Computer aided tomography(CAT or CT scan) – also called, as whole body scanning has become a popular diagnostic tool in the last few years. The technique is especially useful in detecting those diseases for which symptoms may not be very clear, and the doctor has difficulty in identifying the disease. Its use increased as doctors felt that it can detect many hidden diseases, which may go unnoticed by routine examinations and tests done on the patient. The technique has been particularly helpful in diagnosing dreaded diseases such as cancer. Lately, it has also been used on normal healthy people, as a routine check up, and for many other diseases for which other tests are available.
Recent reports say that frequent use of CT screening is risky for healthy people. The technique uses X rays to peep into the patients bodies. Exposing our bodies to X rays is not harmful if it is done once in a way. But if the body is exposed to X rays repeatedly the person has a risk of developing some problems. Many patients go through these tests several times, and scientists feel that exposure to the X rays in these tests is in amounts that can cause harm.
Moreover these tests are very expensive. Scientists are now debating whether such expensive tests are really necessary compared to the harm they may cause the patient. It may be appropriate to use the test only where a patient may really benefit from the use of the scan, such as patients suffering from cancer. A cost benefit analysis of the situation has to be done before a patient is subjected to such tests.