Diagnosis: too Much Diagnosis
Body scans are all the rage, but how many do we need?
1,300 Radiation dose, in millirems (mrem), from a single full-body computed tomography (CT) scan
1.5 Miles Distance you’d need to have been from the Hiroshima atomic explosion to receive an equivalent dose
29 Radiation dose, in mrem, from smoking a pack of cigarettes
.08% Increase in risk of death from cancer after a full-body CT scan
3.75% Increase in risk of death from cancer if you receive a full-body CT scan annually starting at age 25
300 Average annual radiation dose from natural sources, in mrem, per person in the U.S.
1 Average annual radiation dose, in mrem, from eating one or two bananas a week
57 MILLION Number of full-body CT scans performed in 2003
$16 BILLION Estimated annual cost of unnecessary diagnostic imaging
7 Percentage of patients informed of the risks of their CT scans
Sources: American College of Radiology, David J. Brenner/Columbia University Medical Center, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, David C. Levin/Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, National Institutes of Health, Nuclear Energy Institute, Yale University School of Medicine