1 CT scan is equivalent to 300 chest X-rays and can increase cancer risk: AIIMS director

AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria said that the data by the International Atomic Energy Commission for Radiation Protection and Medicine have shown an increased risk of cancer in later life due to frequent CT scans, especially if done at a young age.
CT scan for cancer
You may be asked to undergo a CT scan in case of a head and neck cancer. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
HT Correspondent Published: 4 May 2021, 13:40 pm IST
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AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria on Monday warned of the misuse of CT scans and biomarkers by patients having mild Covid-19 symptoms and said that the overuse of CT scans increases exposure to radiation that in turn escalates the risk of cancer.

“No point in conducting CT scans for mild cases; one may find patches in CT scan even if he/she is asymptomatic but may get cured easily 1 #CTScan = 300-400 Chest X-rays! With frequent CTs, risk of cancer in later life increases, for youngsters,” Guleria warned, saying that the data by the international atomic energy commission for radiation protection and medicine have shown an increased risk of cancer in later life due to frequent CT scans, especially if done at a young age.

covid-19 vaccine india
We need to stop spreading and believing rumors about the covid-19 vaccination. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Guleria addressed the misuse of diagnosis, which he said is not required in case of mild symptoms. “A lot of people are getting CT scans done and deems it important to get CT scans done if their Covid tests turn out to be positive,” he said. He cited a study that has shown patches in the CT scan of around 30-40 per cent of asymptomatic Covid-19 patients, which got cleared without any treatment. He used the study to make it clear that in case of mild infection, under home isolation with no problem or decline in saturation there is no use of a CT scan as some patches will appear.

Additionally, he said biomarkers like CRP, D-Dimer, LDH, Ferritin etc are also not of any use in case of mild symptoms and normal saturation levels as it only leads to panic reactions. “All these biomarkers are acute phase reactants, which means if there is any kind of inflammation in the body these markers will soar. If you get acne or zit, injury, infection in your teeth then also these biomarkers will increase because it’s your body’s inflammatory response. So, it fails to accurately show if the viral disease has increased,” the AIIMS chief said.

ct scans for covid-19
If you have mild symptoms of covid-19 then stay calm and don’t immediately rush to a CT-Scan Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Unnecessary reliance on biomarkers can end up in over-treatment which may adversely affect the body. “Do biomarkers only when you have moderate illness and on the advice of your doctors,” Guleria suggested.

India on Monday reported more than 368,000 fresh Covid-19 infections and 3417 fatalities in the last 24 hours, as per the Union health ministry data.

(Story written by Deepali Sharma)

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