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Pediatric CT Scan Study

Cancer incidence among children undergoing computed tomography (CT) scans

Due to the lack of empirical data on CT use and cancer, DCEG initiated a retrospective cohort study with the University of Newcastle to evaluate the relationship between radiation exposure from CT scans conducted during childhood and adolescence and the subsequent development of cancer. We identified a cohort of 200,000 people who received CT scans as children or adolescents in the UK from 1985 - 2002. The cohort was followed for cancer incidence and mortality using national records. We also assessed trends in use of CT examinations in various parts of the UK.

Study Publications

Cancer Risks 

Trends in CT Use and Dose 

Factors Associated with CT scans 

Estimated Organ and Tissue Doses 

In addition, two studies of CT examinations were conducted in Israel. In a descriptive study of pediatric and adolescent CT scan use during 1999-2003 in a large health maintenance organization in Israel, we found that the cranium was the most frequently scanned region of the body, ranging from 78% in young children to 39% in adolescents. The highest annual CT examination rate (per 1,000) was recorded in 2001 (10.1) compared to 7.0 and 6.3 in 1999 and 2003, respectively. The lowest rate (three scans per 1,000) was found for 3-year-old children, with increasing rates with age. In the second study, we estimated that 17,686 pediatric scans were conducted annually in Israel during 1999-2003. We projected that 9.5 lifetime deaths would be associated with one year of pediatric CT scanning. This number represents an excess of 0.29% over the total number of patients who are eventually estimated to die from cancer in their lifetime.

Chodick G, et al. The utilization of pediatric computed tomography in a large Israeli Health Maintenance Organization. Pediatric Radiology. 2006.

For more information, contact Lindsay Morton.

Radiation Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas

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