Written By Kara Masterson / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Your doctor has recommended that you have an MRI scan, otherwise known as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan. The only thing you know about this type of scan is that you must lay inside a large tube while loud, harsh sounds are banging around you.
You've heard that people with claustrophobia have a tough time with this type of medical test, and thankfully an open MRI can be recommended if you don't like to be in tight spaces or this is your first time. MRIs are often used to detect and monitor a number of diseases and particularly nasty symptoms, anything from arthritis to bone infections to dementia.
The question now is, can your MRI scan detect the presence of cancer cells in your body?
Why Do Doctors Choose an MRI over Other Types of Scans?
An MRI can give medical professionals the clearest scans possible to help them understand what is going on beneath the surface of your body. In fact, the only thing an MRI scan can’t pick up is the fluids moving in your body, such as blood. These instead appear as black voids known as “flow voids.”
Your scan will produce images with better clarity and more detail than other imaging scans, such as CT scans which can be obtained faster but are far less detailed, especially when the focus is on your soft tissues, such as the discs of your vertebrae or your ligaments, and your organs.
An MRI can even give your doctor a glimpse of what is happening in the areas behind your bones.
Can an MRI Detect Cancer?
An MRI is effective in noticing abnormalities in the body, especially when focused on the soft tissue of your body since the scans can pick up so much detail.
Typically, the technicians or nurses will have you drink a special type of fluid that will help your radiologist to have a better view during your scan, along with an injection of a contrast dye that helps the arteries and veins show up better during the scan.
This dye will make certain tissues or organs in your body more noticeable, allowing medical professionals to pinpoint cancer in the brain, spine, breasts, and other areas. An MRI can give your doctor enough information to be able to clearly identify the difference between healthy tissues and abnormal tissues.
However, errors can occur if a patient moves during the scan, so it is vital that you remain as still as you can. Excess fluid in the body can also be mistaken for an abnormality. Thus, MRI results are not the determining factor in identifying cancer, but they certainly provide a big piece of the puzzle.
What are Some Other Conditions that Can be Detected with an MRI?
Cancer will not always necessarily be the first thing that comes to mind when a doctor orders an MRI scan for you. An MRI may be ordered if you are experiencing trouble with your breathing after a respiratory illness, bleeding in your urinary tract, have problems with your circulation, or there may be concerns about your bones.
An MRI can also help your doctor to diagnose issues such as multiple sclerosis, a spinal cord injury, or an aneurysm. If you are having digestive issues, you may have some type of inflammatory bowel disease. Liver disease may also be something that can be detected on your scan.
Don't panic if your doctor has advised you to get an MRI after you’ve brought a health concern to their attention. An MRI simply allows the doctor to see the inside of your body without having to do something more invasive, like surgery.
They just want to be able to look at everything under your skin, from muscles to bone to tissue, to try and determine what the problem could be. The main goal of an MRI scan is to get to the root of the problem as soon as possible and with as much detail as the doctors can get.
The sooner your doctor knows what is going on inside of you, the sooner you can find the right remedy or treatment.
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Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from Utah. She enjoys tennis and spending time with her family.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash