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Preventive full body scan anyone?
Old 07-24-2014, 10:38 AM   #1
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Preventive full body scan anyone?

Have you had a preventive full body scan to detect cancer early? If so would you do it again?

I've read the literature and know that it isn't recommended without symptoms but I'm scared.

My mother-in-law died a month ago today of uterine cancer, a good friend was diagnosed Monday with advanced ovarian cancer (she's 47), a co-worker was diagnosed last week with breast cancer (51), then another co-worker yesterday in our team meeting told us she had her first radiation treatment that morning (she's in her late 30s).

I'm current on mammograms, PAP and had my first colonoscopy late last year and all is clear. But I'm stunned by so many friends and loved ones being diagnosed simultaneously so soon after MIL passed so the question... am I crazy to be thinking about a full body scan?

I'm not a worrier by nature but I'm thinking about cancer almost obsessively and I start crying for no apparent reason (during a meeting yesterday of all times!)... I have no idea what to do at this point.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:50 AM   #2
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Lisa, I'm sorry to hear you have had a cluster of people in your circle who have developed cancer recently. Clearly you are grieving your lost relative.

On full body scans, you could start by reading this article:

Whole Body Scanning, Do You Really Need One? - MedicineNet - Health and Medical Information Produced by Doctors

Note that there is no evidence whatsoever that having such a scan will make you live longer. In fact, CT scans involve a significant amount of radiation. Repeated scans may actually increase your odds of developing cancer. However, full body scans do contribute to your radiologist's retirement portfolio.

The choice is yours. I hope you are receiving the support you need at this challenging time.
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Old 07-24-2014, 10:52 AM   #3
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Do they do full body MRI?
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Old 07-24-2014, 11:02 AM   #4
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Do they do full body MRI?
Yes, and no radiation is involved, but if you have any metal implants, that's a problem because M is for magnetic. MRI is also more expensive. The pros and cons of screening apply to both. The risk is that one might find an "incidentaloma" that might never have caused any problem, undergo a procedure to deal with it, and suffer adverse events following the procedure.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post

My mother-in-law died a month ago today of uterine cancer, a good friend was diagnosed Monday with advanced ovarian cancer (she's 47), a co-worker was diagnosed last week with breast cancer (51), then another co-worker yesterday in our team meeting told us she had her first radiation treatment that morning (she's in her late 30s).
Is this a medical issue that one should fear? Or just random probability results whose current distribution is unfortunate?
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Preventive full body scan anyone?
Old 07-24-2014, 12:13 PM   #6
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Preventive full body scan anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuckanut View Post
Is this a medical issue that one should fear? Or just random probability results whose current distribution is unfortunate?


Random probability. We come from different backgrounds, work with mega corps so have no exposure to toxins, and are all non smokers. So just very bad luck of the draw.



A couple of years ago I remember having a fleeting thought that it was so nice to not have serious stress or issues in my life. Little did I know what was coming...in the last 9 months DH lost his job, only child went to prison for DUI, MIL died, and those are just the big ones. I'll never again take a low stress life for granted.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:29 PM   #7
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The cheap standalone full body scans are full of false positive results from what I've read. While my health is sort of a retirement hobby, the full body scan doesn't seem to offer much value.
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Old 07-24-2014, 12:35 PM   #8
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I believe we are learning from such scans that most people harbor some sort of irregular cell growth. Distinguishing the growths that are, or will become, trouble is not easy, nor is eradicating all of them. So a whole body scan yields lots of information but little of it is useful.
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Old 07-24-2014, 04:28 PM   #9
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Bad idea. No benefit. False positives are problematic. Exercise, eat well, don't smoke or drink (much) and try to have a positive attitude. Follow currently recommended screening programmes. Total body CT or MRI or PET are not part of them, nor likely to be anytime soon. Sorry that you are stressed and that others have had issues, but these don't put you at any increased risk.
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Old 07-25-2014, 10:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
Have you had a preventive full body scan to detect cancer early? If so would you do it again?

I've read the literature and know that it isn't recommended without symptoms but I'm scared.

My mother-in-law died a month ago today of uterine cancer, a good friend was diagnosed Monday with advanced ovarian cancer (she's 47), a co-worker was diagnosed last week with breast cancer (51), then another co-worker yesterday in our team meeting told us she had her first radiation treatment that morning (she's in her late 30s).

I'm current on mammograms, PAP and had my first colonoscopy late last year and all is clear. But I'm stunned by so many friends and loved ones being diagnosed simultaneously so soon after MIL passed so the question... am I crazy to be thinking about a full body scan?

I'm not a worrier by nature but I'm thinking about cancer almost obsessively and I start crying for no apparent reason (during a meeting yesterday of all times!)... I have no idea what to do at this point.
So-called preventive scans don't prevent anything of significance, they diagnose. And diagnosis often leads to lucrative treatments.

