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SYNOPSIS

“RADIATION ROULETTE”

Radiation saves lives through its use in medical diagnosis and treatment, but too much radiation can kill. A significant proportion of the population may be genetically sensitive to radiation, and therefore much more likely to get cancer from the low levels used in medical screening tests like mammography and CT scanning. Researchers have now found the first genes identified with radiation sensitivity, and are working towards genetic testing that will tell people if they are at risk. But right now, many people are playing Radiation Roulette with their health when they have diagnostic tests – and no one is warning them.

The dangers of exposure to high levels of all kinds of radiation have long been known – cancer, birth defects, neurological disorders, severe burns, premature death. Low levels of radiation, like modern dental or chest x-rays, have been thought to be safe. But now CT scanners, which use multiple x-rays, have considerably increased the amount of radiation patients receive. The use of CT for screening and diagnosis is increasing dramatically. A single CT scan can be the equivalent of hundreds of chest x-rays; and two or three can put the patient into the exposure range of Japanese atomic bomb survivors who had elevated levels of cancer.

Radiation Roulette looks at the rapid expansion of CT, its benefits, and the danger it may pose, through the stories of three women: Kyla, a 20-year-old with thyroid cancer which may have been caused by childhood x-rays; Paula, a 56-year-old who has life-threatening heart disease caused by medical radiation; and Jo-Ann, a healthy woman who decided to have a whole-body CT screening scan – and got a shocking surprise.

Kyla’s quest to find out whether radiation might have caused her cancer will lead us through the controversy over x-ray imaging, and the critical public health issues at stake.

Produced and Directed by
TERENCE MCKEOWN for
POINT GREY PICTURES INC. in Association with
THE CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION

With the Participation of
THE CANADIAN TELEVISION FUND
CREATED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF CANADA
AND THE CANADIAN CABLE INDUSTRY
TELEFILM CANADA: EQUITY INVESTMENT
PROGRAM
CTF: LICENCE FEE PROGRAM

With the Assistance of
THE CANADIAN FILM OR VIDEO PRODUCTION
TAX CREDIT

With the Participation of
THE PROVINCE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
FILM INCENTIVE B.C.

And the CANWEST WESTERN INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS FUND


 

 

 

 


 
   

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