Diagnostic imaging refers to technologies that physicians use to look inside your body for clues about your medical condition. OHC physicians use a variety of the most advanced technologies available including CT Scan, PET Scan, DEXA Scan, Ultrasound and MRI.
A CT SCAN (computed tomography) is an essential tool in diagnosing and treating cancer. It uses special X-ray equipment to obtain cross-sectional pictures of the body. The CT computer displays these pictures as detailed images of organs, bones, and other tissues. In cancer care, a CT scan is used to:
- Detect or confirm the presence of a tumor
- Provide information about the size, location, and scope a tumor
- Guide a biopsy (the removal of cells or tissues for examination under a microscope)
- Help plan radiation therapy or surgery
- Determine if the cancer is responding to treatment
A PET SCAN (positron emission tomography) is a diagnostic examination used to detect cancer, determine the stage of cancer, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy. In a PET scan, radioactive sugar molecules are injected into the body. Cancer cells absorb sugar more quickly than normal cells, so they light up on the PET scan. A PET scan is often used to complement information gathered from a computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or physical examination. An integrated PET-CT scan collects images from both PET and CT scans at the same time and superimposes the images.
A DEXA SCAN measures bone density by passing X-rays, with two different energy levels, through the bone. It is used to diagnose osteoporosis, which is sometimes a side effect of cancer treatments. No matter your age, if you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, your doctor will probably recommend a baseline DEXA scan before you start treatment and regular DEXA scans as you move through treatment. This will allow you to make sure your bones are staying strong and take protective measures if you do start to lose some bone.
An ULTRASOUND helps doctors look for tumors in certain areas of the body that don’t show up well on x-rays. Doctors often use them to guide a needle during a biopsy. Ultrasounds are usually quick and most don’t require special preparation. They’re often done as an outpatient.
MRI helps doctors find cancer in the body and look for signs that it has spread. MRI also can help doctors plan cancer treatment, like surgery or radiation. MRI is painless and you don’t have to do anything special to get ready for this test. But, it’s very important to tell your doctor and the technologist (the person who does the test) if you have any metal in your body.
Many imaging tests are painless and easy. Some require that you remain still for a long time inside a machine. Some tests involve radiation, but these are generally considered safe because the dosage is very low. If you would like to know more about imaging services, call us at 1-800-710-4674 and we’d be happy to schedule an appointment for you to speak with one of our doctors.