Consumer article spotlights CT rad-dose divide

The debate over CT radiation dose communications—does discussing the matter with patients lead them to make informed decisions or scare them away from tests they may need?—is just one part of a broader discussion on dose getting a wide national airing in the mainstream press.

The article, jointly published Jan. 6 by The Washington Post and Kaiser Health News, has as a lead source Rebecca Smith-Bindman, MD, director of UC-San Francisco’s Radiology Outcomes Research Lab (whose latest scholarly commentary on the subject at hand is just out).

“There’s no standardization of how these exams get conducted,” Smith-Bindman says in the article. “There’s no oversight and no one’s responsible for this.”

Smith-Bindman tells how she recently spoke to a group of 300 radiology technologists and was “dumbfounded” by their questions.

“How do I pick a dose?” one attendee asked before explaining that she came up with her facility’s CT protocol, evidently with no input from a radiologist.

Another attendee told Smith-Bindman that, when it comes to monitoring radiation doses in her hospital, “no one cares.”

On the other side of the split, Scott Berger, MD, PhD, director of neuroradiology at the Mount Kisco Medical Group in New York, is among those saying the worries are overblown.

“The risk of dying from a cancer that is not detected is thousands of times greater than” from radiation, Berger says. “These tests are lifesaving, they are great for patients.”

Read the whole thing.