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Diagnostic imaging procedures may heighten cancer risk in children

There’s new information out about an increase in the number of diagnostic imaging procedures used on children. Some of those tests use radiation and that’s something experts are keeping an eye on.
(ABC) -- There’s new information out about an increase in the number of diagnostic imaging procedures used on children. Some of those tests use radiation and that’s something experts are keeping an eye on.

Doctors often use imaging procedures to look inside our bodies for diseases, including X-rays, ultrasound, CT and MRI scans.

A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds doctors ordering more Diagnostic Imaging Procedures, or DIPs, for children.

In reviewing 195,000 kids, one in three had an imaging procedure done between 2001 and 2009. Procedures like X-rays and CT scans that use radiation on children have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, though experts disagree on whether they actually contribute to cancer.

The study found that the proportion of higher radiation procedures is increasing.

Older children in hospitals or emergency rooms with trauma, head injury, headache and abdominal problems are more likely to get higher radiation imaging than other children.

The authors say MRIs and ultra-sounds, which are non-radiation procedures, are acceptable alternatives for some ailments.

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