Pre-natal medical radiation exposure in pediatric blood cancers: single institution study, 1990-2015


Session type:


Robin Rohrer1
1Seton Hill University



Pre-natal exposure to medical radiation used in diagnosis or treatment is an identified risk for childhood cancers but can be difficult to document.  The author developed a family questionnaire/interview form to identify possible exposures.  This restrospective study examines pre-conception and in-utero medicaal radiation exposure in a cohort of children diagnosed with a blood cancer from 1990-2015 at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) during that period.  The hospital is a tri-state regional referral center in the United States which diagnoses and treats about 150-180 new cases of cancer in children per year.   About 35-40% each year of this number are diagnosed with a blood cancer.


Each consented family so far (approximately 60% of cohort) has been interviewed in person, phone call or video conferencing.  Medical staff and psychosocial staff referred patient families to the author for interview.


Among the families interviewed to date at least one medical radiation exposure has been identified (pre-conception or pre-natal) in over 70% of these diagnosed children.  These exposure include pre-conception sinus or chest CT or x-ray in either parent before conception or for the mother during pregnancy.


Exposures to medical radiation for a child later diagnosed with cancer may occur at several critical junctures.  The exposures may well contribute to a "perfect storm" in the still elusive causes of childhood cancer.  This study is part of an expanded work documenting exposures in children diagnosed with either a solid tumor or blood cancer at the instiution from 1975 to present.