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Body Scan

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News10 Close-Up Report:
Body Scan

It sometimes takes years for diseases to develop, but what if you could catch a potentially dangerous illness early? Proponents of body scans say they have the technology to do it. News10's Deborah Pacyna goes along with two women who are getting scanned to see what's involved and what the scan can detect.
Frequently Asked Questions About
Body Scans

CT body scanning is a non-invasive way to detect early disease. It's attracted a lot of attention because many people have discovered the early stages of an illness before they experienced symptoms. It's also attracted some controversy. Here are some frequently asked questions about the procedure (information provided by Sacramento's Advanced Imaging Center and the Radiological Society of North America).

What is CT Scanning?
CT stands for computed tomography. It is useful because it can show different types of tissue -- bone, soft tissue and blood vessels -- with great clarity.

It uses special x-ray equipment to obtain image data from different angles around the body, and then uses computer processing of the information to show a cross-section of body tissues and organs.

What kind of scans are there?
Coronary Artery Scoring scans for atherosclerosis, or calcified plaque in blood vessels which would indicate narrowing of the coronary arteries.

Lung Scans can spot lung cancer in its earliest stages.

Head Scans look for signs of masses in the skull or brain and signs of stroke.

Full-body Scans provide coronary artery scoring and a comprehensive screening of the lungs, abdomen, pelvis and bone density; it detects coronary artery disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and other silent diseases.

How long does a scan take?
The scan itself takes just a few minutes.

Who should have a scan?
Anyone over 30, especially if they have a family history of cancer, heart disease, diabetes or other chronic illness.

Why do some health care professionals caution about the use of scans?
Many health care professionals believe scans are not for everyone. For people under 30 with no special risk factors, the scan -- which is expensive and usually not covered by insurance -- can be an unnecessary expense. The scan sometimes registers false positives, making a patient believe they are sick when they are not. Experts also worry patients will rely on scans instead of seeing a doctor regularly.

(This story was provided by News10 KXTV Sacramento.)

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