Harvard Men's Health Watch

Do CT scans cause cancer?

CT scanning is very valuable for diagnosing disease and also screening for certain health conditions in otherwise healthy people. But the radiation from CT scanning also carries a small risk of causing cancer over a lifetime of exposure. The lifetime risk from typical CT scan exposure is small for older adults sue to the long time it takes cancer to develop. The risks for younger adults and especially children are higher. At any age, it is a good idea to limit CT scans to what you need and to consider alternatives, such as MRI and ultrasound.
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