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Ezra’s first 1,000 full-body cancer scans: What we found.

Key takeaways:

  • Comprehensive cancer screenings test multiple organs using MRI and low-dose CT imaging.
  • Full-body cancer scans like Ezra’s Full Body and Full Body Plus look for abnormalities in up to 14 organs.
  • Ezra’s first 1,000 scans found abnormalities potentially indicating cancers, most often in the lungs, pancreas, prostate, and thyroid.

Early cancer detection improves outcomes. So, Ezra has developed a comprehensive panel of tests like 3T MRI, low dose CT scan (LDCT), and 3D mammograms that use cutting-edge technology to screen up to 14 organs for potential cancer. 

In our first 1,000 scans, Ezra most often found abnormalities that could point to cancer in the lungs, pancreas, prostate, and thyroid. 

A case for lung cancer screenings.

Lung cancer occurs when the cells that make up the tissue of the lung change or mutate. Many things can cause a mutation to happen, such as exposure to chemical irritants like those found in cigarette smoke, coal dust, and other toxic substances. These contain substances known to cause cancer, which are called carcinogens. However, a subset of lung cancer cases develops without exposure to carcinogenic substances.

Some types of lung cancer cells grow faster than others. But once cancer cells form, they grow uncontrollably and destroy normal, healthy cells and tissue. A tumor forms when cancer cells grow close to one another.

Symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • A persistent cough
  • Recurrent upper respiratory infections
  • Coughing up bloody sputum
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Poor appetite

In its early stages, lung cancer may not produce any symptoms. 

In fact, some patients show no signs of illness until after it has spread to other organs, making screening for the disease even more important since lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in both men and women.

Research shows that the best option for detecting potential changes associated with cancer in the lungs at the disease’s earliest stages is via annual computed tomography (CT) scan. 

Low-dose CT scans.

A CT scan uses multiple X-rays taken at various angles to create a cross-sectional view of your lungs. These views may make it possible to see tissue changes in the airways where lung cancer may appear first. It may also show changes in lymph nodes better than other techniques like MRI. 

A major drawback of traditional CT scans is a slightly increased cancer risk due to radiation exposure that occurs in the process. Fortunately, new medical imaging using lower-dose CT scan protocols is just as effective with less cancer risk. 

During their first 1,000 scans, Ezra’s LDCTs found changes in tissue consistent with potential lung cancer. 

LDCT screening of the chest for patients at higher risk of developing lung cancer corresponds with the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation of yearly lung cancer screening with LDCTs for people who have a 20 pack-year or more smoking history, and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, and are between 50 and 80.

How to determine your pack per year history.

Pack year history is the amount someone has smoked over a long period. For example, a pack-year is the equivalent of having smoked one pack a day for a year or two packs a day for six months.

To calculate your pack-year history, multiply the average number of packs of cigarettes you smoke each day by the number of years you’ve smoked. If you meet the criteria set forth by USPSTF, your provider will add an LDCT for lung cancer screening to your Ezra Full Body or the Full Body Plus scans.

Pancreatic cancer.

Your pancreas is an organ in the abdominal cavity just behind the lower part of your stomach. It plays important roles in digestion and hormone production. As part of the digestive system, the pancreas produces enzymes that help the body break down the food you eat. In the endocrine system, the pancreas is responsible for producing and releasing the hormones that regulate blood sugar: insulin and glucagon. 

Pancreatic cancer is marked by the presence of mutated cells which make up the tissue of the pancreas. Pancreatic cancer is rare, accounting for about 3% of cancers diagnosed each year. Historically, pancreatic cancer has been associated with a poor prognosis because when it is found, the cancer is in the later stages when it’s harder to treat. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, patients are rarely symptomatic until the cancer is in advanced stages and often has spread to other areas of the body. Second, because the organ is located deep inside your body, it’s hard for clinicians to feel tumors during normal physical examinations. 

Fortunately, thanks to improved screening tests like whole-body scans, genetic testing, and improved treatment protocols, this may be changing. 

When looking at data from Ezra’s first 1,000 scans, we noted that the Full Body and Full Body Plus MRI scans picked up abnormalities in the pancreas that may indicate the presence of cancer. 

