In addition, the radiation doses contained in the CT scans can be especially harmful to people suffering from certain types of diseases, such as lung cancer, and they can be especially harmful to children, as well, so they are not recommended annually in these cases. Dr. Dehn continues, “[R]adiation exposure from CT scans should be taken into account, since a whole-body scan will expose the patient to a dose of radiation equivalent to 500 chest x-rays” (Dehn). Thus, annual whole body CT scans could put people at risk of many other problems from radiation, which would far outweigh the benefits of getting a whole body scan each year.
Finally, whole body CT scans can lead to two types of misdiagnosis, “(1) not diagnosing treatable disease that is present and (2) the detection of disease that is not present” (Dehn). This could lead to additional unnecessary tests to verify the diagnosis, and could also lead to additional pain and anguish for a patient who had to undergo additional tests that ultimately were proven unnecessary.
This could also lead to increased health care costs, on top of the costly whole body scans themselves.
In conclusion, whole body CT scans are an excellent idea for diagnosing overall good health, and early detection of at least some serious diseases. However, at present, they are costly, produce too much radiation, and can lead to false diagnosis. The FDA does not approve of whole body scans for these reasons. It is likely that technology will improve in the future, and whole body CT scans will become more safe and effective. At that time, insurance companies may choose to require these scans for patients as a preventative measure during annual physical exams, but until then, it is not a good idea to use these whole body scans as part of annual exams.
Dehn, Richard. “Are Whole-Body Scans Useful as a Screening Tool?” Medscape.com. 2004. 7 Feb. 2008. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/441566
Editors. “Whole Body Scanning.” FDA.gov. 2005. 7 Feb. 2008. http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ct/.