A computed tomography (CT) scan uses a combination of computer-processed X-ray measurements that have been taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional slices of the body, allowing professionals to see the insides without cutting. To generate a three-dimensional volume of the object being scanned, digital geometry processing is used to form the image from multiple two-dimensional radiographic images.
CT scans can be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The data produced can be manipulated to demonstrate the different structures depending on their ability to absorb the beams. Besides the medical field, CT scans are also used in archeology and other fields. Those who perform CT scans are either radiologic technologists or radiographers.
The use of CT scans has increased significantly over the last 20 years. In the United States, about 72 million CT scans were performed in 2007 with more than 80 million in 2015. The number of CT scans performed is increasing. However, there can be side effects and 10 of these side effects are listed below.
Side Effect #1: Cancer
Cancer refers to a group of diseases where there is abnormal cell growth that has the potential to invade surrounding structures or spread to other parts of the body. The signs and symptoms for cancer varies depending on the location and stage of the disease. Some general symptoms include a lump, weight loss, decreased appetite, abnormal bleeding, and prolonged cough.
One major risk factor for cancer is tobacco smoking. Others include poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, excessive consumption of alcohol, exposure to infections, radiation, and pollutants. In CT scans, the radiation can cause damage to the cells, which may lead to cancer. CT scans can have 100 to 1,000 times more radiation compared to conventional X-rays. However, the doses of radiation are low, and scans should be done when necessary.