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Avatar universal

Should I be worried about radiation exposure?

Hello,

I've had health issues (which I'm not going to get into here--but it's not cancer) over the last few years which has required me to get five CT scans over the course of three years.

I had an abdomen and pelvic CT scan, a brain CT scan, and a chest CT scan in 2017.
I had a neck CT scan in 2019.
And I recently had an abdomen and pelvic CT scan this year.

I'm 25 years old and my first CT scan was when I was 22. SHOULD I BE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING CANCER? I've just recently learned of the risks and now I feel sort of doomed. Doctors never explained this to me, and now I'm freaking out. Can anyone offer me advice and/or explain the cancer risk of the amount of CT scans I've received?
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Avatar universal
I think feeling doomed would be a bit of an overreaction. You cannot change the past and have to take everything into context. If your doctors felt the tests were necessary and the benefits outweighed the risks, then you should have no regrets getting the CTs, as they ruled out potentially acute and serious pathologies in a prompt and timely fashion. If this was just a one-time health scare, then I would not worry too much about it. However, if you have a chronic condition that requires getting repeated periodic imaging for the rest of your life, consider inquiring if there are other alternative modalities without radiation such as MRI that can answer the clinical question just as well as CT. For example, patients with chronic inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's can get MRI instead of CT enterography to assess for flares. There are pros and cons to every imaging modality. Sometimes CT is still better for certain indications, but it does not hurt to ask!
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