Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, takes a pat-down instead of going through a scanner when he travels, reports CNN's Elizabeth Cohen. Dr. Brawley says he's concerned about whether the machines are calibrated and inspected properly.
Dr. Karl Bilimoria, a surgical oncology fellow, told Cohen, "I'm a doctor at M.D. Anderson, and I don't want radiation if I can avoid it." M.D. Andreson is one of the top cancer treatment hospitals in the world.
"I do whatever I can to avoid the scanner," says Dr. Len Lichtenfeld another doctor affiliated with the the American Cancer Society. "This is a total body scan -- not a dental or chest X-ray," he wrote to Cohen. "Total body radiation is not something I find very comforting based on my medical knowledge."
Another doctor who opts for the pat-down is Dr. Dong Kim, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' neurosurgeon.
"There is really no absolutely safe dose of radiation," says Kim, chair of the department of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Medical School. "Each exposure is additive, and there is no need to incur any extra radiation when there is an alternative."
So did Cohen find any doctors who said the airport scan radiation was no big deal? Oh yeah. Among others, the television talking head doctors.
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta told Cohen he hasn't opted out thus far. Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of a new show on Headline News, called the amount of radiation "inconsequential."
The choice is yours, follow the lead of the top cancer specialists in the world and get the pat down, or go with the take of televisons' talking head doctors and radiate yourself.
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