Is my job safe?: Radiology

Scanning The Future, Radiologists See Their Jobs At Risk
September 4, 2017


What Parts Of The Workforce Might Be Safe From Robots?
September 4, 2017

SHAPIRO: What do you see as the sector of the workforce that is least likely to change or least likely to disappear?

BRYNJOLFSSON: Well, there are three big categories that machines are really bad at. They’ve made tremendous advances, but they’re bad at first off doing creative work. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a scientist or a novelist, I think you’re in pretty good shape doing that long-range creativity. The second big category is interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence, people who are coaches or salespeople or negotiators or caregivers.
And the third one is actually manual dexterity and physical mobility. Machines have a hard time doing simple things like picking up a nickel or walking up stairs or clearing a table.


There is wide variation in density assessment

Variation in Mammographic Breast Density Assessments Among Radiologists in Clinical Practice: A Multicenter Observational Study
Ann Intern Med.  Published online 19 July 2016
Brian L. Sprague, PhD, et al.

Conclusion: There is wide variation in density assessment across radiologists that should be carefully considered by providers and policymakers when considering supplemental screening strategies. The likelihood of a woman being told she has dense breasts varies substantially according to which radiologist interprets her mammogram.

CT Scans & Kid’s risk for cancer

The Use of Computed Tomography in Pediatrics and the Associated Radiation Exposure and Estimated Cancer Risk
Diana L. Miglioretti, PhD, et al.
JAMA Pediatr. 2013;167(8):700-707.

Importance  Increased use of computed tomography (CT) in pediatrics raises concerns about cancer risk from exposure to ionizing radiation.

Objectives  To quantify trends in the use of CT in pediatrics and the associated radiation exposure and cancer risk.

Participants  The use of CT was evaluated for children younger than 15 years of age from 1996 to 2010, including 4 857 736 child-years of observation. Radiation doses were calculated for 744 CT scans performed between 2001 and 2011.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Rates of CT use, organ and effective doses, and projected lifetime attributable risks of cancer.

Results  The use of CT doubled for children younger than 5 years of age and tripled for children 5 to 14 years of age between 1996 and 2005, remained stable between 2006 and 2007, and then began to decline. Effective doses varied from 0.03 to 69.2 mSv per scan. An effective dose of 20 mSv or higher was delivered by 14% to 25% of abdomen/pelvis scans, 6% to 14% of spine scans, and 3% to 8% of chest scans. Projected lifetime attributable risks of solid cancer were higher for younger patients and girls than for older patients and boys, and they were also higher for patients who underwent CT scans of the abdomen/pelvis or spine than for patients who underwent other types of CT scans. For girls, a radiation-induced solid cancer is projected to result from every 300 to 390 abdomen/pelvis scans, 330 to 480 chest scans, and 270 to 800 spine scans, depending on age. The risk of leukemia was highest from head scans for children younger than 5 years of age at a rate of 1.9 cases per 10 000 CT scans. Nationally, 4 million pediatric CT scans of the head, abdomen/pelvis, chest, or spine performed each year are projected to cause 4870 future cancers. Reducing the highest 25% of doses to the median might prevent 43% of these cancers.

Conclusions and Relevance  The increased use of CT in pediatrics, combined with the wide variability in radiation doses, has resulted in many children receiving a high-dose examination. Dose-reduction strategies targeted to the highest quartile of doses could dramatically reduce the number of radiation-induced cancers.

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