Radiation Risk Associated with Lung Cancer Screening

  • Cornelia Schaefer-Prokop
  • Krijn van Muiswinkel
  • Mathias Prokop
Part of the Medical Radiology book series (MEDRAD)


Computed tomographic (CT) cancer screening has seen a steady increase in interest with the introduction of multislice CT scanners. The recent publication of the US National lung screening trial has proven a statistically significant reduction of cancer-related mortality and has boosted the discussion about the usefulness of introducing population-wide screening for lung cancer. While the potential benefits of screening are obvious, radiation dose may pose a long-term risk for the screened individual. This article describes the basis for radiation risk estimation and discusses the current dose controversy with special emphasis on CT screening for lung cancer. While there is no and probably never will be epidemiologic evidence for cancer induction in the dose range used for a single lung cancer screening examination, a non-negligible population risk cannot be ruled out considering the current evidence. Precise predictions of cancer risks are difficult because they depend heavily on the underlying statistical or radiobiologic model. While the risk of most radiation-induced cancers decreases with age, the relative risk of radiation-induced lung cancer peaks in the time interval between 40 and 70 years of age. However, if performed in a dose-conscious fashion, individual risks of lung cancer screening are very small and far outweighed by the published benefits of screening.


Compute Tomographic Colonography Cancer Detection Rate Excess Relative Risk Lung Cancer Screening Colon Cancer Screening 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cornelia Schaefer-Prokop
    • 1
    • 2
  • Krijn van Muiswinkel
    • 1
  • Mathias Prokop
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMeander Medical Center AmersfoortAmersfoortThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Radiology, Diagnostic Image Analysis GroupUniversity Hospital Nijmegen, St RadboudNijmegenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital Nijmegen, St RadboudNijmegenThe Netherlands

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