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Study estimates radiation dose, cancer risk from coronary artery calcium screening
Date:7/13/2009

CHICAGO A study based on computer modeling of radiation risk suggests that widespread screening for the buildup of calcium in the arteries using computed tomography scans would lead to an estimated 42 additional radiation-induced cancer cases per 100,000 men and 62 cases per 100,000 women, according to a report in the July 13 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Coronary artery calcification is associated with coronary artery disease. "Computed tomography (CT) has been proposed as a tool for routine screening for coronary artery calcification in asymptomatic individuals as part of a comprehensive risk assessment," the authors write as background information in the article. Evidence suggests that this type of screening may detect the presence of calcium in the arteries of individuals who would be at low risk when assessed by traditional risk factors. "However, the potential risks of screening, including the risk of radiation-induced cancer, have to be considered along with the potential benefits."

Kwang Pyo Kim, Ph.D., then of the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., and now of Kyung Hee University, Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea, and colleagues estimated the radiation doses delivered to adult patients undergoing CT screening for coronary artery calcification from a range of available protocols in the literature (there is not yet one agreed-upon standard). "Radiation risk models, derived using data from Japanese atomic bomb survivors and medically exposed cohorts, were used to estimate the excess lifetime risk of radiation-induced cancer," the authors write.

Because of differences in scanner models and techniques, radiation dose from a single scan varied more than 10-fold, the authors note. Organs or tissues estimated to receive measurable radiation doses included the breast, lung, thyroid, esophagus, bone surface and adrenal glands. "The wide dose variation also resulted in wide varia
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Contact: Kwang Pyo Kim, Ph.D.
kpkim@khu.ac.kr
JAMA and Archives Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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