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Should you have a whole body scan?

Created date

November 20th, 2012

A technology that was previously exclusive to use in hospitals may be coming to a shopping center near you. It s x-ray computed tomography (CT), sometimes called computerized axial tomography (CAT), and consumers are being offered whole body scans using this technology, with the promise of early detection of heart disease, cancers, or other problems. CT scans provide cross-sectional images and have been used for decades. They are an essential tool for diagnosing disease in people who have symptoms of illness. They are also useful for planning, guiding, or monitoring a particular procedure or therapy. Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibits CT manufacturers from marketing the machines for whole body screening of people who have no symptoms of disease, health care practitioners may legally do so, and many are jumping on this opportunity because of the profit potential.

Screening caveat

When compared to other x-ray procedures, CT scans result in a significant amount of exposure to radiation, and according to the FDA, there is no scientific evidence that these whole body screens are beneficial for healthy people. Because of the radiation, they may in fact do more harm than good. If you suspect something is wrong with your health, talk to your doctor before undergoing a whole body scan.