MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Repeated computed tomography testing in the past may increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer in the future, according to a new study from the Radiological Society of America.
"When a woman undergoes CT or nuclear medicine imaging of her chest, abdomen or spine, her breast tissue will absorb some radiation," senior study author and University of California radiology & biomedical imaging professor Dr. Rebecca Smith-Bindman said in prepared remarks. "Breast tissue is one of the tissues in the body known to be sensitive to developing cancer as a result of radiation exposure."
Nuclear medicine exams may also increase a patient’s breast cancer risk, the researchers noted.
CT uses a form of radiation to produce images of the body and nuclear medicine uses small amounts of radioactive material to help image internal organs.
"Until now, the impact of this increased use of imaging on radiation exposure to breast tissue and the subsequent risk of breast cancer has not been known," according to Smith-Bindman. "Our goal was to quantify imaging utilization and radiation exposure to the breast among women enrolled in an integrated healthcare delivery system and to use these data to determine the imaging-related risk of breast cancer from those studies."
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