What are some of the necessary evils in life? Can you lump whole body scans in a cancer screening process under that category, especially when we are talking about kids? Traditional radiation scanners such as PET and CT do a pretty good job when it comes to locating the presence of cancer, they are also double edged swords since they would expose patients to radiation which could be potentially harmful, not to mention being a trigger for cancer many years down the road. This is especially true in younger patients, simply because their cells are still dividing at an accelerated rate, with so many more theoretical years ahead of them, the risk of being exposed to additional radiation in due time also increases. Is there a safer alternative? Perhaps, as it will involve merging MRI scans with a “contrast agent” (or diagnostic dye). This solution seems to be as effective as locating cancer sans the risks that radiation carries.
This particular MRI approach is pretty accurate too, as trial runs saw it pick up 158 tumors in 22 8- to 33-year-olds, as opposed to 163 found via the traditional PET and CT scan combination. Since treatment decisions made based on either of these scans would have been the same, it makes more sense to take the safer diagnostics route in order not to upset the proverbial apple cart down the road.