radiologist should inform patients that potential adverse outcomes are much more likely to occur from the underlying medical morbidity, rather than from CT-induced cancer for most common examination indications,” the team emphasizes.

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