23 Sep CT Radiation Doses for Lung Cancer Screening Vary Widely
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joshua Demb, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Scholar, Moores Cancer Center
University of California, San Diego
Health Science Research Specialist
Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Our study leveraged radiation dose data from 72 facilities performing CT scans around the United States to learn more about the radiation dose used for lung cancer screening scans, as well as possible institutional predictors that might be associated with higher dose. Currently, the American College of Radiology has recommendations for how these low-dose lung cancer screening scans should be performed. However, it is unclear how much adherence there currently is to these guidelines.
Our findings indicated that there is wide variation in the distribution of radiation doses for low-dose lung cancer screening scans both within- and between facilities in our sample—in some cases this variation led to doses higher than the ACR recommendations.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response:These findings underscore a need to better understand why so much variation in radiation dose currently exists for low-dose lung cancer screening scans. Our study sought to investigate some potentially associated institutional predictors of these doses, but this is only the first step. More research is needed to identify correlates with higher doses, and then develop interventions to optimize or even standardize practice—addressing these potential correlates—to ensure that variation is minimized, or that unnecessarily high doses are avoided.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: I think future research should focus on understanding why this variation might exist. Given the ACR guidelines and the promotion of performing CT scans using the “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principle, we need to ensure that we are maximizing the potential benefits conferred from undergoing low-dose lung cancer screening, and not unknowingly limiting these benefits due to a lack of more standardized or optimized scan protocols.
No conflicts of interest
Demb J, Chu P, Yu S, et al. Analysis of Computed Tomography Radiation Doses Used for Lung Cancer Screening Scans. JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 23, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.3893
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