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New study shows effective radiation-free cancer diagnosis

Clinicians from King’s College Hospital have proven for the first time that children do not need to be exposed to radiation to successfully rule out liver cancer.

The research has proven that an ultrasound contrast agent can accurately exclude the diagnosis of cancer in the liver with no need for children to be exposed to radiation.

The research - due to be published in the European Journal of Ultrasound in December - is significant because it could mean children are no longer exposed to radiation unnecessarily when trying to diagnose their condition, which is what happens currently.

Professor Paul Sidhu, Consultant Radiologist at King’s College Hospital and Professor of Imaging Sciences at King’s College London, said: “This is an exciting breakthrough. We hope this can adopted by all disciplines and come into standard practice soon. Providing clinicians with different options and techniques to help diagnose cancer is very important to help us to provide the best possible treatment for our patients.”

An important part of the procedure is identifying the patients who could potentially benefit – this is carried out by Dr Maria Sellars, Consultant Paediatric Hepatobiliary Radiologist at King’s College Hospital.

The Trust’s led the development of this technique in the 1990s, which has been used around the world in adults for the last 20 years but the effectiveness in children had not previously been comprehensively investigated.