Radiation exposure 7X higher than 1980

March 3, 2009 2:21:13 PM PST
They are tests that can save lives. But a new study raises concerns that CT scans and other x-rays are being used too much

According to a new report, Americans are now exposed to about seven times more radiation than they were in 1980.

The greatest increase in exposure comes from doctors ordering more tests such as x-rays and CT scans.

The report was published by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement. Many experts are concerned that physicians are overusing such tests. Some doctors do own imaging equipment, or have financial interests in imaging centers. So they may be referring more patients to undergo unnecessary tests. Medicare statistics show that for centers which are owned by doctors, they're ordering tests at triple the rate.

Still most experts say the benefits of diagnostic imaging far outweigh the risks...but some worry too much could lead to more cancer cases in the future.

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