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Concern about cumulative radiation has some doctors urging alternatives

Boston Globe, September 14, 2009

When doctors counted the number of medical scans patients underwent in the emergency room at Brigham and Women's Hospital, some patients clearly stood out. One 45-year-old woman with a history of kidney stones had 70 CT scans over 22 years. The cumulative radiation exposure from those scans, the researchers estimated, raised her lifetime risk of cancer by about 10%. Partly because of these results—overall 5% of patients studied underwent at least 22 scans in the 22-year study period—the hospital plans to become one of the first in the United States to notify doctors of their patients' imaging histories, and resulting cancer risk.