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How safe are CT Scans -- I have had six this year alone.

CessnaFlyer's picture
Posts: 110
Joined: Aug 2009

In the past year I have had six CT scans with contrast and I'm having another one tomorrow. I feel like I'm going to start glowing in the dark. My doctor says the radiation from one CT scan is equal to one day at the beach, but I have to wonder if this is true and how much radiation I'm getting from all these scans. Does anyone know?

tiny one
Posts: 467
Joined: Jan 2009

I wonder too how safe these scans are. I'm going to ask my oncologist about this. I don't like having the one I get for now once a year. I don't feel well for at least a day after they do mine. I also wonder just how accurate these scans are. They are very expensive also. Why is your Doctor having you have scans this frequent? Would a doctor still treat us if we refused to be scanned every year?

maglets's picture
Posts: 2589
Joined: Jun 2006

Hi Cessna...i am not nearly as savy as many people on this forum and I don't know stats so I'll just tell you what has been happening lately in my treatment about the scans. I have been in various treatments for five years. This year my onc had me on the 3 month for ct scans after two liver reoccurs. she said she was getting worried about radiation so rather than an abdominal scan they would just do liver. Then I saw my liver surgeon and he said....No too much and he put me on six months with CEA every three months. I talked to a radiologist and he said imaging has no control over the number of scans ....it is the oncs who order them. He felt maybe I was getting too many but he wasn't prepared to really come out and say this. So 6 months for me unless the CEA is up


PhillieG's picture
Posts: 4870
Joined: May 2005

But what I do know is cancer can kill you.

I've had probably 30+ so far...

lesvanb's picture
Posts: 911
Joined: May 2008


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

My brother-in-law suffered badly in a high speed head-on collision
and required many CT and MRI scans.

Aside from the danger of radiation, the risk of renal failure from
the contrast used, should be noted.

My Bro-in-law ended up on dialysis for quite some time, and
for awhile it didn't look too good; all from the contrast used.

PET scans, with the radioactive glucose is great too.....

Gotta' love it all.

maglets's picture
Posts: 2589
Joined: Jun 2006

yikes I have never heard that! do i want to hear that :0)


John23's picture
Posts: 2140
Joined: Jan 2007

Don't go gettin' all scared now... The doc doesn't want to lose
his Lexus...err... patients.. He'll try not to do you in too quick!

Seriously, the contrast can be a problem, if you get too much
of the wrong one over too little of a time span. I've had Cats
and MRIs one after another and it certainly didn't affect me.
I've had Cats and MRIs one after another and it certainly didn't
affect me. I've had Cats and MRIs one after another and it
certainly didn't affect me.

Ask your doc. Tell him that you're concerned and worried,
and your attorney would like something in writing.

Ask. See what the doc says, and don't worry about it. It's
probably the least of the worries for any of us.

Posts: 21
Joined: Mar 2008

I was diagnosed with rectal cancer February 2008 and have had a scan every six months due to a spot on my liver and adrenal gland. My doctor said I was getting too much radiation and I will have an ultrasound done on my liver in February instead. It sounds like a lot to me but I'm not a doctor. You may want to ask yours.

lisa42's picture
Posts: 3661
Joined: Jul 2008


I hate to even try to add up all the scans I've had. It's been many, many. The first six months I did chemo (Folfox/Avastin), I was scanned every 6 weeks to check on progress. We alternated a CT one time, then a PET the next time. I continued getting them every 3 months after that, but then started chemo again- back to every 6 weeks. Had another scan break while on maintenance, but started up chemo again & have had a PET this time, every 6-8 weeks, Plus, I've had a couple of MRI's, bone scans, and a couple of extra scans right before in my liver surgery when the first set they did didn't come out dark enough to see & they had to redo them just a week later. Then, of course, there was the 6 weeks of pelvic radiation. Ughh! It does scare me to, but I guess it's the only way for them to really know what's going on inside.
MRI's are supposed to be good for viewing the liver and they don't give you any radiation- it's all sound waves. Lungs, however, don't show up well on an MRI, so a CT is preferred for them (so my onc. tells me, anyhow).


mcsauder's picture
Posts: 68
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi CessnaFlyer
I don't know if this will help you but this is what went on with me
in the last 6 mouths I have had about 7 scans like PET scans, CT scans and something to do with a liver scan
They tell me that I have bigger things to be concern about
I have a friend that's a school teacher and she did some research for me and she said the same thing that I should be taking care of myself and let the other stuff up to the Dr. I hope that this will help you

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