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Patient safety highlights American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Date:7/15/2010

y, a professor of imaging physics at the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, many children who survive cancer have a higher than average chance of developing a second cancer later in their lives.

"And we don't know," she says, "if that is because they have a genetic predisposition, or if it was due to the chemotherapy, the radiation therapy, or the diagnostic imaging. We want to reduce the risk of future cancer due to our component." The radiation exposure due to tumor imaging can be substantial, she adds, as some children are screened as often as every three months.

Cody and her colleagues will present results of a study aimed at reducing radiation exposure in pediatric patients today at the 52nd meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) in Philadelphia.

Cody and her team took what she says were "logical steps." The CT (computed tomography) scanners used to visualize tumors are capable of modulating their radiation output based on the amount of tissue being scanned, ramping up in areas of relatively thick tissue such as the torso and tamping down in thinner areas such as the neck. Rather than having the machine operate at a static level throughout the process, the researchers instructed the machine to deliver a certain quality and then stepped back, allowing the instrument to "dial" itself up or down. They also consulted closely with the radiologists responsible for reading the CT images, to work on how high an image quality was actually necessary to make a clinical determination; that is, how much "noise" could be accepted before the tumor "signal" would be unreadable.

In an initial group of eight cases, the investigators were able to demonstrate that a reduction of radiation exposure by 23 percent could be achieved without compromising quality medical care.

The presentation "Our Experience Reducing CT Radiation Dose to Pediatric Populations" by K Mathieu, N Fitzger
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@gmail.com
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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