Peace of Mind
When I was asked if I wanted to have a body scan I jumped at the chance and found myself sitting in the waiting room of LifeScan on a miserable Thursday morning, feeling slightly apprehensive. Ten years of good living may not have made up for my earlier years of decadence and I was pondering at how much damage I might have done to my body.
The LifeScan team couldn't have been more professional, efficient or put me at my ease. The scan itself is not claustrophobic like an MRI can be and is a little like lying inside a huge revolving polo mint - it took about 10 minutes, where I was talked through the process by the delightful radiologist. I had opted, due to my age for a heart, lung and abdomen scan which also incorporates an osteoporosis screen. The heart scan can detect early signs of heart disease,in particular areas of calcification, which represent hardening of the arteries. The lung scan detects any early stages of lung cancer/emphysema and aortic aneurysms. The abdomen scan is able to detect cysts in the liver, gallstones, kidney stones, nodules in the adrenal glands, most cancers, hardening of arteries, and enlargement of the ovaries in women. After the scan the radiologist showed me some of the thousands of images the scan had taken of my body, which was absolutely fascinating.
On top of the body scan I also opted to have a mole screen. With a family history of mild skin cancer, and having lived in a hot country, with two dodgy looking moles I was well overdue a check up. I was first given a thorough visual examination and given time to ask questions about any moles I had concerns about. A SIA scope was used which shines light of different wavelengths and analyses the mole, the pigment of the skin, the blood supply and whether the mole is damaging the dermis. This information is then fed into the computer imaging suite called Demetrics.
The results of all the scans are sent to consultants to analyse and the results are sent to you within 3-5 working days.
So what were my results? As promised the results arrived on time and to my relief they were all normal. My calcium score was zero, which means I am at very low risk of coronary artery disease, my osteoporosis screen was normal as were all the other organs and my moles were also fine. They also send you the whole scan on CD which is just great fun to watch!
Many people bury their heads in the sand about health and if they don't actually feel ill, will generally assume they are ok. Often this is not the case, and certainly if you are over 40 with a history of smoking, bad diet, stress or hereditary illnesses, preventative scans can give you total peace of mind. I think it's an investment definitely worth making.