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Computed tomography in childhood and adolescence is associated with small increased risk of cancer

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 22 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3348
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz
  1. 1BMJ

Computed tomography in children and young people has a small but significant effect on their risk of developing cancer, a large population based study has found.

Overall the study found that the chance of developing cancer was 24% higher among children and teenagers who had undergone computed tomography than among those who had not. But because the incidence of cancer in early life is very low this increased risk translated into only an extra six cancers over 10 years for every 10 000 young people who underwent computed tomography. Had they not had any scans, 39 cases of cancer would have been expected in this group.1

The researchers, from Australia and …

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