In Modern Medicine, Diagnostic Imaging is Widely Used to Make Medical Evaluations.
Imaging procedures such as CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and X-rays are used to detect a broad range of medical issues including broken bones, GI problems, heart conditions, blood clots, and tumors. They’re also highly beneficial for determining how well your body is responding to certain treatments, such as chemotherapy for cancer. Additionally, imaging often eliminates the need for invasive and unguided exploratory surgeries.
However, with every popular technology comes a bit of scrutiny; in the case of imaging, the focus is on safety.
A large increase in the volume of imaging tests done between 1980 and 2006 contributed to a sixfold increase in annual per capita radiation exposure, according to an article published in American Family Physician. Fast forward to 2018, when 80 million CT scans are performed every year in the United States. This dramatic rise in the use of radiology has brought to light questions about its safety in the long term.
Some worry that X-rays and other medical imaging can cause radiation exposure that may lead to cell mutations, and ultimately cancer.
The good news is radiation exposure from X-rays is low, and the benefits typically outweigh the risks. It’s important to note that radiation naturally exists in our environment; to be more specific, we are exposed to levels of it through the sun and stars, from the food we eat and water we drink, and from the earth itself. There are select instances in which radiation (in heavy doses) can lead to cancer later in life. People exposed to nuclear weapons, radiation accidents, and radiation treatment for people with existing cancers are at a greater risk of developing cancer from radiation exposure.
As with any medical procedure, it’s all about weighing the pros and cons. Think about it this way: if you have asthma or allergies, it doesn’t mean you never go outside, you simply take measures to protect yourself.
When it comes to imaging, the benefits usually exceed any cancer-related risk.
Diagnostic imaging in particular can provide early diagnosis for diseases, which can be vital to treating conditions before they’ve spread. The use of mammograms for discovering breast cancer is a perfect example.
Even so, health care provide can play an important role in minimizing patient risk by referring them to facilities that practice conservative use whenever possible.
Independent Imaging is a venerated practice in its field. In addition to high practice standards, their facility meets or exceeds quality assurance and safety guidelines, so you can feel good about choosing them as your provider. For more information, or to schedule imaging services, call (561) 795-5558.