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AAPM Cautions that Patients Should Not Forgo Essential Medical Imaging

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medical imaging has revolutionized healthcare and is essential in the detection and treatment of injury and disease. Modern equipment and protocols ensure that patients, physicians, and technicians are exposed to the lowest possible amounts of radiation, while still providing accurate results and diagnostic information.

Risks associated with imaging and any medical procedure must be balanced with the benefits of that procedure. Alarmist and sensational speculation about the risk of low-dose radiation exposure may cause patients to refuse these life-saving medical tests.

According to a statement released today by the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM):

"(AAPM) acknowledges that medical imaging procedures should be appropriate and conducted at the lowest radiation dose consistent with acquisition of the desired information. Discussion of risks related to radiation dose from medical imaging procedures should be accompanied by acknowledgment of the benefits of the procedures. Risks of medical imaging at effective doses below 50 mSv for single procedures or 100 mSv for multiple procedures over short time periods are too low to be detectable and may be nonexistent. Predictions of hypothetical cancer incidence and deaths in patient populations exposed to such low doses are highly speculative and should be discouraged. These predictions are harmful because they lead to sensationalistic articles in the public media that cause some patients and parents to refuse medical imaging procedures, placing them at substantial risk by not receiving the clinical benefits of the prescribed procedures."

The AAPM also stresses that its members in the medical community strive to ensure patient safety while providing the best possible care. As stated:

"AAPM members continually strive to improve medical imaging by lowering radiation levels and maximizing benefits of imaging procedures involving ionizing radiation."

The completed text of the statement is available here:

The AAPM is a scientific and professional organization, founded in 1958, composed of scientists whose clinical practice is dedicated to ensuring accuracy, safety and quality in the use of radiation in medical procedures such as medical imaging and radiation therapy. Medical physicists, as they are generally known, are uniquely positioned across medical specialties due to their responsibility to connect the physician to the patient through the use of radiation producing technology in both diagnosing and treating people. The responsibility of the medical physicist is to assure that the radiation prescribed in imaging and radiation therapy is delivered accurately and safely. One of the primary goals of the AAPM is the identification and implementation of improvements in patient safety for the medical use of radiation in imaging and radiation therapy. To learn more about AAPM, visit

Charles E. Blue
+1 301-209-3091

SOURCE American Association of Physicists in Medicine
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