MRIs are often used to diagnose many different types of cancer. However, scans of any type can be a daunting process. If you are feeling nervous about your MRI scan, or if you do not know whether you need an MRI, read on for more information about how MRIs are used in cancer diagnosis.
When will an MRI be used?
You might be referred for an MRI if your doctor believes that your symptoms equate to those of cancer, and if they are unable to offer you any other diagnosis. They may also give you an MRI if they have already given you a CT scan but have been unable to find what they needed. An MRI can be used to see whether a tumor or growth is cancerous or not. If you are unhappy with a diagnosis from a doctor and want to get an MRI scan yourself, you should look for local MRI imaging near you.
Not only this, but you may have multiple MRIs throughout your illness. After you have a diagnosis of cancer, you may have an MRI scan to determine how far your cancer has spread and how big the tumor in question is. When you are part way through your treatment, you may have another MRI test to work out whether the treatment that you are having is reducing the size of your tumor, and whether your current treatment plan needs to be reassessed.
How can an MRI diagnose cancer?
An MRI scan can diagnose cancer by allowing doctors to see inside your body. This is because an MRI scan uses magnets to form images of your body. These images can help doctors to see your body from a variety of different angles and perspectives, which can ensure that nothing is missed. They may also add a contrast dye into the procedure if they want to look for spinal cord or brain tumors, as this can help to make them clearer.
What cancers can it find?
An MRI scan is used to diagnose a large variety of different cancers. Some of the primary cancers that an MRI scan can help to diagnose are soft tissue sarcomas, brain tumors, bone tumors, spinal cord tumors, and those in the ovaries, bladder, prostate, or uterus.
What happens if it is cancer?
However, it may not be the MRI scan that is concerning you the most, but what happens if your MRI scan shows up the worst. To make sure that you do not become anxious while you are waiting for your results, you should check when you will receive these and how you will get them. This will enable you to stop feeling on edge every second of the day while you wait for your results to come through.
If it is cancer, you will then be referred to a specialist consultant who will be able to draw up a treatment plan for you. These treatment plans may start urgently and include treatments such as surgical procedures to remove the tumor or tumors, as well as chemotherapy or radiation therapy—or both. Before these start though, it is likely that you will have to have a biopsy, which will take a few weeks to be processed. This biopsy can help doctors to work out the exact type of cancer that you have, including how fast it is spreading. This will help to determine parts of your treatment plan, such as how much chemotherapy you will need.