Intended for healthcare professionals


Exposure to CT scans in children slightly increases risk of leukaemia or brain tumour, study shows

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 07 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3984
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

Children who have computed tomography scans run a higher risk of developing leukaemia or a brain tumour later in life, a large cohort study using NHS data has shown. In absolute terms the risks remain small, but the study emphasises the need to ensure that children are scanned only when absolutely necessary.

The study concludes that two to three computed tomography scans to the head in children under 15 can triple the risk of brain cancer, while five to 10 such scans can triple the risk of leukaemia. For every 10 000 children given a single scan to the head before the age of 10, there would be one additional case of leukaemia …

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