I was talking to a friend and mentioned I had a nuclear stress test and abdom/pelvic Ct in the last couple of weeks. He was astonished and expressed great concern. I sat down and looked the screenings I've had over the last 5 years. That makes a total of 1-CT Chest, 1-CT Chest(PE), 2-CT Abdom/pelvic, 2-stress test (Technetium), upper gi and gallbladder HIDA; which includes the aforemented. Also, I've probably had 8-10 regular chest x rays.
I am 45 right now, non smoker, fairly healthy other than being heavy. I really thought I was doing good because I heard early detection is the best prevention and never question any of these procedures.
First, all this was over a 5 year period. As a nurse, I have had patients have as many scans as you had in a 6 month to year time period and no cancer though their risk of radiation overexposure in a short period of time was higher than yours. Now, if you had all these CTs in one month, six months or in a year, then you should be concerned.
You have had 4 CTs over a 5 year period. The other scans are not so significant in regards to radiation overexposure risks as the CTs. I wouldn't be concerned about this.
Why so many scans may I ask? Screenings usually don't involved this many scans. If there is an actual problem or complaint, yes you can have this many scans. I don't see this many scans being necessary for screening purposes.
Is this something you read or something a friend stated? What websites?
There are alot more chemicals in our food and air that increases our chances of getting cancer vs. imaging exposures.
I always tell my patients you can always say "no" to any imaging, procedure, etc. if you don't feel comfortable doing it or talk with your ordering physician thouroughly before commiting to any ordered tests/imagining.
A couple of reasons for the scans; they did the upper GI and abdom/Pelvi before realizing I am lactose intolerant. I was always going in complaining of stomach pains etc. Half are due to health anxiety issues. I was diagnosed with a soft tissue sarcoma at 41, which kicked up my anxiety. So several xrays and a chest CT are do to monitoring that. I had 2 nuclear stress test because of chest pains. Finally I went to the ER last week due to stomach pain, but honestly, I think it was mostly anxiety.
I am totally shocked and suprised NOBODY ever mentioned the potential risk involved or I would have run out the door on half of them. I do not understand why other options were not offered, ultrasound etc. I realize part of this is my own making due to anxieties, but I really feel like I wasn't adequately informed either.
Is there anything that can be done to mitigate any future adverse illness. Should I take antioxidents etc.
I feel so stupid, embarassed and defeated. I always was relived to get results back thinking that early detection was one of the keys to fighting cancer and now I've done something to jeopardize my future health
Well, I wouldn't consider any of this imaging screening, but more monitoring/follow-up and diagnosing.
Depending on what a physician is looking for/investigating will depend on the type of imaging that is best. So, in other words, CT imaging is the best imaging in some situations.
ER visits, going to this physician and that physician it might not be realized you have gotten all these scans done. In the future, be sure to notify whom ever about all the scans you have had in the past.
Like I stated, I wouldn't be concern about this. Please get your anxiety under control and there is NO need for any recommended antioxidents, etc.
Don't feel stupid, embarrassed, etc.;I wouldn't obsess over it.
The more I look into this the more confused I get. I am sure you are correct and I will be certain to update my primary care physician with all of my tests. I will also discuss with my Oncology doctor.
I am disgusted it took me this long to recognize the risk with the CT. I knew it was more than an Xray, but also believed the xray dose to be innocuous.
The increase in risk from these tests needs to be taken into account with some statistics. If a test increases your risk of something by 100% (which sounds a lot and the tests you have had in no way increase your risk that much) it means that if the general population has a 1% chance of getting it in a lifetime whereas you have a 2% chance in a lifetime ie still a 98% chance of never getting it in a lifetime.
Life is for enjoying. We all take risks every day. We drive in cars, we cross roads with our i-pods, we sunbathe, we eat bad food, we drink a glass of wine. This is just another risk you have taken, weighed up against the positives of reducing your anxiety. The real issue is whether those tests truly did reduce your health anxiety (I suspect not). That also needs to be treated, through self-help measures or medication. No point in being well/healthy if you are too anxious to enjoy it.
Sorry about your diagnosis though. That must be tough. Take care.
I really appreciate you weighing in on my concern. I have seen stats which state I've raised my risk of cancer as high as 2-7% or as low as .7%. I am getting totally confused as there is a ton of info on the web, but it very often conflicts with itself.
Are you referencing something that is reliable? Can you please share?
Also, I realize now that my health anxiety is beyond my ability to control and i am seeking help. Thanks again for your comments and suggestions.
I was just giving an example only. I have done a small amount of reading and it might be as low as 0.02-0.04% per CAT scan. So for your 4 it is still only 0.04 times 4 or 0.16% which is tiny. That was from a study in 2010. Even at the worst case scenario that you have quoted it is still a 93% chance of not getting cancer from your scans. Even then what's done is done and time to try to forget about it and move on.
I am 17 years old. and since the very end of may of 2012 i have had ATLEAST 8 CT scans done and ATLEAST 7 Xrays done as well as an upper GI series. i was told by a doctor today that that much radiation puts me at risk for Leukemia and Lymphoma. I was wondering if i should be concerned?
also, i have dropped over 20 lbs since the summer,, decreased appetite, fatigue persistent low grade fever (99.5-100 about) and just yesterday my inner bone in my hip has been hurting. should i be concerned?
please get back to me soon!
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