The risk of a single scan inducing a fatal cancer in children is 70 times greater than the risk of dying from a general anesthetic, warned a radiology expert, urging physicians to request a formal written consent from parents, before ordering their children's CT scan.

The recent national warning triggered by the Medicare watchdog is due to increasing rates of CT scan ordering by doctors. The alert, warned patients that they are exposed to higher risk of developing cancer through receiving CT scans for trivial complaints such as having a back pain.

Computer tomography (CT) utilizes hundreds of times more radiation than an X-ray. There is a suggestion based on statistical analysis that about 430 cancer fatalities per year may be triggered by ionizing radiation from both methods.

John de Campo, a radiology expert informed that the risks for cancer to develop for young people up to the age 20, from exposure to CT scans are higher that for adults, due to the rapidly dividing cells that are much more easily damaged, and also because the longer remaining years of life for the cancer to develop.

Professor de Campo of the faculty of medicine at the Bond University warned that CT body scans were so strong that 1 in every 500 babies, under the age of 12 months, subjected to the procedure, can be expected to develop a fatal cancer later in life, decreasing to I in every 800, if the scan received at 1 year of age.

The estimations were based on the analyses of the consequences of radiation triggered from the nuclear bomb blasts in Japan, back in 1945, compared with radiation from CT scans.

Since many patients and even doctors were mostly unaware of the risks posed by CT scans, Prof de Campo advised that informed consent, which is the formal explanation and acknowledgement of risks, done before surgery must become a routine.