Scans & medical x rays
[back] Medical tests
[A typical CT scan equals 400 chest X-rays]
See: Ultrasound Radiation Radiation therapy Mammography
 Killing children with X-ray images - Death by procedure
The dangers of catscans and X-rays.
[2011 March] CT Scans Cause Coming Cancer Epidemic by PATRICK MALONE
The Danger of CT Scans In 2007 (the most recent data), it was estimated that 29,000 Americans will develop Cancer because they got a CT scan, and that more than 15,000 will die from Cancer due to CT scans! This means that CT scans are now one of the highest causes of cancer and DEATH! Doesnít anyone but me think this is insane?!
[2010 oct] X-rays linked to increased childhood leukemia risk
[2010 jan] CAT scan cancer fear; Radiation 'could trigger the disease in one in 80 patients'.
[June 2008] Weighing the Costs of a CT Scanís Look Inside the Heart
Brain Scans Show Whatever You Want to See
The latest estimates are that one standard course of CT scans exposes you to more radiation than the citizens of Hiroshima or Nagasaki received when the atomic bomb was dropped on their cities.....David Brenner, a leading radiologist from Columbia University in New York, has finally gone public to admit that they are likely to account for some 29,000 new cases of cancer every year in the US. Worse, CT scans could be causing 100,000 new cases of cancer per year across the globe.
But this might be worth it if CT scans are accurate and could in any way prevent future illness. However, the latest evidence is that CT scans can be wrong up to 75 per cent of the time in trauma injuries, and almost one-third of the time in early-stage diagnoses.
Study: CT Scans Raise Cancer Risk
In a few decades, as many as 2 percent of all cancers in the United States might be due to radiation from CT scans given now, according to the authors of the report.
[Media 2004] Could an X- ray damage your child's future brainpower?
[CT scans] HOLY HIROSHIMA! What radiologists don't tell you
[Media August 31, 2004] "Full body scans raise cancer risk -- study"
31aug04] More Cancer Risk Seen
in Full-Body CT Scans
New research suggests that one to several full-body scans exposures a person to a level of radiation comparable to that present in survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
[Media 4/2004] Dental X-Rays Might Lead to Small Babies
Radiation from Medical Procedures in the Pathogenesis of Cancer and Ischemic Heart Disease: Dose-Response Studies with Physicians per 100,000 Population, by John W. Gofman, M.D., Ph. D., Edited by Egan O'Connor, (1999, 699 pages)
Hypothesis-1: Medical radiation is a highly important cause (probably the principal cause) of cancer mortality in the United States during the Twentieth Century. Medical radiation means, primarily, exposure by xrays (including fluoroscopy and CT scans).
Hypothesis-2: Medical radiation, received even at very low and moderate doses, is an important cause of death from Ischemic Heart Disease; the probable mechanism is radiation-induction of mutations in the coronary arteries, resulting in dysfunctional clones (mini-tumors) of smooth muscle cells.
By the way, medical radiation, from x-ray machines, is roughly twice as harmful per unit dose as Hiroshima-Nagasaki radiation.  Interview: Dr John Gofman
Many of Davis's findings simply stunned me. Consider the invasion of
computerized imaging technology (CT scans) in modern medicine. Since its
invention in the 1970s, CT scanning has become a $100-billion industry that
creates nifty three-dimensional images, yet exposes patients to radiation. CT
scans have become such a favoured technology that one in every three scans
recommended for children is probably unnecessary.
In the last 25 years, the amount of radiation zapping North Americans from scanning and the like has increased fivefold. Now ponder this stunner: "Modern America's annual exposure to radiation from diagnostic machines is equal to that released by a nuclear accident that spewed the equivalent of hundreds of Hiroshimas across much of Russia and Eastern Europe." Most physicians don't know that a typical CT scan equals 400 chest X-rays. A group of researchers at Yale now estimate that radiation from CT scans of the head and abdomen will kill 2,500 people a year. The Secret History of the War on Cancer
Nortin Hadler says he would sue any doctor who tried to test his cholesterol. Likewise, his bone density, prostate levels, colon cells, etc. The Harvard-trained doc, now in his sixties and a rheumatologist and professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says you, too, should avoid these routine tests, as well as most angioplasties, bypass surgeries and routine mammograms. That's because -- contrary to what the medical establishment tells you -- the tests and procedures don't extend most lives, he says; they just convince healthy people they're sick. Skip These Tests?
