Doctors haven’t been good at explaining to patients some of the principles that underpin medical practice. A lot of the misunderstandings which occur relate to risk and probability, and that in turn is something that our schools have failed to teach their pupils. A good explanation of some of the issues is given at this site.
I could go on about why I think it’s important to increase the public understanding of science, and medical science in particular, but this chap does it much better than I ever could.
The following links will take you to a number of online articles I contributed to Cambridge University’s Naked Scientists site. Some are basic explanations of how medical imaging works, but others deal with the issue of risk and risk/benefit analysis:
The public are becoming increasingly aware of the risks of the ionising radiation used in medicine. When used responsibly, the potential benefits of x-rays and scanning will outweigh any small risk. I co-authored this leaflet which hopefully helps to put the risks into perspective.