Preventative Screenings

MRI Full Body

Using MRI, this exam is used to evaluate the soft tissues of the body.  Since tumors and inflammation produce an increased amount of water and swelling, MRI searches for areas of abnormal water accumulation and swelling throughout the body.  It will evaluate the brain, soft tissues of the neck, blood vessels, and the blood supply to the head and neck.  Specialized brain sequences can be used to detect early dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease.  The MRI will also view the internal organs of the body through the pelvis.  Special sequences can be added to evaluate high-risk areas, including the bile duct, liver, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, prostate gland, and testicles.    This test involves no radiation.  It is particularly good for detecting soft tissue cancers at an early stage.  A physician’s prescription is necessary for this test.

What does this test entail?

This exam takes approximately 1 hour, depending on the required views.  It requires administration of one Bentyl tablet the night before the exam and one on the day of the exam.  The patient must fast 6 hours prior to the MRI, including water.

Who should have this exam?

  • History of neurological problems, such as atypical headache or family history of aneurysm
  • Family history of stroke
  • Any risk factor favoring early detection of cancer of the brain, bladder, liver, pancreas, prostate, gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, or neck
  • Joint or extremity problems or unexplained pain
  • Wellness evaluation, especially in patients under 50
  • Unexplained weight loss, malaise, fatigue
  • Previous history of cancer

MRI Breast Screening

Breast MRI is a highly sensitive tool for creating dynamic, three-dimensional images of breast tissue. It is a valuable tool in the assessment of dense breasts when used as an adjunct to traditional breast imaging modalities.  A physician’s prescription is necessary for this test.

Who should have this exam?

  • Inconclusive mammogram
  • Breast or chest pain with inconclusive mammogram or ultrasound
  • Evaluation of breast implants for possible rupture or to exclude cancer
  • High risk breast patients under the age of 45
  • Any patient with small dense breasts
  • Insurance denial of diagnostic breast MRl study
  • Peace of mind for the higher risk patient

CT Lung Screen

What are the advantages of this test?

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US.  The survival rate for lung cancer is 12% and has not changed in the last 40 years.  However, if detected at stage I, the survival rate is 70-80%.  The CT scan finds 6 times the number of stage I cancers than chest x-ray.  While smokers routinely undergo annual chest x-rays to screen for cancer, ultra-fast CT offers detection of cancers when they are much smaller and far more easily treated or cured.

What does this test entail?

This test takes fewer than 15 minutes and requires no preparation.

Who should have this exam?

  • History of smoking
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Occupational exposure (Shipyard, military, asbestos, coal miners)
  • Unexplained cough or fever
  • As a substitute for annual chest x-ray after age 35
  • History of unexplained, recurrent pneumonias
  • History of multiple x-rays as a child, including multiple scoliosis surveys
  • Previous history of any cancer


Cardiac Score 

What is a cardiac score and what are the advantages?

Fewer than 50% of those with narrowing of the heart arteries will have abnormal traditional medical testing (EKG, stress test, echocardiogram).  This exam is a CT scan of the chest that measures calcium in the coronary arteries.  The score that is generated helps to determine the patient’s cardiovascular risk when combined with the traditional cardiac risk factors.  Coronary calcium scoring is highly predictive of obstructive coronary artery disease.

What does the test entail?

The test takes fewer than 15 minutes and requires no preparation.

Who should have this exam?

Those 40 years old or over with increased risk for heart disease from:

  • Family history of heart disease, particularly with family members with the onset of heart disease before the age of 50
  • Smoking
  • Elevated total or LDL cholesterol, decreased HDL cholesterol
  • Elevated C-reactive protein
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High stress job
  • Unexplained chest discomfort
  • Previous history of heart disease
  • Premature menopause
  • Abnormal lipoprotein A
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Coronary CT Angiogram (CCTA) 

What is this test and what are the advantages?

Using a 64-slice CT scanner to produce high-resolution, three-dimensional images of the coronary arties this scan will be able to rule out cardiovascular disease with 98% certainty.  This scan requires no sedation and takes less than 15 minutes to perform.

What does the test entail?

This test will require no caffeine 12 hours prior to exam, a 3 hour fast before exam and taking a Beta Blocker (to slow heart rate down) 1 hour prior to exam.  Upon entering the CT suite the technologist will take the patients vital signs and discuss questions/concerns.  EKG leads will be placed and an IV will be started for contrast.  The radiologist will spray nitroglycerin under patients tongue, to dilate the coronary vessels, the patient may have a flushed feeling.  Vital signs will be taken again and reviewed with physician for exclusionary criteria. A Cardiac Score is preformed (required before CTA); this will take 5-7 minutes.  The CTA scan is then preformed (20-40 second scan time).  A final set of vital signs will be taken, EKG leads and IV removed.

Who should have this exam? 

Individuals over age 40 with:

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Current or past smoker
  • Risk for genetic abnormalities
  • Patients with positive Cardiac Calcium Score 


Virtual Colonoscopy Screening

What is this test and what are the advantages?

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the US and almost always begins with an abnormal growth, or polyp, springing from the lining of the large intestine or rectum.  If polyps are detected and removed before they become malignant, this deadly cancer may be escaped.  Although the effectiveness of traditional colonoscopy for preventing and detecting colorectal cancer is unquestioned, many shy away from the test, which requires sedation and a day off from work.  Virtual colonoscopy is done with a CT scan and is non-invasive, quick, requires no sedation, allows patients to return to work, and is less expensive.  In a large study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, this procedure was found to be at least as effective and potentially more effective than conventional colonoscopy.

What does this test entail?

The test takes approximately 30 minutes and requires a preparation 48 hours prior to the exam.   Co2 is placed in the colon through a small tube during the procedure so that it will evaporate and not expel.

Who should have this exam?

  • Family history of colon cancer
  • Family or patient history of polyps
  • Those who prefer to not have a regular colonoscopy
  • Men or women over age 45 with prior normal colonoscopy
  • Change in bowel habits
  • Blood in stool
  • Unexplained weight loss or change in appetite
  • Wellness screen every 5 years after age 40
  • Previous history of any cancer
  • History of multiple x-rays as a child, including multiple scoliosis