Radiation doses originating from diagnostic procedures during the treatment and follow-up of children and adolescents with malignant lymphoma
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Children with malignant lymphoma undergo many diagnostic procedures that involve exposure to ionising radiation. In addition, many, but by no means all, undergo further exposure to ionising radiation during radiotherapy. While therapeutic radiation exposures are prescribed, the extent of radiation exposure arising from diagnostic procedures utilised in such children is largely unknown. We completed an audit of the radiation doses arising from diagnostic imaging procedures performed in a cohort of children with malignant lymphoma. The cumulative effective radiation dose associated with radiographic and radioisotopic procedures was derived for 81 children and adolescents with malignant lymphoma during their diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Thirty-eight of the 42 patients (90%) with Hodgkin lymphoma were alive at study termination, with follow-up periods ranging from 1.9 to 11.7 years (median 5.3). Thirty-three of the 39 patients (85%) with non-Hodgkin lymphoma were alive at study termination with follow-up periods ranging from 2.4 to 12.3 years (median 7.5). The median effective dose was 518 mSv for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and 309 mSv for those with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The maximum effective dose was 1.7 Sv. The principal contributors to the effective dose were computed tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine imaging procedures using (67)Ga. Protocols for the management of children and adolescents with malignant lymphoma should be reviewed in order to reduce the radiation detriment without loss of essential diagnostic information.
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