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BONE SCAN CT SCAN and MRI’s, OH MY!!!!!!

BONE SCAN CT SCAN and MRI’s, OH MY!!!!!!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer via confirmed biopsy results. It was at this time my doctor decided it would be best to have additional tests to make sure the cancer had not spread anywhere else. This is when she ordered at CT scan, a Bone Scan, and a MRI. Even though I work in the medical field, I have never had to undergo any of these tests personally. The thought of all these huge machines and little ole me became nerve wracking! Prior to the tests I had some anxiety. Once the tests were over I thought, “I did it!” and “This wasn’t as bad as I thought!” After conquering my fears I thought it would be helpful to go over a few pointers. My hopes are to help someone else out there that is experiencing testing anxiety. Let’s get started! BONE SCAN: A nuclear imaging test that is helpful in determining if cancer has spread to the bone. The test uses a radioactive substance called a tracer that is absorbed by the bones. Cancer can be indicated by how much tracer shows up on the images. I was injected with a tracer called Tc99m MDP (Technetium 99m- methyl diphosphonate). It was given to me intravenously. Be prepared to get an IV (intravenous therapy). I was told the wait could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on the circumstance. My wait was about 3 hours. The test itself took about 30-40 minutes. MRI: This stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” This is a straightforward test that provides detailed images of the organs inside the body. A strong Magnetic field is used to create pictures of your body’s tissues and organs. I was injected via IV with a contrast that helps the images show up better. There is a radiographer available in a room close to you while the test is going on. The MRI machine is very loud so be sure to request headphones or music if your treatment center has them available. Also, be cautious if you are claustrophobic. You will be positioned inside the machine face down. There is not a lot of space. Be sure to signal the radiographer if you start to feel uncomfortable. I was given a button to push in case I needed assistance. The test can last anywhere from 15-45 minutes. My MRI lasted approximately 45 minutes. Also make sure to notify your hospital if you have any implanted medical devices that contain metal prior to you appointment as they could potentially interfere with you test results. CT SCAN: Also known as “Computerized Axial or Computed Tomography Imaging.” This particular test has the ability to show abnormities in the body such as tumors or irregular blood vessels. The machine takes multiple X- ray images from different angles and uses a computer to create cross sectional pictures. CT scans provide much more detailed information then regular X rays. I was given a beverage called READI- CAT 2 (Barium Sulfate Oral Suspension) to drink an hour prior to my Scan. It comes in a smoothie like form and it is “berry” flavored. You’re not to drink it cold. The purpose of the drink was to coat the lining of my stomach. I was also given another contrast intravenously. This contrast was different then the MRI contrast. It makes you feel warm all over as it enters your body. Once the contrast reaches your pelvis/abdomen area you may feel a sensation like you are urinating on yourself (trust me you’re not really “peeing” on yourself. It just feels that way!). The scan itself takes less than 30 seconds. It was the shortest of the 3 tests! All of the tests were painless (minus the IV’s). My advice to you is to relax and think of these as another step in your journey to becoming breast cancer free! These tests will give your doctors and care team more information on how to treat your cancer and possibly what stage you are. Don’t have anxiety because although it may seem like a lot happening at once you can totally get through it! Just for the record, all my scans came back cancer free, thank God! I have a video on this same topic in which I talk about my experience in great detail. Check it out when you have time. Please, share your story or any other tips you may have on test taking in the comments below. Until next time! For additional information on these tests you can visit www.cancercenter.com Ciao Bella! Micky