Radiation free scan could protect child patients from secondary cancer
A form of MRI scan could be a safer alternative to F-FDG PET/CT scans which do not expose child patients to dangerously high ionising radiation levels, a study has said.
CT and radiotracer-based imaging techniques expose the human body to ionising radiation, leading to a substantially higher risk of contracting secondary cancer in later life.
Researchers from the Department of Radiology Molecular Imaging Program at Stanford compared outcomes of these scans with whole-body diffusion-weighted MRI outcomes in children with malignant lymphomas and sarcomas.
Published in The Lancet, it was found that patients who underwent a CT scan were exposed to a mean of 12·5 sieverts (mSv), compared to zero for the MRI scan group.
Exposure to radiation at this level as a child is highly carcinogenic, associated with a tripling of lifetime cancer risk.
The scanning types detected 163 and 158 out of 174 malignant legions respectively, a statistically similar result. CT scans were slightly more sensitive, at 93.7 per cent compared to 90.8 per cent.
The MRI scans, however, which used the iron supplement ferumoxytol as a contrast agent, delivered no adverse side affects after treatment.
The researchers hope that the imaging test may be found to prevent long-term side effects normally associated with scans.
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