BREAKING NEWS DEC. 14, 2009:Two studies, published by American researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found radiation from CT scans done in 2007 could cause 29,000 cancers and kill nearly 15,000 people. The findings add to a growing body of evidence that Americans are overexposed to radiation through diagnostic techniques, of particular concern are CT scans. The individual risk still remains relatively low, and there is certainly a risk-benefit discussion that patients should have with their doctor. Researchers site the lack of regulation, even within the same hospital from one piece of equipment to another, when it comes to the level of radiation patients are exposed to. Listen to the program below and find out what you need to know and what questions to ask your doctor.
Have you ever had a CT scan? This sophisticated but common imaging technology is effective, but do you ever think about the radiation from it? UW Medicine Radiologists have discovered new techniques to perform low-dose CT scans without image compromise. This new CT technology produces high-quality diagnostic information out of every scan with a significantly reduced dose for patients. The result is high quality images, with up to 60 percent less radiation than a regular CT scan. In this program, sponsored by UW Medicine, Dr. Kapana Kanal and Dr. William Shuman join host Andrew Schorr to discuss the benefits of these new technologies.
Dr. William Shuman, director of clinical radiology at the University of Washington (UW), begins the program by explaining radiation, what it is and how it affects everyone in their daily life. He talks about the effects, as related to cancer, and why he and his team are researching lower dose CT scans, and when this low-dose CT scan is appropriate. Dr. Kapana Kanal, a medical physicist at UW, shares her perspective and speaks more specifically about preserving the image quality of the CT scans while reducing the radiation exposure. The guests help listeners to understand the advances in technology and techniques that are making low dose CT scans possible.
Both Dr. Shuman and Dr. Kanal stress that limiting your exposure to radiation throughout your lifetime is important. Though the risk is not that high, there is still some risk and patients need to be aware of it so they can make informed decisions. That being said, these experts and their team at UW Medicine are doing their best to protect the patient while using radiation techniques effectively, as necessary. To quote Dr. Shuman “It’s just been a major, major tool for improving the quality of healthcare, but we have to do that with the risk side very much in our mind and on our radar screens, if you will, so that we keep the risk as low as possible, and we always are looking for maximal benefit to the patient and for the expense of doing the scan.”
William Shuman, M.D., F.A.C.R.
Director of Clinical Radiology, UW MedicineDr. William Shuman is Medical Director of Radiology and Vice Chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Washington Medical Center. He received his medical degree from the State University of New York in Syracuse, New York. Dr. Shuman went on to complete a residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Mary Fletcher Hospital of the University of Vermont in... more >
Kalpana Kanal, Ph.D., D.A.B.R.
Assistant Professor in Radiology, Diagnostic Physics Section, UW MedicineDr. Kapana Kanal is an Assistant Professor in Radiology, Diagnostic Physics Section at the University of Washington Medical Center. She completed her Radiological Science Ph.D. at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in San Antonio, Texas in 1996. Dr. Kanal then attended the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for a Clinical Medical Physics Residency. She is... more >