Prostate cancer.

Elderly couple sitting together at a deck by the lake

After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males. And  6 out of 10 cases occur in men over 65, with 248,530 cases expected for 2021. Black men are at a higher risk and are more likely to die from it. 

On a positive note, the overall mortality rate in western countries like the United States, continues to decrease, according to the World Journal of Oncology. This might be due to increased awareness and early detection from advanced screening measures like PSA and prostate scans. 

During their first 1,000 scans, Ezra found abnormalities in the prostate indicative of possible cancer.

Symptoms of prostate cancer.

The most common symptoms of prostate problems include:

  • Bloody urine and semen
  • Pain during urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Urinary incontinence, including difficulty starting and stopping
  • Increased urinary frequency
  • Increased nighttime urination
  • Decreased urine flow
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Pain in hips, pelvis, and rectum

These symptoms are all very alarming. However, most men do not experience any symptoms while cancer is in the earliest stages when it’s easier to treat. 

Prostate MRI with IV contrast.

When detected early, clinically significant prostate cancer is highly curable. However, if left untreated, prostate cancer has a slow, steady, and predictable course with the potential for localized tumor progression that may eventually spread.

Unfortunately in our current health system, most of the time men have to first get a prostate biopsy before their health insurance will cover a prostate MRI with IV contrast. 

This is backwards — a prostate biopsy has notable risks (infection, bleeding and sometimes, erectile dysfunction). Conversely, a prostate MRI is non-invasive and therefore, less risky. 

That’s why Ezra physicians at our New York and Florida locations now offer a Prostate MRI with IV contrast to men with elevated PSA levels or urinary symptoms. With our prostate MRI, you can get a head start on prostate cancer — sign up for a consultation today.

Thyroid screenings.

Your thyroid gland is a fleshy, butterfly-shaped organ located at the base of the neck below the larynx and beneath the thyroid cartilage. A part of the endocrine system, its primary function is to produce and secrete hormones that regulate your metabolism.

Radiology modalities, like an ultrasound and MRI, may catch benign thyroid nodules and small thyroid tumors that might otherwise be missed. 

Signs of thyroid cancer. 

There are a number of signs you should look out for that could suggest that you have thyroid cancer, including:

  • Scratchy throat and hoarse voice
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • A lump in the thyroid tissue
  • Painful swallowing and pain in the neck or throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Constant need to cough or clear throat

As with all insidious diseases, thyroid cancer may be in advanced stages before symptoms appear, making thyroid cancer awareness and considering screening even more important.

Suspicious findings, such as changes in thyroid tissue, were some of the most common abnormalities noted during Ezra’s first 1,000 scans.

What will your full-body cancer scan show?

Full body cancer scans: man smiling to the camera

In addition to finding potential cancer of the lungs, pancreas, prostate, and thyroid, Ezra Scans can find abnormalities like aneurysms, fatty liver disease, and coronary artery disease. 

Ezra Scan packages are recommended for healthy people with or without risk factors. The goal is to promote awareness and improve overall health through preventive medicine, which includes 3T MRI cancer screening of almost the entire body including these organs:

  • Brain
  • Spine
  • Thyroid
  • Lung
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Kidney
  • Adrenal glands
  • Bladder
  • Ovaries
  • Uterus
  • Prostate

Additional tests available through Ezra may be added to your full-body cancer scans:

  • LDCT: Low-dose CT for coronary calcium screening and high-risk lung cancer screening
  • The Ezra Mammogram:  A 3D mammogram for advanced breast cancer screening

All Ezra partner facilities have on-site radiologists as well as licensed radiology technologists. Ezra is committed to improving access to radiology care and currently serves select markets across the United States, with more partner facilities opening in the future.

You can book a full-body scan, like the Ezra Full Body or Full Body Plus, entirely online. Ezra offers in-house financing and lets you pay for your scans with your FSA/HSA dollars. 

At Ezra, we take care of you each step of the way, from helping you easily book an appointment online to offering a follow-up with a Personal Care Advisor. Learn more about the Ezra experience in this video.