April30R

Radiation Fear from CT Scans

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Hi all,

So I am a 30-year-old female. I had a head CT scan when I was 12-years-old, and I just recently had a neck CT scan with contrast. I was not informed of the radiation risks from CT scans, and now I am freaking out (especially since the thyroid is very sensitive to radiation in younger females). I am now scared that I am going to develop something like thyroid cancer down the road. And the unfortunate thing is that the neck CT scan was not 100% warranted. MRI or fine needle aspiration could have been used instead. It makes me feel sick to my stomach that I exposed my body to this, and now I am having terrible fears of not being there for my future children because of a stupid decision I made. I am even having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. This feeling is truly awful.

Has anyone else had CT scans and worries about this type of thing?

Does anyone have any insight on how to ease my mind?

I would appreciate the help. Thank you!

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Hi April. Welcome to AC.  Every day thousands of people have CT scans and do you honestly think that the medics would do that if any real harm could come from it? Of course, having many X-rays and scans over the years may, I emphasis may, have some effect, but it is never a real issue. You have fastened on this idea of harm coming to you and your mind is running away with it. YOU ARE SCARING YOURSELF!!  I have had many scans and am still here to tell the tale. If you are concerned about infertility because of scans you can rest your mind. It is very very rare for any effects from scans to affect that. Have you been Googling? Big mistake!!! It just feeds your anxiety. When you open a pack of medication there is a long list of side effects that could occur. Now this puts many people off taking medication. The reason they do this is because they have to ,list any untoward effects, even minor ones. A person with anxiety will look at the list and be so afraid to take the medication. It's like that with scans and Googling. You must be guided by your medical advisors, not Dr. Google!!  HE doesn't know you, and in medicine every person is different and will react differently. You will be fine if you accept that you are OK and that any medical procedure carried out by competent people can only be there to help not harm.

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Hi jonathan123,

Thank you for your reply.  I have moments of feeling like I am being irrational about this, but then I have moments of pure panic.  I don't smoke, drink, or do drugs, and I try to eat healthy and exercise, so I guess you could say that I am very conscious about keeping my risks to a minimum.

The doctor never informed me of the risks of the scan, so on top of having this fear, I am upset with the doctor and also upset with myself for not looking into it.  Other modalities could have been used instead of a CT scan, so that just adds to the frustration.  I wish someone could tell me that I didn't do anything wrong, and that this will not cause any harm, but no one knows for sure about the effects/risks of CT scans.  I just wish I could undo it 😞

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Hi April. Your doctor did not inform you of the risks because they are minimal. Life is a risk. When we cross the street it's a risk. When we take any medication it's a risk. You did nothing wrong because you followed your doctor's advice. You are beating yourself up unnecessarily. One test with a CT scan is going to make no difference to you. When X-rays came in everyone was afraid the rays would cause harm. Nowadays millions of X-rays are done daily. Actually, and this is a fact, there are more harmful rays from the sun that any form of medical treatment. From the ultra violet to the infra red the rays are all harmful if we have too much of them. We all know the results of laying in the sun with no protection. But if we concerned ourselves with this and became anxious, we would only go out on cloudy days!!! Which would make no difference because the harmful rays can penetrate cloud. Nature has given us protection if we are sensible. You say no one seems sure about the effects of CT scans. They do you know, and many medics have given reassurance to many people. You are obviously a sensible person, so just keep to your regular routine.

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And purely as a matter of interest, did you know your luminous watch gives off harmful rays, as do luminous clocks. I hope this puts it all in perspective. 

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There is nothing to worry about with CT scans, especially if you only had one.  If you had fifty in a row, then I'd scream lol.

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Yes Ironman. I would suggest that after fifty scans you would be well spaced out!!!!!🤣🤣 But only having one is no cause for alarm. 

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I've actually had two scans... A head CT scan at age 12, and then a neck CT scan recently (age 30).  I just keep telling myself that these two scans are essentially like one considering that they are both smaller areas with lower doses than other areas (i.e. these two scans combined are probably less of a dose than one chest CT scan).  -Whatever I can do to lessen my anxiety, right?  Lol.

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Yes, April, but you are dwelling on it. If you did not have any effects when you were 12 why would you have them now? When we are in an anxiety state reason and logic fly out of the window! But the facts still remain in spite of that. And the fact is that nothing will harm you unless you believe it will. That is what anxiety is all about. The mind!! Chase these foreboding thoughts out of your mind. They are bluffing and fooling you into a false belief. 

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23 hours ago, April30R said:

I've actually had two scans... A head CT scan at age 12, and then a neck CT scan recently (age 30).  I just keep telling myself that these two scans are essentially like one considering that they are both smaller areas with lower doses than other areas (i.e. these two scans combined are probably less of a dose than one chest CT scan).  -Whatever I can do to lessen my anxiety, right?  Lol.

You are actually way overthinking things.  My CT scan was five years ago - to determine if I had had a hemorrhagic stroke.  Nope.  It was an eye hemorrhage due to pressure from a severe sinus infection from a bad electronic air purifier.    The biggest headache I got from that - was knowing that it cost my insurance $1,500!  I ended up paying about 20% of the $10,000 I incurred for three trips to the ER in a week.  I have no effect from CT scans....and I can see out of the eye that gave me problems -> an eye doctor told me that I had severe macular degeneration and would be permanently blinded in the one eye.    That's scarier than any CT scan!

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I had a thoracic CT scan 15 years ago and it's caused me no problems. I still wish I hadn't had it though as in hindsight I now know that it was my HA that made me push for it. 

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