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Cohort study
A small but real risk of cancer in children from undergoing CT
  1. Mathew Mercuri1,
  2. Andrew J Einstein2
  1. 1Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2Cardiology Division, Departments of Medicine and Radiology, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to : Andrew J Einstein
    Cardiology Division, Departments of Medicine and Radiology, Columbia University, 622 West 168th Street, PH 10–203, New York, NY 10032, USA; andrew.einstein{at}columbia.edu

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Context

Use of ionising radiation in medical imaging has grown in recent decades. In some populations, its cumulative radiation dose approaches that from all other sources combined. This radiation burden has led to concerns about cancers caused by medical imaging. However, imaging studies expose patients to considerably lower radiation doses, and different types of radiation, than those received by most individuals in populations where we have epidemiological evidence of cancer, such as atomic bomb survivors. This gap in the evidence base has led to the controversy regarding whether radiation from medical imaging is indeed harmful. A recent study by Pearce and colleagues provides epidemiological evidence that radiation …

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