Expert alert: Are CT scans safe?

With questions lingering about the safety of medical imaging and the radiation that is used in some of those tests, Mayo Clinic radiation safety expert Cynthia McCollough, Ph.D., wrote a paper that provides clear answers that she hopes will allay patients’ fears.

Dr. McCollough wrote “Answers to Common Questions About the Use and Safety of CT Scans,” which was published Oct. 1 in Mayo Clinic Proceedings as a Q&A in an effort to provide credible, balanced information about how much radiation a CT scan delivers and what levels are considered safe.

So, are CT scans safe? Yes, says Dr. McCollough.

Patients can get a prescribed CT scan without worrying, Dr. McCollough says. “Radiation has a bad rap. The Incredible Hulk and Spider Man were mutants created from some radiation exposure; that’s science fiction. The truth is we are all exposed to radiation every day of our lives, with no evidence that those low doses cause any long-term harm.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Ethan Grove, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, email:


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