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Exposure of patients to ionising radiation during lung cancer diagnostic work-up
  1. Robert C Rintoul1,
  2. Rachel Atherton2,
  3. Katharine Tweed3,
  4. Stuart Yates4,
  5. Edwin R Chilvers5
  1. RCR and RA are joint first author of this letter.
  2. 1 Department of Thoracic Oncology, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  3. 2 University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK
  4. 3 Department of Radiology, Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  5. 4 East Anglian Regional Radiation Protection Service, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  6. 5 Department of Medicine, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Robert C Rintoul, Department of Thoracic Oncology, Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge CB23 3RE, UK; Robert.rintoul{at}


We examined the dose of radiation received during diagnosis of lung cancer as this may add to the risk of a second primary cancer. Patients undergoing surgery (n=40) or (chemo)radiotherapy (n=40) received comparable doses (28.6 and 25.8 mSv, respectively), significantly higher than that for supportive care (n=40; 15.1 mSv). The effective dose of radiation received was higher for early stage disease than for those with metastatic disease. The mean lifetime attributable risk of malignancy for those receiving treatment with curative intent in our cohort was 0.059%, and lung-specific risk 0.019%.

  • Lung Cancer
  • Imaging/CT MRI etc

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  • Contributors The original project was conceived by ERC. All authors developed the methodology. RA and KT collected data which were analysed by RA, RCR and ERC. RCR produced the first draft of the manuscript which was reviewed and approved by all.

  • Funding RCR is part-funded by the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre and Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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