Will the Overuse of CT Scans Contribute to Thousands of New Cancer Cases?

Posted on May 11, 2015 by Shapiro Law Group

According to the American Board of Internal Medicine, 130 different medical screenings and tests commonly used by doctors are not necessary, and might even put patients at risk for injury or death. The real frightening aspect of unnecessary tests and procedures is that the consequences are not always immediate.

Take CT (computed tomography) scans for example, which the National Cancer Institute estimates will cause 29,000 future cancer cases. In 2007, there were more than 72 million CT scans performed in the United States. CT scans bathe an area of the body with x-ray beams, which can damage DNA and cause cell mutations that turn into cancer. Chances are, our readers have had a CT scan or know someone who has, as they are commonly used to image a specific part of the body to diagnose health conditions.

Since 2007, the use of CT scans has increased, and Consumer Reports estimates that they might contribute to 15,000 future cases of cancer every year.

Are Unnecessary Procedures Medical Malpractice?

It could be difficult to prove a connection between CT scans and a case of fatal cancer, but this example serves to show part of a larger problem: medical procedures should always serve a legitimate medical purpose.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, one-third of CT scans serve no medical purpose. In fact, research from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that 35 percent of CT scans are ordered as a defense against potential medical malpractice lawsuits.

When patients are injured by negligent healthcare providers, they should out to a skilled attorney. Contacting a medical malpractice attorney can help hold negligent medical practitioners accountable.

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