A potential cancer diagnosis can be a trying time for anyone. When your doctor informs you about the possibility of cancer, your initial plan will usually include further diagnostic visits followed by an initial treatment plan. Both of these stages involve numerous medical professionals, but your next visit will often be with a radiologist.
Radiologists specialize in diagnostic techniques that are critical to both diagnose and treat your disease. The other members of your healthcare team will use the information they collect and their advice to help form an initial plan. This guide will address some common concerns about radiology appointments so you can arrive at your first visit comfortable and well-informed.
What Should You Do Before Your Visit?
Both CT and MRI scans rarely require any special preparations before arriving at the exam. In some cases, the radiologist or your doctor may provide you with additional information before you arrive, in which case you should follow any directions they give you.
In most cases, you won't need to do anything more than avoid food right before your exam. However, don't hesitate to call the radiologist a few days in advance if you haven't received any special instructions and you're unsure about what you should do.
Do You Need to Do Anything Special During the Exam?
The exact exam procedure will vary depending on whether your doctor recommended an MRI or a CT scan. In both cases, the technician will assist you and explain anything you need to do before you enter the machine. You'll generally need to remove any jewelry and change into a hospital gown, but you'll rarely need to do anything else before the exam can begin.
Both MRI and CT scans require you to remain still during the procedure. If you have issues remaining still, you should discuss these with the radiologist or technician before the scan begins. Either type of scan will usually take less than an hour, so keep this in mind if you're concerned about the length of time you'll be in the machine.
Are There Any Follow-Up Procedures?
There's typically nothing you need to do once you finish your radiology appointment. Note that you won't receive your results immediately since the radiologist needs to review and interpret the images. Most offices will provide a timetable (rarely more than a few days) for receiving your results, and you can follow up with the radiology office if you don't hear back within this timeframe.
Although an MRI or a CT scan might seem like an added source of anxiety during an already stressful time, the process is usually quick and easy. Now that you know what to expect during your visit, you should be able to see that there's nothing to fear. To learn more, contact a doctor in your area.
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