In articles published by Dr. John Mafi, who studies after effects of CT and MRI scans, as reported that repeated scans, can increase the risk of cancer. He also found that exposure to radiation from scans was linked to higher cancer risk. It was estimated that CT and MRI scans contributed to additional 4000 cancers in 2007.
Men’s health magazine quoted Dr. Mafi as “define imperfections, and this causes worry and elevates the stressful patient’s”. Frequently radiologists pick up small lesions, that cannot be well identified. Because of this further scans are ordered. Biopsies are done, which may increase expenses. Once the patient gets worried, patient will go to any length to decrease the anxiety, and physician afraid of missing diagnosis, and afraid of future lawsuits, may order more CT scans and MRI.
One wonders where the cost of medical treatment is so high? Here is an example. Just note that 18 million scans of head were performed in 2007 only. US Population in 2007 was somewhere around 300 million. That means 6 out of 100 people got CT scan of the head. This does not include CT and MRI scans performed on other parts of the body. For example Dr. Mafi’s research raise similar concerns for CT scans and MRIs for back pain as well as overuse of pain medications (click to go to JAMA).
Repeated scans especially where dyes were used, can cause kidney damage is susceptible patients.
I know that one of my patients, who saw several physicians with the complaint of dizziness, has received 7 MRI scans of the brain. She had at least 2 of them with injectable dye. Each no specific diagnosis was achieved. Patient continues to have complaints of dizziness.