A whole-body scan is a scan of the patient’s entire body as part of the diagnosis or treatment of illnesses. Many medical imaging technologies can perform full-body scans. These whole-body scans are directly marketed to customers by the medical centers. As said by the medical centers, the aim of these scans is to find cancer and disease in a person’s body. But in finding cancer in people without symptoms, these scans aren’t trustworthy. And there are risks and costs in the scans. This is what you need to know about it.
- Whole-Body scans are not so good at their work
Whole-body scans cancer tumors are found without symptoms in less than two percent of patients. When left alone, some of these tumors would never cause an issue. They’d be gone. Or to cause problems, they would grow too slowly.
Whole-body scans can ignore cancer signs. The examinations that are recommended, such as mammograms, are likely to find such symptoms. You can get a false sense of security through a whole-body scan. real symptoms can be sometimes ignored due to this. Some medical associations do not allow imaging of the entire body. This is because the scans are not a reasonable screening tool
- Lots of radiation to handle
The scans use two kinds of technology:
- CT (computed tomography) scan: Takes many X-ray pictures of the body.
- PET (positron emission tomography) scan: Radioactive material is injected into the body and collects in areas with cancer. These scans use radiation in large quantities. This may increase your risk of cancer. Your risk increases if you have more tests. There are also no federal radiation limits for CT scans (as opposed to other tests, such as mammograms). So it’s difficult to be sure how much radiation you receive.
- Get scans when and where you really need them
Sometimes there is a need for CT scans and other imaging tests. For example, after an injury, you may need a head scan. The doctor believes that the benefits are greater than the costs in these situations. The chances are limited when you have a scan on one part of the body. Certain sections are protected— like the lead blanket that will cover you during dental X-rays.
- Whole-body scans can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests.
Often, scans of the entire body show things that do not look normal. These are almost all harmless. But in one study, for more imaging tests, about a third of patients were referred. For instance, the picture may have a group of shadows. Most doctors are going to want to check again. This can result in more scans and radiation screening. To find out if there is a problem, it can lead to biopsies and surgery. Such assessments can lead to anxiety and additional costs.
- A whole-body scan can take a lot of money out of your pocket
Insurance does not usually pay for full-body scans. Scans can cost between $500 and $1,000. Your costs can be much higher if you have follow-up tests.