Radiology is a critical component of the cancer diagnosis process. These diagnostic tools help to confirm the presence of a mass or lump, identify the location of a tumor or find out a cancer’s stage. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer the most advanced radiological procedures that allow us to fully define a cancer diagnosis, even in the earliest stages. Our procedures are always completed by licensed technologists and read over by fellowship-trained radiologists for accurate results.
Many types of radiology exams can be used during the diagnostic process, including:
- Computer tomography (CT) scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Nuclear medicine
- Bone densitometry
- Breast imaging
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
- Single-photon emission computer tomography (SPECT)
- Interventional radiology
All of these exams use small doses of radiation to create highly detailed images of a specific part of the body. For example, during an X-ray, electromagnetic radiation is used to generate images of the body. Dense parts of the body—like the bones—show up as white since radiation absorbs more of them, while other parts of the body show up as gray or black.
Are radiology exams safe?
We understand that many patients may be concerned about the safety in radiology exams, as these procedures expose them to various amounts of radiation. There is no scientific evidence that radiologic procedures put a patient at increased risk of cancer. The radiation dose in an X-ray, CT scan or other radiology exam is much lower than found in radiation therapy, a type of cancer treatment. In fact, for most patients, the risk lies in not having the exam done and putting off treatment for a serious medical condition.
At Moffitt, we take the health and safety of our patients seriously and only recommend radiology tests that are necessary to confirm a cancer diagnosis or inform a treatment plan. Our team of radiology specialists provides advanced radiology and imaging services to thousands of patients each year. We go to great lengths to protect patients from unnecessary radiation in several ways:
- Regularly monitoring and testing our diagnostic equipment
- Avoiding repeat radiology exams when possible
- Always meeting the accreditation standards set by the American College of Radiology