A recent news report has revealed the danger surrounding the risk of developing cancer from CT scans is real. For some years, the medical community has fallen under scrutiny from various people in surrounding communities – including patients and folks in the complimentary and alternative health communities – about the dangers of excess radiation sourced from procedures and “routine” tests.
Medical professionals are now admitting that even more radiation is present in these procedures than previously believed. They report that as many as 29,000 Americans will develop cancer from CT scans done in 2007, and 15,000 of those will die.
Whether these numbers are actual or not reaffirms what some people have suspected all along – that the threat of exposure to radiation from CT scans and other related medical procedures is a direct cause of cancer.
Although CT scans provide doctors with what some believe is an unobstructed view inside the body and enables keen diagnostic technology, these machines performing the procedure emit radiation in order to supply doctors with results they seek. In some instances, the results yield no additional information and/or are deemed unnecessary.
The National Library of Medicine released an article on November 30 of this year showing the number of people who receive unnecessary scans on an annual basis – according to the study:
“978 CT abdominal and pelvic series were performed on 500 patients aged 9 months to 91 years. Most of the patients were 30 to 50 years of age. The researchers concluded that 35.3 percent of the CT series in 52.2 percent of the patients were unnecessary, according to American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria.”
In addition, the study found the following:
“Among the 500 patients in the study, the mean excess radiation dose per patient from unnecessary scans was 11.3 millisieverts. That’s equivalent to radiation exposure from 113 chest X-rays or three years of naturally occurring background radiation”.
Ever since I started becomig more aware of natural and organic foods and avoiding chemicals (about 10 years), I’ve also been wary of procedures like this. After my son was born and he became a toddler, everyone started asking why we weren’t taking him to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned, treated with fluoride, and x-rayed. I’d tell them he got his teeth late and was very squeamish about even brushing his teeth, but also that I just didn’t believe children needed to start going to the dentist that early and proper habits and dental hygiene at home were just fine. My parents who are very conventional about a lot of things, were actually about the only people who agreed with me.
Even before I understood the importance of traditional diets in the formation and maintenance of bone and teeth, I knew x-rays at the dentist’s office were not only unnecessary but that repeated exposure to radiation was harmful to health. Every time I declined the x-ray, my dentist would ask, “are you sure?” Radiation is cumulative, and something that doctors don’t readily admit to – they usually emphasize the “small” amount of radiation to which you are being exposed versus how invaluable the information they can gather from the x-ray is.
But just consider how much radiation and other harmful waves we really are exposed to on a daily basis: cosmic rays from outer space, from all types of household appliances, from clock radios to microwaves, to eletro-magnetic waves from telephone wires, radio waves, television and satellite waves, computer and monitor equipment, wireless devices, and the ever-present cell-phone risk. You don’t even have to own a cell phone or use one to be exposed to the radiation from these devices.
The amounts of radiation from an x-ray at the dentist may seem insignificant alone – but when you add in all the other sources of radiation and electromagnetic frequencies we are exposed to, it’s a monumental amount. And even if you don’t have a precise tally of how much radiation is deadly to receive – which might be impossible – it’s pretty difficult to refute that we are exposed to more than our fair share of it in our natural environments – without having any medical procedures done.
About a year and half ago after we had gone out to dinner and were driving home, my husband started complaining of a pain in his lower right side. Having had acute appendicitis during pregnancy, I was sensitive to this issue and asked how long he’d had the pain. He said it had been coming and going for a few days but now was really bothering him.
After we arrived home the pain worsened, so we decided to go into the E.R. I knew that eating real food and living healthy as we had been doing for at least a few years should help to prevent something like this from happening – but our bad habits had gone on for much longer than our recent change in lifestyle – and maybe it had finally caught up with him.
We spent the entire rest of the night at the hospital. My husband underwent various tests – including a CT scan. After everything was concluded, the doctors could find no cause for his pain. They wanted to prescribe pain medication and recommended he watch himself and call them if things got worse again or changed. I was worried about the CT scan even before they did it – my concern about radiation, which I expressed to the doctor on call – was met with a statement that it simply wasn’t an issue. But I knew better and let them know it. My husband thought it was okay since he was in such pain and “wanted to get to the bottom of what was causing it”.
Healthy lifestyles can prevent illness
After no further information was gathered from this test, I knew in my heart that this was a digestive issue we would have to sort out with detoxification, sticking to a healthy diet, and exercise. Also, my next door neighbor is a nutritional therapist and my husband had been putting off making an appointment with her to get his digestion straightened out anyway.
He finally admitted that he did need to go and see her to try and get his health back on track. It’s been over a year now since that incident. My husband followed our neighbor’s (and my) advice, and treated it with food and whole food supplementation, as well as detoxification activities. Although he’s still on the road to “full recovery” as I call it (sometimes he’s stubborn and eats things he shouldn’t), he’s doing fine and hasn’t had any recurrence in the pain.
Something else which was reaffirmed to me after our visit to the hospital is that the increase in medical procedures, prescription drugs, and disease in America is directly attributed to the way people in our culture eat – processed, industrially-produced, chemically-laden, and toxic foods. The way we eat and live only adds to our trips to the hospital and the amount of procedures performed like x-rays, CT scans, prescription drug use, and the amount of overall chronic illness we experience, which is exacerbated by more of the same.
Now, I’m not stating that CT scans are absolutely unnecessary in all cases, and that their use should be discontinued. The main concern is that these and other procedures are overused – much like antibiotics. When it becomes so routine to employ a procedure or drug to determine the cause of a problem, it behooves patients to be more cautious and do their own research – and to not just blindly accept a recommendation by a medical professional simply because it’s the most commonly done thing. I think it’s also important the acknowledge that a healthy lifestyle including minimizing exposure to toxins, radiation, and eating real food can go a long way toward keeping people out of the hospital and undergoing costly, unnecessary, and deadly procedures.
Another recent development in the mainstream medical community is that mammograms, another procedure using radiation, are now being cautioned for use until women are over the age of 50 due to the same risk – overexposure to radiation. To read more about the risks of mammography, read To Mammogram or Not.