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The Effect of Diagnostic Imaging on Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Updated on March 30, 2016

Technology and Healthcare continue to merge

The lines between healthcare and technology have continued to blur as technological advances improve the reach of health related diagnosis and procedures. Perhaps one of the most innovative technologies to improve the insight of medical treatment consists of the many scanning machines developed to look inside human bodies prior to determining potential medical treatment. Beginning with x-ray technology over 100 years ago, medicine has adopted these technologies into the diagnostic processes, assisting with early detection and improved treatment planning.

Scanning machines are becoming stronger and less expensive. Xray, Cat Scan machines, machines and Ultrasound machines among others allow our health care providers a very important look inside of our bodies. The clarity and accuracy with which these machines are capturing images has been steadily improving since their introduction into the medical arsenal and especially over the last 10 years. The speed and accuracy of imaging has improved significantly allowing more detailed scanning for better interpretation. With the improvement of technology comes the improvement of care.

Oncology Prevention

Scan technology has played a particularly significant part in the diagnosis and eradication of cancer. While the scanning process aides in earlier detection of cancer, that is a small part of the bigger picture. The scans also provide important information which aides in the differentiation between a benign or malignant tumor abnormality. The improved quality of scans also supports the option to wait when considering risky surgery by instead monitoring the cancer with additional scans. Studies have shown a significant increase in the survival rate of patients with colon cancer. Early detection reveals malignant cancers allowing prompt evaluation of treatment options on part of both the patient and medical team.

Although the main concerns surrounding use of diagnostic scanning equipment have centered around the dangers of radiation exposure, strict parameters have been placed on radiation and the level of radiation which is emitted by modern scan machines as well as the level of allowable exposure. These restrictions began their maturation in 1928, which saw the adoption of the roentgen unit and the creation of the International Advisory Committee on X-Ray and Radium Protection. It is not actually patients themselves, but the health workers whose radiation exposure risk is significant. Therefore, in the 50s or later that routine film-badge (dosimeter) monitoring of radiation doses for medical radiation workers began to be introduced in various countries.

The role of scan technology in cancer prevention has proven itself in the specialty of breast cancer alone. Regular detection scans have been proven to significantly decrease the diagnosis of breast cancer. Studies showed that women between the ages of 50 and 79 who received scans twice in a year had a decrease of nearly 40% in mortality related to a breast cancer diagnosis. Further, in not only breast cancer detection, but also colon cancer detection and liver cancer treatment, studies have shown that follow up scans are equally important in the cancer treatment process.

Radiation Exposure

Has fear of radiation exposure affected your decision to get diagnostic imaging?

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Scan on Cancer

Each type of scan carries it's own benefits

Scanning is only one element of cancer detection

Follow up scans are just as important as the initial detection scan

The severity of malignant cancer detection is key in treatment

Cancer Imaging

While the dangers of radiation seem like a logical deterrent, technology improvements have drastically reduced exposure with quick detailed scans. Regular scans in conjunction with your Oncologist advise is crucial to any treatment plan. Colon cancer and breast cancer detection scans are just two of the specialties that have been studied to determine their role in the benefit of diagnostic imaging when treating cancer. See more about these cancer imaging studies.


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