Women's Heart Advisor October 2009 Issue

Coronary CT Scans May Raise Your Cancer Risk

Experts warn widespread use could increase the number of excess radiation-induced cancers. Women are especially vulnerable.

Use of computed tomography (CT) to assess the amount of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries is accepted as an alternative to catheterization in patients at low-to-intermediate risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) who present with chest pain. It is also becoming an increasingly popular method for routine CAD screening in asymptomatic patients as part of a comprehensive risk assessment. But a study in the July 13 Archives of Internal Medicine concluded that widespread use of this technology could dramatically increase the number of radiation-induced cancer cases in the U.S., with women especially at risk.

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