How many times in the past year have you or a loved one had a CT scan? At the time, did the doctor ordering the scan have a conversation with you about its radiation risks compared to that of a typical x-ray? What about other kinds of x-ray based scans – like a mammogram? Or the kind that trace contrast materials through your GI tract or your heart?
Our newest piece To Scan or Not To Scan makes the case that it’s time we start having these discussions with our doctors.
And maybe our doctors need to be getting more informed as well.
For example, try this 1 question quiz:
How does the radiation from a chest CT scan compare with the radiation from a chest X-ray?
a. The X-ray has at least as much radiation as the CT scan.
b. The CT scan has somewhere between 2 and 10 times the radiation of the x-ray.
c. The CT scan has somewhere between 10 and 100 times the radiation of the x-ray.
d. The CT scan has somewhere between 100 and 250 times the radiation of the x-ray.
e. The CT scan has more than 500 times the radiation of the x-ray.
Ready for the correct answer?
It’s d. The CT scan has somewhere between 100 and 250 times the radiation of the x-ray.
Depending on your answer, you may be surprised to learn that most patients in a 2004 survey thought the answer was b and that NOBODY got it right.
But you may be shocked to learn that 78% of Emergency Room doctors and 83% of radiologists also got it wrong!
Read our newest As We See It piece To Scan Or Not To Scan and find out why!