Early Detection Scans for Cancer: Are They Worth It? When to Ask for a Full Body Scan & What to Expect From Them

by | May 30, 2023 | Cancer Detection, Detecting Tumors in the Body, Full Body Screening

Along with being your own best advocate and listening to your body, early detection and early screening for cancer can certainly save lives. 

For breast cancer, the American Cancer Society recommends screenings with mammograms starting at the age of 40.  However, family history may dictate that screenings should begin earlier and could also include an MRI or ultrasound.

For prostate cancer, men should consider screenings with a PSA test or digital rectal exam starting at the age of 50. However, African American men, who have a higher risk of prostate cancer and those with a father or brother who has or had prostate cancer should consider earlier screening too.

For colon and rectal cancer, regular colonoscopies are recommended starting at the age of 45. There are also stool-based tests, which may be an option for some patients.

For cervical cancer, screening should begin at the age of 25 with regular pap smears.

And for lung cancer, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, recommends annual lung cancer screenings for those between 50 and 80 years old with a history of smoking, those who currently smoke or those who quit within the past 15 years.

As with any health condition, if someone in your family has or has had cancer, talk to your doctor about when to begin screening. And if you notice a change in your health, see a doctor. If that doctor is not listening – really listening – to you, see another expert and make sure you get the testing you feel is necessary. After all, it is your life, and you do not want to run “what-if scenarios” in your mind.

Full-Body Scans for Early Cancer Detection

Typically, full-body scans – scanning the body with CT imaging — are only done to look for internal bleeding, to see the severity of a traumatic injury or to see if a cancer is spreading and/or responding to treatment.

While the majority of people seeking a full body scan do so at a doctor’s orders, a growing number of patients are proactively seeking them out. Getting a full-body health scan could be a great way to detect potential problems before they become too serious.

However, the Food and Drug Administration as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians, do not recommend full-body scans for those without symptoms. Experts say there are risks of high radiation exposure with CT scans that outweigh any potential benefits. Because there are a lot of false positives that can result in follow-up scans which may confirm there really is not a problem. But try telling that to people who had full body scans and a life-threatening medical problem was detected early and as a result saved their life. 

While CT scans for high-risk individuals for certain diseases – like lung cancer and colon cancer – are currently being researched to determine if they are cost effective and save lives, you know your body, so be your own advocate and advocate for your loved ones as well. Trust your instincts, if you feel something is wrong or could be, talk to your doctor about getting a full body scan or even a partial scan. If you have not lived a healthy lifestyle, were or are a smoker, or have had a poor diet, it could be a lifesaver.

Cancer Treatment Center Near Me

Being your own patient advocate is also necessary if you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer. The experts at the CyberKnife Center of Miami, South Florida’s premiere cancer treatment center, are here to help.

CyberKnife Miami is a free-standing outpatient cancer treatment center that uses state-of-the-art image-guided radiosurgery treatments to treat cancer and other medical issues requiring radiation. 

CyberKnife offers painless radiation treatments, which can be an alternative to surgery. And because of CyberKnife’s precision, we can treat difficult cases, which may otherwise not be treatable or deemed inoperable.

According to University of North Carolina School of Medicine, CyberKnife radiation has been proven effective for more than 30 years. Millions of patients worldwide have been treated with CyberKnife, and there are many clinical studies and peer-reviewed journals documenting its efficacy.

Accuray, the maker of CyberKnife, lists dozens of studies on its website showing that CyberKnife can be used for lung, brain, head and neck, spine, liver, pancreas, prostate, and kidney cancers. It has also been proven to help treat acoustic neuromas, benign tumors growing on the nerve for balance and hearing, as well as trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic pain disorder that causes severe facial pain. And it is also being used and studied for some breast cancers and ovarian cancers. 

CyberKnife is non-invasive and painless. There are few, if any, side effects with treatments. CyberKnife treatment minimizes damage to healthy tissue and gives patients a better quality of life during and after treatment.

“CyberKnife is the most refined way to target a tumor and minimize the dose to normal tissue,” says Dr. Mark Pomper, executive director of CyberKnife Miami and board-certified radiation oncologist. “It is often a very good alternative to surgery and our results can be at least as good.”

CyberKnife Miami opened our doors 20 years ago, and we were the first CyberKnife center to open in the Southeast United States. Since that time, we have successfully treated thousands of patients from South Florida and around the world. We are here to help you too. If you are interested in learning more about CyberKnife Miami, or to find out if you are a candidate for this treatment option call us now at 305-279-2900 or go to our website at www.cyberknifemiami.com.

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