I'm sad to say, I don't think 90% of doctors in this country know a goddamned thing about ionizing radiation and its effect. Somebody polled some pediatricians recently and said, "Do you believe there's a safe dose of radiation?" And 45% said, "Yes." They weren't asked, "What papers have you ever read on this subject that led you to conclude there's a safe dose?" I think medical education on the hazard of radiation is atrocious. What have they taught you in radiology?  Interview: Dr John Gofman
If you ask me, "Do you stand against medical x-rays?" the answer is no. And
I've written a book with Egan O'Connor on the health effects of common exams. We
take the position: if there's a diagnostic gain for you -- something that can
really make a difference in your health and your life -- then don't forego the
x-ray. But there's another part of the picture. Up until recently -- it may be a
little better now than it was -- government studies show that most hospitals and
most offices of radiologists didn't have the foggiest notion of what dose they
were giving you for a procedure. Nor did they know that the procedure could be
accomplished with a third or a tenth of the dose. Joel Gray, a health physicist
at the Mayo Clinic, said there are places giving you 20 times the dose needed
for a given picture. And, he said, "If you ask those people and they can't
answer, you can be fairly confident that they're giving you a bigger dose than
necessary." So Egan and I, in The Health Effects of Common Exams, took
the data on what the average doses were in the United States, versus what has
been accomplished by some elegant work in Toronto to reduce the dose to
one-third of what was the average practice in 1984, and found that about 50,000
fatal cancers per year could be prevented. That' s a million and a half in a
generation! So what is this stuff about "Most procedures don't hurt you, they're
Let me say one more thing about the medical profession. It's my view that we have a really crazy situation with respect to x-rays. You go to a physician -- your internist, or a GP, or an obstetric gynecologist, or an orthopedic surgeon -- these are the people who send you out for an x-ray. They represent, or should, your ombudsperson. And they, not you, should have to find out whether the facility they're sending you to uses five times the dose needed, or a decent dose of radiation. But if you ask that so-called ombudsperson, "Where you're sending me, do they know how to keep the dose down? What dose will I get?" He'll mumble, "Don't worry about it, no problem." That's the fault of medical education in our universities. If we turn out physicians who don't have the attitude that they're the ombudsman for things like that, I think they're not doing the job.  Interview: Dr John Gofman
The medical profession is implicated directly. I've spoken to Andre Bruewer, who practices in Tucson. He's a first-class radiologist who does nothing but mammography. And he said, "John, I shudder to think of what we were doing 20 years ago." We were touting mammography when the dose was four to five rads, and in some cases 10 rads. Now if you give enough women four to five rads, at something of the order of a 2 percent increase in breast-cancer rate per rad -- that's what my analyses show, and I've analyzed the world data on x-rays very carefully with respect to breast cancer in particular -- it has to be that women irradiated 15, 20 years ago got horrendous doses from mammography compared to now. And therefore, some of the present increase in breast cancer has to be from the radiation they got; but they don't like to talk about it.  Interview: Dr John Gofman
There was a time, 20 to 30 years ago, when there were mobile x-ray units that
gave x-rays of the chest. They didn't give the 20 millirads [a 50th of a rad]
that is possible today. They gave about five rads. Children went through those
things by the thousands. And we just say, "We don't know why this cancer
epidemic is taking place now." Nobody's taken account of it. It's hard to know
how many children got it and who they were and follow them up. But you know that
a certain number of people are having cancers now as a result of what was done
15, 20 years ago.
Back in the '50s one woman brought a child in in the middle of the night having real difficulty breathing, and a resident said, "Maybe the thymus gland is enlarged and pressing on the trachea. Let's give this child 100 or 150 rads of radiation in the neck." And as with many disorders, the child got better by morning. And so this resident put two and two together and said, "I gave the radiation, the child got better, therefore I cured him." And so this became the rage and all kinds of hospitals were using radiation to treat an enlarged thymus.  Interview: Dr John Gofman
There have been careful studies now of these kids that had the irradiation
for enlarged thymuses -- which, by the way, is no longer believed to have been a
disease that existed in the first place -- and they're having an excess of
thyroid cancers, an excess of salivary gland cancers. One hospital in Pittsburgh
said, "Why should we wait till these children come into the emergency room at
night with croup?" And they, for a period of over a year, gave x-rays to every
child leaving the nursery...
There is this wall that prevents us from relating past experience to the occurrence of cancer. The full effects are not known. It's not just what the average dose was back then, some places were giving horrendous doses. Sometimes they'd get a picture that was too faint. So they'd take another one, with a longer exposure -- when the problem was that their developing solution was getting spent. And all they had to do was change the developer. But instead of that they gave the person an extra x-ray with a bigger dose.  Interview: Dr John Gofman
If I were a member of the public, knowing what I know: if the establishment told me that something had a certain risk, I'd assume that the true risk was at least 10 times worse. Part of the problem comes from the patient. If a patient goes to a doctor -- especially if he's covered by a health plan -- and the doctor doesn't give him any procedures, they feel cheated. "You didn't even take an x-ray!" But the medical profession has to be regarded as culpable, along with the DOE. They both have the same conflict of interest: their work exposes people to radiation. For the DOE there have been all kinds of people of shady character in all kinds of government posts. But damn it, the medical profession shouldn't be shady and corrupt. I'd like to see them really apply the Hippocratic oath to this field.  Interview: Dr John Gofman