SIDEBAR: Unique Considerations for Radiation Exposure in Children

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There are three “unique considerations” for radiation exposure in children, according to Radiation Risks and Pediatric Computed Tomography (CT): A Guide for Health Care Providers, an educational leaflet for health-care providers that was developed by the NCI:

  • Children are considerably more sensitive to radiation than adults, as demonstrated in epidemiologic studies of exposed populations.
  • Children have a longer life expectancy than adults, resulting in a larger window of opportunity for expressing radiation damage.
  • Children may receive a higher radiation dose than necessary if CT settings are not adjusted for their smaller body size.

“As a result,” the NCI press release continues, “the risk for developing a radiation-related cancer can be several times higher for a young child compared with an adult exposed to an identical CT scan.” ■

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