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The Cancer in Pregnancy ForumArchived Questions and Answers
This Forum has been the centre of an exceptional exchange of knowledge diagnosis, treatment, symptoms and other effects of cancer during pregnancy and lactation. All are welcome to review the Questions and Answers posted here, provided that they acknowledge and accept the important proviso and disclaimer below.
My partner who is 23 weeks pregnant, had an accident and had to have her head cat-scanned for fractures. It turned out that she's ok but now we're really worried. What's the risk of damage to the growing baby?
Consult your physician. The following information should not replace the assessment and advice you have been receiving from your physician (cancer specialist, obstetrician, or any other healthcare provider). It is offered for your information only.
When evaluating the risk of malformations due to exposure to radiation the dose of radiation received is very important. As a general rule, radiation exposure less than 5 Rads (Radiation Absorbed Dose) is not considered to have negative effects. Scattered radiation to the ovaries during a CAT scan to the head measures less than 1 millirad (or 0.001 Rads) per single scan, which is well below the 5 Rad cutoff (Maternal-Fetal Toxicology A Clinician? Guide, 3rd edition, 2001). The higher risk of in utero radiation is during the first trimester. Risk in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters is much diminished. In the case of this CAT scan-it is probably not higher than the baseline risk in any pregnancy.