Such scans are offered by the business of orthodox medicine, a business that makes huge profits from treatments, not prevention. The marketing of such scans as preventive is deceptive advertising.

Like any huge business with lots of skeletons in their closet, this business routinely disregards and hides the real dangers of their interventions. These scans are no exception.

For decades it has been shown with solid scientific evidence that low dose x-rays, as used in body scans, cause cancer, especially breast cancer (
see "The Mammogram Myth" by Rolf Hefti), and even a single x-ray can do it today but these business profiteers keep insisting the risk is negligible or irrelevant.

There are other risks of such scans such as overdiagnosis (applies to MRIs, etc too).

You're more likely to get hurt seriously by such a scan than get great benefits from it.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:23 PM   #11
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Have you had a preventive full body scan to detect cancer early? If so would you do it again?.
Bad idea, IMHO. For every "heroic" story there are many more false alarms leading to yet more tests and incidental findings and side effects from tests done for no reason.

Tests done for work-up of symptoms or findings -- that's a different story. You'll never reach a point of 100% reassurance but I would stick with published accepted screening only. Check with your primary doc.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:37 PM   #12
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I'm glad I read this thread, DW had wanted to do this. I suspected some of what the posters with real education said was true, couldn't get DW to ask her DR. of any real value.

I understand DW's fears, she lost both parents to different cancers at age 74.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:52 PM   #13
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I have a friend that was trying to convince me to do one of these full body scans. It sounded like a bit of snake oil to me, so I didn't do it. Glad to hear our forum docs advise against it. I will point that out to my buddy.
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Old 07-25-2014, 12:52 PM   #14
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MyOny is correct. The name is a misnomer. This test does not prevent anything. It just provides a bunch of information, much of which is TMI.

Again, consider the incentives. The market for this test is a large number of people who are nervous about their health and will pay for reassurance. Who sets up these test centres? Radiologists. They can report everything they see with no qualifiers, because no clinical problem is being solved. When abnormalities are found, follow up tests will be needed. The volume of tests will have been worked into the business plan. For the radiologists, this is a profit centre, pure and simple.
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Old 07-25-2014, 01:16 PM   #15
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Maybe 25 years ago a cardiologists sent me for a heartscan. Insurance did not cover the cost, about $450 then. Was having some problems which later turned out as bad reaction to statins and sequestrants.

Did pay for the scan, then afterthe scan while the doc was pointing out some dire problems, I was asking some pointed questions. Like accuracy and reliability of the scanner, the reading results, their meaning etc.

The doc got extremely defensive, annoyed and irritated. Whereupon I said I will get a hold of the medical licensing entity of NY state. They promptly refunded the fee. Further it turnd out the recommending cardiologist was a significant owner of the scanning enterprise.

In retrospect it was not of any dignostic benefit. As the CD recorded image was read later by several non interested docs.

YMMV
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:21 AM   #16
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Do they do full body MRI?
MRI does not include the brain, that would be a brain scan which is separate. The reason I know is a MRI missed my wifes brain tumor.
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Old 07-28-2014, 10:15 AM   #17
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I got mine at the airport.
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:49 AM   #18
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You are having the year from hell, Lisa. So sorry. I don't blame you for wondering if you can do whatever you can, proactively, to protect yourself.

I would not do the full body as I am a sleeping dog lying, head in the sand type. Maybe consider what you would feel or do if the test shows something that most likely would never cause a problem but once the test reveals it, now you would have to watch it for the rest of your healthy life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa99 View Post
Random probability. We come from different backgrounds, work with mega corps so have no exposure to toxins, and are all non smokers. So just very bad luck of the draw.



A couple of years ago I remember having a fleeting thought that it was so nice to not have serious stress or issues in my life. Little did I know what was coming...in the last 9 months DH lost his job, only child went to prison for DUI, MIL died, and those are just the big ones. I'll never again take a low stress life for granted.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:12 PM   #19
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Well for one who was one of three likely to get cancer in my lifetime,
I might point out the other side. Had my physician ordered a scan a year earlier when I complained of (as it turns out unrelated pain) I would most likely have been diagnosed with stage II cancer instead of stage 4, and had much better treatment options and cure possibilities

So though I agree there is money to be made by these scans, and exposure to radiation is a fact, it can also mean the difference between life and death.

Consider.. One in three of you will develop cancer. Would you like to catch it early or when it's too late? It is a dilemma. If we only had a crystal ball and could tell when it was coming.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:29 PM   #20
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It is just another uncertainty of many that we all face in our life. I have been trying to point out that the financial uncertainty should be the least of a retiree's problems. Of course people who have not been through any serious medical trouble tend to think of themselves as invincible. That can change in an instant.

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I got mine at the airport.
So, what was the TSA agent's medical interpretation of your scan?

I thought they are only interested in people's external anatomy?
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