No matter what happens in the Kardashian-Jenner extended family, Kris Jenner stays consistent. The beginning of The Kardashians season 3 episode 7 followed Kris Jenner as she contemplated her youth ahead of her sixty-seventh birthday and decided to focus on her health — which is innately a good thing. “I start thinking about what I can do to take care of myself and to be the best that I can possibly be,” Jenner told the camera.
One of the reasons Jenner gave for being proactive about her healthcare is that she wants to live life to the fullest to have plenty of time to spend with her kids and grandchildren. “Retirement is not a word I will ever use,” Jenner quipped in regard to her Hollywood mom-ager gig.
As a result, Jenner made the decision to undergo a full-body MRI scan of her brain and all of her internal organs and tissues at medical imaging startup Prenuvo’s Los Angeles location. She laid in the imaging machine for about 55 minutes, and professed that she enjoyed the “alone time” and wasn’t claustrophobic at all. According to their website, Prenuvo offers a torso scan, head and torso scan, or full-body scan, for $999, $1,799, and $2,499, respectively. The goal is to check for early-stage cancer, chronic conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, and to see how your lifestyle habits have been affecting your overall health.
Later on in the episode, Jenner got anxious about the results of her full-body scan. Once the doctor shared her results, she relaxed: They concluded that her brain looks “perfect, with no concerning lesions,” and noted her low-grade back pain and hip replacement, neither of which were a surprise for Jenner. They told her she’s basically 40 years old internally, which prompts Jenner to exit the doctor’s office in celebration.
Are these scans essential for catching any possible medical condition?
For the general population, especially if you don’t have symptoms of any ailment or medical condition, there isn’t enough data to recommend a full-body MRI scan as a cancer screening tool, explains Dr. Danielle Leonardo, MD, an oncologist and writer at My BC Team. But if you have a genetic history of tumors or cancer in your family, there is more validity to going for a preventative MRI, Dr. Leonardo adds.
While he agrees that most radiologists will not recommend expensive preventative scans to the general public, oncologist Dr. John Stegall, MD, Medical Director of The Center for Advanced Medicine in Alpharetta, Georgia, mentions that there are some pluses. One advantage is that MRI scans don’t use radiation, which could potentially have harmful effects to the body over a lifetime of exposure. “I feel that the scans can be of value for people who can afford them, who want to be proactive about their health, and are prepared to find out things they didn’t know about their body,” says Dr. Stegall. However, the scan highlighting potential issues (that may turn out to be nothing in the end) may add further costs and stress for the patient, Dr. Stegall adds.
Since a full-body preventative scan won’t be accessible to most people, it’s important to keep up with other regular screenings, including a mammogram beginning at age 40. If you have a genetic predisposition to certain cancers, your care may also involve a yearly breast MRI, brain MRI, pelvic ultrasound, colonoscopy, or endoscopy, says Dr. Leonardo.
For other types of cancer, including blood cancer, preventative screenings won’t necessarily be relevant, but you should pay attention if you start to develop symptoms, including recurrent infections, significant fatigue, and unexplained weight loss, fevers, or chills, says Dr. Brian Koffman, MD, Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of CLL Society. In that situation, the best thing to do is talk with your primary care physician who can do a blood work-up.
Other than that, if you’re feeling healthy in general and don’t have a significant family history of certain illnesses, there shouldn’t be a rush to have any preventative full-body screenings.
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