Important information about screening
The primary purpose of preventive examination is to detect illnesses while still in the early stages. As a rule, illnesses detected in the early stages are less complicated and respond better to treatment. During this type of preventive examination people without health complaints undergo such an examination to see if there is an illness present that is still in the early stage. A good example of early detection is the screening of the population for breast cancer, during which women are examined at regular intervals. This examination is generally well known, but is limited to the breasts only.
Total Body Scan
The latest developments in the field of MRI and CT- scans make it possible to examine larger parts of the body, even an examination of the most important organs and blood vessels at once is possible. The present (scientific) examinations have shown that an MRI-scan has no side effects, making this type of scan very suitable for screening.
Considering that there is no diagnostic method in the medical field by which all patterns of diseases can be recognized, the medical specialists concentrate on the most common and serious illnesses, such as tumours, problems concerning the cardiac arteries and infarcts. Below you will find an explanation of the examination of the different parts of the body during a Total Body Scan.
An MRI scan of the brain brings the brain and its blood vessels into the picture. With these capabilities it is possible to locate and limit the risk of a brain haemorrhage or brain infarct. An MRI-scan of the upper and lower abdomen brings all the abdominal organs into the picture. The MRI is less suitable when it comes to the throat, stomach, the small and large intestine. Here we advise an endoscopy such as a gastro- and /or colonoscopy.
It is possible that small tumours in the urinary bladder, the prostate and in lesser measure the womb and ovaries remain concealed. MRI-images of the testicles cannot always be evaluated with complete certainty. In the framework of preventive examination of the prostate a supplementary blood test is recommended in which the PSA values are determined. This evaluation is a standard part of the “Complete Laboratory Test”.
The MRI of the lower abdomen is not a substitute for the regular preventive examination at a gynaecologist. In exceptions, depending on the test results, it is better to have a second examination after several months.
Spot check: Preventive examination is always a ‘spot check’ and only shows the condition of your health at the time of examination. We advise that preventive medical examinations be done with a certain degree of regularity as well as personally being aware of the condition of your health.
The CT-scan makes use of X-rays. The Total Body Scan works with an ultra low dose. The Total Body Scan , consists of two separate CT-scans, in most cases. Firstly, an examination to check for calcification of the coronary arteries. This scan gives very good insight into the individual risk of a heart infarct and is normally done once in a lifetime (above 40 years of age). The second examination is the CT-scan of the lungs. Recent research results (provisional conclusions) have shown that with heavy smokers (older than 40 years of age and having smoked a minimum of 20 cigarettes per day for 10 years) 80% of the tumours that could still be treated were detected during an annual CT-scan. With people who don’t have an annual scan it is only 15%. All the other examinations in the Total Body Scan are done using an MRI- scanner. An MRI makes use of safe magnetic fields instead of X-rays.
The results of the preventive examination shall be discussed with you in detail. The purpose of this informative talk is to give you, in short, an explanation as to what the possibilities of MRI and CT-scans are but also that which is not (yet) possible. On basis of the experience gained in recent years the specialists for whom we mediate, see preventive examination as a worthwhile procedure despite the somewhat controversial discussion about it.
Countless tumours that responded to treatment have been detected by means of preventive examination. Besides this, it has been proved that people who undergo preventive medical examination become more conscious of their health and change their lifestyle for the better.
With the Total Body Scan the stomach- and colon intestinal tract are not clearly visible, this is because these organs are moving at all times. The images are so distorted by this that the diagnostic value of it declines. The most appropriate method assessing these organs is by using an endoscope, which is a flexible viewing tube. To detect possible tumors in this process the execution of a gastro-colonoscopy is the most proper research method. This technique gives a direct view on the inside of these organs and at the same time small pieces of tissue and / or polyps can be biopsied for further investigation. Prescan UK does not perform this kind of examination. This method of investigation would require a doctor’s referral and management.
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