- A full-body scan for possible early disease and cancer can help you take control of your health.
- Health care practitioners may use many tests to help detect cancer.
- Imaging tests like CT and MRI scans are used for whole-body scans.
- An MRI scan may be safer and produces more detailed images than CT scans.
Cancer often goes undetected until it’s in an advanced stage. Many signs and symptoms of cancer, like persistent fatigue, cough, pain or lack of appetite, can be overlooked as just an inconvenience rather than a sign of a serious medical condition.
You can take control of your health and keep an edge over cancer by undergoing annual full body screenings.
A full-body scan for cancer can grant you peace of mind. Or, if it helps practitioners detect abnormalities early, it can give you a head start on your treatment plan.
What is a full-body scan for cancer?
A full-body scan for cancer, as the name implies, scans your whole body for signs of abnormalities.
A whole-body scan is a type of imaging test that can help detect cancer. During these tests, a radiologist produces detailed images of internal body organs to help detect abnormalities. This gives health care practitioners a non-invasive way to peek into the body and look for issues, including signs of potential cancer.
Not only can a full-body scan for cancer show where abnormalities are, it can also help health professionals understand how much a disease has spread.
When health practitioners detect cancer in an early stage, treatments can be more effective.
What types of whole-body scans are available for cancer screening?
Computed tomography (CT) scans and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are imaging modes used in full-body scans for cancer and other routine full-body scans.
A full-body CT scan shows images of a slice or cross-section of body parts. A CT scanner uses ionizing radiation to scan the body. CT scanning typically takes 10-15 minutes. Like MRI scans, it is a non-invasive technique.
A full-body MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves to produce images of the anatomy and physiological processes inside the body. An MRI scan helps visualize abnormalities in the soft tissues, in blood vessels like those that occur with aneurysms (weakening of an artery), or most organs in the body.
Here are other medical imaging tests that can screen for cancer:
- Mammography: Mammography detects early signs of breast cancer by using low-energy X-rays to produce a mammogram, an X-ray image of the breast.
- Breast MRI: The breast MRI is an emerging alternative to mammography. A breast MRI tends to be more sensitive than a mammogram. It can also rule out suspicious abnormalities appearing on a mammogram.
- X-ray exam: This imaging test is used to detect fractures, among other things. It uses low doses of radiation to produce shadow-like images of body tissues.
- Nuclear medicine scans: These scans include bone scans, PET (positron emission tomography) scans, thyroid scans, MUGA scans, and gallium scans.
- Ultrasounds: Ultrasounds use ultrasonic sound waves to create images of internal organs.
Full-body MRIs vs. CT scans.
Both imaging tests produce images of internal organs. CT scans are typically less expensive and faster. However, because they use radiation to produce internal images, radiation exposure can be a risk factor.
MRI scans don’t use harmful radiation. Rather, they use magnetic fields and radio waves. MRIs also usually tend to produce more detailed images than CT scans.
Preparing for an Ezra Full Body.
On the day of the scan, you can eat and drink. However, it is recommended to eat lighter (e.g. no fried, greasy, heavy foods) and to eat less gassy foods (e.g. soda, seltzer water, beans, broccoli, cabbage, etc.). Also, try to limit fluid intake about 1.5 – 2 hours prior to your scan, so you don’t feel the need to stop the scan multiple times to use the restroom. You will be asked to remove all metallic objects from your person, and notify the technician ahead of time if you have any metal implants.
At Ezra, you’ll be given a set of pajamas so you’re comfortable during the scan. For your safety, we also supply MRI-specific masks and create socially distanced waiting rooms. At select Ezra facilities, you can choose a Spotify playlist to relax with while the scan is in progress. From booking your appointment to getting your results, we aim to make the process seamless and comfortable.
An MRI scan is fast and painless. After your scan, you can change back to your clothing and continue with your day once the scan has ended.
Ezra provides safe, accurate full-body MRI scans.*
An annual MRI screening of the entire body (13 organs for Ezra) can help you maintain peace of mind. If cancer is detected, it can help you begin treatment at an early stage.
Ezra provides high-quality outpatient imaging services through its network of medical centers.
The Ezra Full-Body covers up to 13 organs including the brain, thyroid, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney, bladder, ovaries, and uterus. Ezra also offers a low-dose CT scan for lung cancer detection in at-risk individuals.
You can easily book your scan online using our friendly registration portal. You can pay using your FSA/HSA dollars and also opt for a monthly payment plan.
*Ezra defines full-body scans as an MRI service that covers 13 organs.
Can other tests help detect cancer?
Physical examinations and some laboratory tests can also help health care practitioners identify problems in the body.
1. Physical examination.
A physical examination by a health care practitioner can reveal changes in the body that may be signs of a malignancy.
A physical exam can also look for other abnormalities, like changes in skin color, enlargement and swelling of body parts. For example, breast lumps and rashes, nipple inversions, and other signs may indicate breast cancer or may be often nothing to worry about.
2. Lab tests.
A blood test, urine analysis, and biopsy are all types of laboratory tests.
Blood tests alone aren’t enough to detect cancer, but they can give your health care practitioner an idea of what’s going on inside your body. Blood tests involved in cancer detection may include:
- CBC (complete blood count): A CBC can help detect blood cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma. It measures the number of types of blood cells, or abnormal cells, in the blood.
- Blood protein testing: This type of test may detect abnormal proteins (like certain immunoglobulins) in case of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.
- Tumor marker tests: Tumor marker tests may detect special proteins, tumor markers, made by tumor cells. Normal cells tend to produce tumor markers. However, their concentration in the blood increases with certain types of cancers. Some tumor markers include prostate-specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer and alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) for liver cancer.
- Circulating tumor cell tests: This test can detect cancerous cells that may have broken away from a tumor.
Urinalysis may help detect some bladder cancers. Routine urinalysis looks at urine samples to see if there’s blood or other concerning substances in the urine.
A biopsy is the removal of tissue, marrow, or skin through colonoscopy or other means for a more careful analysis in the laboratory.
Get ahead of cancer with early detection.
Catching cancer in its early stages can help you get a head start on treatment.
Cancer screenings should be part of your annual healthcare routine. If you have a family history of cancer or are a high-risk individual, screenings become even more important.
Ezra uses advanced imaging technology and a skilled care team to provide accurate and reliable MRI scan services faster and cheaper. The Ezra Full Body costs just $1,950 or $180/month.
We have centers in major U.S. cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami, and we are looking to expand. Book your scan today, or estimate your risk for cancer with our five-minute quiz.