Common Myths About CT Scans


Doctors use computer tomography scans, or CT scans, to accurately diagnose a variety of health issues, including tumors, internal injuries, and heart disease. These scans allow doctors to look at highly detailed cross-sectional images taken from a combination of X-rays. While the benefits of using these scans include ensuring that patients receive the treatment they need, some are hesitant to have them done due to myths about CT scan risks.

Myth 1: CT Scans Cause Hair Loss and Skin Redness

The FDA issued an alert on CT scans on Oct. 8, 2009, after several patients who underwent brain CT scans at hospitals in Southern California experienced short-term hair loss and skin redness. Investigations into these occurrences found that these patients were exposed to higher amounts of radiation levels during their scans. While all patients who have CT scans are exposed to some level of ionizing radiation, the patients in these cases were exposed to radiation levels eight times higher than normal. Investigators discovered that this occurred due to inadequate training at these hospitals. This incident has led to a push for improved training for CT technologists.

Myth 2: CT Scans Cause Thousands of Deaths From Cancer

Two articles published in the Archives of Internal Medicine claimed the increase in CT scans for diagnosing health issues has resulted in thousands of deaths from cancer for people in the US each year. A closer examination of these articles by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) revealed there are problems with the assumptions made by the authors, which makes the cancer death claims questionable. The AAPM also points out that there are no measurable ways to determine which cancer deaths were caused by radiation-induced cancer as opposed to naturally occurring cancer. In short, there is no reliable evidence to support the claim CT scans cause thousands of cancer deaths every year.

Fact: Not Having a CT Scan Done Can Increase the Risk of Health Problems

Patients who decide not to have a CT scan can end up with a higher risk of health problems. For example, without a CT scan, doctors might not be able to accurately determine the location of a tumor or blood clot, which increases the risk of developing severe and potentially life-threatening complications. Instead of not having one done, patients can opt to have a low-dose CT scan.

At Advanced Body Scan, we offer state-of-the-art CT scan technology that exposes patients to only around 20 percent of the amount of radiation they’re exposed to with standard CT scans. We use an Electron Beam CT scanner that works at very high speeds. These faster speeds mean that patients are exposed to radiation for a much shorter amount of time. In most cases, our non-invasive low-dose CT scans only take a few minutes to perform and can be used for detecting and preventing heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. We also perform brain scans, pancreatic cancer screenings and full body scans for preventative health and wellness.

If you need a CT scan or if you’re concerned about reducing your exposure to radiation, contact us for more information about our Electron Beam CT scans.