Read Original Story

Are we overscanning?

Rating

4 Star

Are we overscanning?

Our Review Summary

CT scanning, among other imaging technologies, have revolutionized how we diagnose and monitor many diseases. However, ever expanding indications and uses for the technology has led to a dramatic increase in the number of scans performed every year, which has led some to wonder if it is now being overused and if the risk from exposure to radiation is worth the benefits. This story reports on a review article published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine on the state of the extent of the radiation exposure issue.

The story adequately describes the availability and novelty of CT scanning. It does not engage in disease mongering. The story does a good job of describing the risk from radiation exposure. The story could have mentioned other potential harm of overuse of the CT scans, such as overdiagnosis, incidental findings and the dangers of false-positive or false-negative results.

The story does not adequately describe the strength of the available evidence, nor does the story mention the cost of the scans, an important concern given how widespread and common they are. Finally, the story does not quantify the harms of radiation exposure. How many additional cases of cancer could be explained by the increase in CT scanning?

Criteria

Does the story adequately discuss the costs of the intervention?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not mention the cost of the scans, an important concern given how widespread and common they are.

Does the story adequately quantify the benefits of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not quantify the harms of radiation exposure. How many additional cases of cancer could be explained by the increase in CT scanning?

Does the story adequately explain/quantify the harms of the intervention?

Satisfactory

The story does a good job of describing the risk from radiation exposure. The story could have mentioned other potential harm of overuse of the CT scans, such as overdiagnosis, incidental findings and the dangers of false-positive or false-negative results.

Does the story seem to grasp the quality of the evidence?

Not Satisfactory

The story does not discuss the strength of the available evidence that CT scans raise the risk of cancer. The story refers to the article in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine, which is just a review article.

Does the story commit disease-mongering?

Satisfactory

No disease mongering.

Does the story use independent sources and identify conflicts of interest?

Satisfactory

The story quotes an independent expert in addition to the lead author of the new article.

Does the story compare the new approach with existing alternatives?

Satisfactory

The story mentions conventional X-rays, ultrasound and MRI as alternative technologies to CT scanning. The story could have provide more content on the pros and cons of the different approaches and could have mentioned that not all cases need to have imaging.

Does the story establish the availability of the treatment/test/product/procedure?

Satisfactory

By describing the CT scans as "routine", the story implies that CT scans are widely available.

Does the story establish the true novelty of the approach?

Satisfactory

The story indicates that CT scanning is not a new idea but that the utilization of the test has increased dramatically.

Does the story appear to rely solely or largely on a news release?

Satisfactory

The reporter covered the conference where the paper was presented.  He also interviewed an independent expert, so it’s safe to assume the story did not rely solely or largely on a news release.

Total Score: 7 of 10 Satisfactory

Comments

Please note, comments are no longer published through this website. All previously made comments are still archived and available for viewing through select posts.