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Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-27-2007, 01:25 PM   #1
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Has anyone had a body scan???

Has anyone had a test which scans the body looking for dormant or potential disease (ie. cancer). Here in the Northeast, there is a company called LifeScan that will perform a full body scan looking for health problems at your expense. It is not covered by insurance. I am wondering if it is worth it. If you did have this test, what company did you use.

Just heard -- Tony Snow-- colon cancer has spread to his liver!
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-27-2007, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

Not exactly the same thing, but........

In a recent bout with a kidney stone (yuuuch!), I wound up having four CT scans, one with contrast, to follow the progress of the stone out of my system. A byproduct of these scans was that the four different radiologists who read them also commented on other issues, good and bad. The kidney stone passed (thank goodness!) but I'm left with a handful of observations to followup on with my family doc.

Of course, these CT scans focused on the abdominal region and the radiologists could only see the lower lobes of the lungs and the abdominal aorta, not the whole heart, so not a complete look-see like you are talking about. Still, I'm going to followup.

It's been a couple of weeks since the last scan and the "glow in the dark" feature is wearing off!

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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-27-2007, 02:59 PM   #3
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

There is no absolute safe lower limit for ionizing radiation exposure (x-rays); just relatively safe limits within a risk/benefit construct (notice I didn't say a cost/benefit construct). Total body ct scans involve a lot of exposure. The idea is intriguing but a two hundred and something dollar blood panel (hormones, chemistries, glucose, etc.) can tell you a lot also.
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-27-2007, 03:15 PM   #4
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

Quote:
Originally Posted by janeeyre
Has anyone had a test which scans the body looking for dormant or potential disease (ie. cancer). Here in the Northeast, there is a company called LifeScan that will perform a full body scan looking for health problems at your expense. It is not covered by insurance. I am wondering if it is worth it. If you did have this test, what company did you use.
These global shotgun approaches to screening are not working out from a decision-analysis standpoint. The problem is that in an undifferentiated population, they show up all kinds of unanticipated and incidental "abnormalities" which in fact may be normal variation, old scar tissue, benign growths, calcification from wear and tear and many, many other things. Once identified, many doctors in this medicolegal climate feel obliged to recommend follow-up studies.

Next thing you know, radiocontrast (dye) studies and biopsies are being done, leading to complications such as infection, kidney failure, allergic reactions. These are not common, but in the context of mass screening their numbers start to rise. In the end, these tests can end up causing more harm than benefit. Sure every one has an anecdote about how a life was saved by an accidental discovery of an early cancer but for every one of those there may be hundreds who suffered or even died for no reason.

There are clear and researched recommendations for screening test and they are fairly narrow. I would pass on screening "total body scans."

BTW, when done for a specific disease because of underlying symptoms, abnormal lab results, or physical exam findings, scanning is quite a different thing (and even then, localized to the area of concern). Their accuracy goes way up.

I haven't even mentioned cost, radiation exposure, quality control, etc.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-27-2007, 06:27 PM   #5
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

I just went through a CT Scan, they didn't find what they were looking for but did find something else that needs to be taken care of. I don't think I'd put myself through the whole body scan, too much to go wrong or misread.
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-29-2007, 11:35 PM   #6
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

LifeScan is here in the Pacific Northwest, too. Given the cost -- $129.00 -- they're almost certainly doing an Ultrasound, not a CT scan. Ultrasound is an excellent tool for locating blockages in the large arteries of the neck, abdomen, and leg, and can be used to locate abnormal masses in the abdomen.

--Peter
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-30-2007, 08:22 AM   #7
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

In line with what Rich said ... heard a Dr. on the radio warning listeners that for every disease "found" thru these full body scans there is a needless biopsy performed which resulted in long term complications/side-effects.

If it ain't broken ... don't fix-it.
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-30-2007, 09:56 AM   #8
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

I had the LifeScan ultrasound a couple years ago. Although I am now overweight, older and spend too much time on the computer I came out with almsot clear artieries, 3 were 100% and one 95%. Looks like being a runner earlier in life paid out. I don't expect to have more scans. I do get a heart treadmill test at work every couple years. I have an unusual heart pattern so its nice to have a real cardiologist reviewing my tests.
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 03-31-2007, 09:52 PM   #9
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

After a motorcyle accident 1 & half years ago that produced some internal injuries - I had the whole body scan.....thanks to the heavens all was well w/in my organs - Thus, I have been more careful w/ my health.
I am using the quote of Clark Gable in reverse " if I had known I would have live this long..I would have taken better care of myself".
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???
Old 04-12-2007, 12:53 PM   #10
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Re: Has anyone had a body scan???

I've thought about it, but my father (who is a retired physician) always warned me about unnecessary medical scans and tests. The scan and test results become an official "medical record" that your insurance company can use to raise your premiums or deny coverage.

Yes, it's important to know well in advance of any life-threatening conditions (my family is prone to colon cancer), but there are targeted tests for such conditions that are a much better course of diagnostic care.
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