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Cancer risks associated with X-rays, CT scans are only theoretical: Study

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New York: The widespread belief that radiations from X-rays and CT scans can cause cancer has flaws and is based on an unproven theoretical model, suggests a study.

To estimate cancer risk from low-dose radiation, scientists used a model known as linear no-threshold (LNT) in the study published in the American Journal of Clinical Oncology.

But risk estimates based on this model “are only theoretical and, as yet, have never been conclusively demonstrated by empirical evidence”, wrote researcher James Welsh from the Loyola University in Chicago.

The use of the LNT model drives unfounded fears and “excessive expenditures on putative but unneeded and wasteful safety measures”, Welsh noted.

In the LNT model, the well-established cancer-causing effects of high doses of radiation are extended downward in a straight line to very low doses.

The model dissuades many physicians from using appropriate imaging techniques and “discourages many in the public from getting proper and needed imaging, all in the name of avoiding any radiation exposure”, the researcher explained.

This model assumes there is no safe dose of radiation, no matter how small.

However, the human body has evolved the ability to repair damage from low-dose radiation that naturally occurs in the environment.

Studies of atomic bomb survivors and other epidemiological studies of human populations have never conclusively demonstrated that low-dose radiation exposure can cause cancer, according to the study.

Any claim that low-dose radiation from medical imaging procedures is known to cause cancer “should be vigorously challenged, because it serves to alarm and perhaps harm, rather than educate”, the scientists suggested.

The LNT model “should finally and decisively be abandoned”, the authors concluded. (IANS)(Photo: www.continentalhospitals.com)

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Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

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Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

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Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)